What is a chronic migraine?
Migraines are tremendously painful headaches. Patients dealing with migraines usually seek professional medical assistance to alleviate the pain as over-the-counter drugs might be inadequate. According to medical statistics, women are more susceptible to migraines than men.
Migraines are categorized into two forms, i.e., episodic and chronic. Episodic migraines intermittently occur, i.e., there are long gaps between every migraine attack. These could be quantified into a period of numerous weeks and months. Conversely, chronic migraine is characterized by the health condition of experiencing headaches for more than half the time of the month. Apart from frequent occurrences, such types of migraines can last for hours. Episodic migraines, in due course, might advance to the chronic stage.
Symptoms of chronic migraines
If you already suffer from episodic migraines, then you must be aware of the symptoms of chronic migraines. This is because you have a fair chance of acquiring them in the future. Recognizing the signs of a chronic migraine at an early stage will help you take timely and effective measures.
The most apparent symptom is experiencing headaches for more than 15 days every month.
Chronic migraines might get aggravated after carrying out simple physical activities. The pain can also worsen after persistent coughing, sharp movements, etc.
Along with severe headaches, you could also experience neck stiffness, body weakness, slurring of speech, confusion, sensitivity to bright lights and loud sounds, and variations in vision.
If this scenario occurs for more than two or three months, then you must immediately consult your doctor.
Understanding the causes of chronic migraines
A chronic migraine is a complex health condition that varies from person to person. Therefore, there is no concrete reason for its occurrence. There are multiple factors that need to be considered for an individual to be correctly diagnosed. However, you need to be mindful of the most common causes of chronic migraines to effectively manage your condition on a personal level.
If your biological parent has suffered from chronic migraines in the past, your vulnerability to getting it increases too. These can start from right from childhood or develop after a certain age during adulthood.
Imbalance in brain chemicals
For a brain to operate smoothly, it requires a proportionate amount of brain chemicals. If there is any form disparity occurring in the brain chemicals, then it can possibly prompt an event of a chronic migraine.
Any form of an existing neurological disorder can aggravate a chronic migraine. Therefore, it is important to get your migraine diagnosed as it might not just be a health condition in itself but a symptom of a more complex medical issue.
Stress, depression, and anxiety can give rise to chronic migraines. Such mental issues can also result in excessive sleeping or sleep deprivation, worsening the situation. If you have been dealing with similar mental ordeals, then instantly seek professional assistance.
Certain types of medications such as vasodilators are used for patients dealing with cardiovascular diseases or high blood pressure. Such drugs enlarge blood vessels to facilitate easy blood flow. These drugs end up affecting the blood flow in the brain as well, which can activate persistent events of migraine attacks. To tackle this problem, ask your doctor to make some necessary adjustments in your medicines.
One reason for a migraine being more common in women is because they experience monthly hormonal fluctuations in the form of menstrual periods. During or around this time, women can experience multiple instances of migraines. Apart from menstruation, migraines can occur in women who are going through menopause or are on a prescribed course of hormonal therapy.
Foods and drinks
Your dietary habits widely affect how your body responds and manages health conditions like migraines. For example, foods containing refined sugars, high sodium, spicy food, dairy, and caffeine, can intensify the frequency of migraine attacks. Therefore, diligently observe your food regime to avoid ingredients that affect your chronic migraine. Likewise, eating patterns also matter, so avoid skipping meals and binge eating and drinking.
Moving to a new place or sudden alterations in the weather can trigger a chronic migraine.
Working for long hours or excessive workout sessions can create physical stress, which eventually leads to the occurrence of chronic migraines.
Apart from the abovementioned causes, chronic migraines could be an aftermath of traumatic brain injuries or bacterial infections.
To manage chronic migraines, you must start by identifying your causes. This will help you and the specialist to profile your condition in an improved manner. Along with prescription medications and therapies, you can also make certain lifestyle changes. These could include a personalized diet, exercising, and decreasing stress. Lastly, remember to not use over-the-counter medicines without medical consultation for migraines.