Are you a frequent sufferer of severe, debilitating migraines?
If so, you may be suffering from a condition known as chronic migraine - a vastly undiagnosed condition that health experts say has a significant impact on daily life.
You are likely to be suffering from chronic migraine if you have headaches occurring 15 or more days every month for at least 3 months, of which 8 or more days have features of migraine, including:
- Headaches with pain that last anywhere between 4 hours to 3 days.
- Moderate to severely intense, throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of the head.
- Accompanying nausea and/or vomiting, along with sensitivity to light and sound.
- Aggravation of pain by routine physical activity such as walking or climbing stairs.
- Changes in vision or hearing - called aura - that come just before or just as the migraine begins.
Chronic migraine is typically triggered or aggravated by specific factors. In a study of 1207 migraine patients, roughly 3 out of 4 patients stated that their acute migraine attacks were brought on by specific triggers, including physical activity, stress, hormonal changes, skipping meals, sleep disturbances and weather changes, among others.
While there is no absolute cure for chronic migraine, many treatment strategies and medications can be used to manage it. Depending on your own symptoms, it is best to speak with a headache specialist and determine the most appropriate course of treatment.
A range of acute, preventive and alternative treatments are available that may benefit your type of migraine. For example, acute medications or symptomatic treatment are taken as needed when you have a migraine. Here, the idea is to stop the pain once it has begun.
Preventative treatments are for those people who suffer from more frequent migraines - to prevent them before they start so as to reduce their frequency or how severe they can be.
Finally, there are many alternative, non-medication preventative options that can help to reduce the severity and frequency of migraines. These alternative treatments can be used either instead of medication treatments or in addition to them.