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Migraine Headaches

There are several types of migraine:

  • Migraine with aura – flashing lights
  • Migraine with aura – most common
  • Migraine aura without headache – also known as silent migraine People can have frequent migraines, maybe several times a week, whereas other people have them just occasionally.

Migraine Symptoms

The main symptom is a moderate or severe headache that usually affects one side of the head that can get worse when you move and prevent you from carrying out normal activities.

Other symptoms can be:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light and sound

Occasionally some people experience other symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Poor concentration
  • Feeling very hot or very cold
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea

Causes of Migraines

Neck pain and stiff neck is an indicator for migraine or headaches. There are various reasons why you would get neck pain or a stiff neck

  1. Sleep in an awkward position.
  3. Strain a muscle or having bad posture
  5. Use a computer for a prolonged period of time
  7. Anxiety and stress

Managing Neck Pain at Home

Managing your neck pain at home can be helped by various steps:

  • Regular doses of paracetamol, ibuprofen, or combination of the two. Ibuprofen can be rubbed on the neck as an alternative
  • Holding a hot water bottle on your neck can reduce any pain or muscle spasms
  • Sleep on a low firm pillow

Seeking Medical Advice

You should visit your GP if:

  • Ordinary painkillers don’t seem to be working
  • Pain or stiffness in the neck has been going on for a few weeks
  • You are worrying about a more serious cause

If you have had neck pain or stiffness for a month or more your GP may be able to refer you to a physiotherapist. An increase or frequency of migraine or headaches are a strong indicator of a neck disorder.

The exact cause of migraine is unknown. Some other triggers are:

  1. A close relative has the condition
  3. Women starting their period
  5. Stress
  7. Being tired
  9. Certain food or drinks

Menstrual-Related Migraines

As these migraines are relatively predictable, usually between two days before the start of your period to three days after, it may be possible to prevent them using either non-hormonal or hormonal treatments. Seek advice from your GP or pharmacist.

Treatment for Migraines

Although there is no cure for migraines, there are many treatments available:

  • Painkillers – over the counter medication such as paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • Triptans – this medication can help reverse the changes in the brain that may cause migraines
  • Anti-emetics – this medication is often used to reduce nausea and vomiting.
  • Some people say that it helps to lie down in a darkened room during an attack.
  • Acupuncture – if medication is unsuitable or not helping.

Treatment for pregnant and breastfeeding women

Migraine treatment with medicines should be as limited as possible when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Identifying the potential migraine triggers are recommended. Speak to your GP or midwife before taking any medication.

Identifying Migraine Triggers

Keeping a migraine diary is useful and can help you identify possible triggers.

In your diary try to record:

  • Any warning signs
  • The date of the attack
  • The time of the day of the attack
  • Your symptoms (including the presence or absence of aura)
  • What medication you took
  • How long was the attack

If a specific trigger is causing your migraines, such as stress or a certain type of food, use your diary to reduce your risk of experiencing a migraine.

It can also help to maintain a general healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, sleep, meals and ensure you stay well hydrated limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake.

If your migraines are severe and you have tried avoiding possible triggers but still experiencing symptoms, your GP may prescribe medications to help further attacks.

Causes & Triggers of Migraines & Headaches. Brentwood Billericay, Basildon, Wickford, Romford, Hornchurch, Rayleigh, Chipping Ongar, Upminster, Chingford, Chelmsford


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