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    • 02 MAY 16
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    Migraine Specialist in the Chicago Area

    When to Seek Medical Care for Headache Pain

    Migraines are painful and will have you sitting in a room with the lights off trying to get everything out of your mind to escape the pain that comes with this headache type. Trying to avoid any distractions might appear like something a person in mediation might do but this is what most migraine sufferers do in an effort to reduce the pain. In simple words, migraines are difficult to explain to a person who has not yet experienced them. Patients describe it as a normal headache but with pain amplified to 10 times.

    The good news is that there is treatment for migraines but this will only be possible if you know where to look. The migraine clinic you go to will play a major role in determining the outcome of the treatment method used and this is why you need to carefully select the right migraine clinic.

    Understanding Migraines


    A migraine is a medical condition with symptoms that are highlighted by extreme pain in the head. The pain is an amplified version of the normal headache and will last anything between a few hours and a few days. Other symptoms include nausea, temporary vision loss and other eye problems such as flashing light and spots.

    A Migraine can be described as a neurological disease characterized by recurrent headaches which are either moderate or severe. The disease is often associated with some autonomic nervous system symptoms. In most cases, the headache will affect one side of the head and the pain will come in a pulsating nature and will last anywhere from 2 to 72 hours.

    Migraine Presentation

    The presentation of migraines is different in different people. Some have the pain on one side while others have in both sides of the head. Migraines can attack all day but are mostly known to start in the early hours of the day.

    Who Suffers From Migraines

    People between the age of 20 and 45 years are at a higher risk of suffering from migraines. This does not mean that migraines will not attack any other person outside this age bracket. There are older people and children who are dealing with migraines.Women are at a higher risk of migraine attacks. Research shows that about 75% of migraine sufferers are women.

    Causes of Migraines

    There have been many medical studies and research but the cause of migraines is yet to be established. There are a few theories that have been provided including an imbalance in chemicals in the brain that leads to inflammation. This inflammation is said to act like a trigger that causes the migraine.

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    Research is confirming that migraine is a genetically based disease. We’re learning that migraine runs in families. If both your parents are migraineurs, chances are you will suffer from migraine as well. Even if only one parent has migraine, there’s a 50% chance you’ll have it as well.

    Recent studies are linking specific genetic defects with migraine. For example, Lyn Griffiths, the director of Griffith University’s Genomics Research Centre and professor of molecular genetics has been searching for the cause of migraine. She believes that various flaws in your genes combine to bring on migraine. In the summer of 2004 she discovered some genes related to hormones that may influence migraine. In December 2004 researchers at the Duke University Medical Centerreported a genetic defect in some people that causes a decrease in serotonin production.

    We’re learning that the brain of a migraineur reacts differently to visual input. It seems to be hypersensitive; the brain may over react to triggers and bring on pain that would never occur in a non-sufferer.

    All these things are giving us a picture of what the migraine disease is all about. Today migraine is sometimes referred to as a neurological disease based on an inherited genetic abnormality. Migraine is a biological disease.

    Migraine Triggers

    This is a broad topic because there are many triggers and they vary with individuals.While some patients report attacks after too little sleep, some get the migraines after sleeping too much. In most cases, there are triggers that have been identified and these include alcohol, skipped meals and stress. The fact that there are varying triggers makes it difficult to predict what will trigger a migraine episode. This is why most migraine doctors will require your medical history in the diagnosis process.

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    In this article you’re going to get an overview of common triggers, find out why they’re hard to track down, and learn how to start investigating what may be starting that migraine chain reaction for you.

    One thing to remember.  Not always does any one trigger actually start a migraine attack.  More often it’s a matter of quantity.  If you’re letting in a few triggers, it may be enough to tip the balance.  That’s one reason why triggers are hard to track down – sometimes an individual trigger may start the chain-reaction, sometimes it may not!

    “Triggers” vs “Causes”

    Triggers and not the same thing as migraine causes.  You can look at it this way.  Migraine is a disease that some people have and others don’t.  If you don’t have migraine disease, you’re unlikely to have a migraine attack.  However, if you do have migraine disease, something you eat or a change in schedule could trigger an attack.  These aren’t migraine causes, but triggers.

    Migraine triggers can be broken down into two categories –internal and external.  The external triggers are the ones you hear about most often.  These are things you put in your body, environmental factors, lifestyle choices, etc.

    Internal triggers are things that are going on inside your body that can be harder to control.  The most commonly talked about internal trigger is probably hormones.

    Things can get a little confusing, because technically an external trigger may be an indirect trigger, actually setting off an internal trigger.  But to keep things simple, we’ll refer to external triggers and things that are primarily coming from outside your body.

    External Triggers

    There are many, many possible external triggers.  Lists have been made, but there are a couple of challenges.  First, triggers are so individual that it’s hard to generalize.  You could say, for example, that almost any food is a trigger for someone, but that’s not very helpful if you’re trying to track down your migraine triggers – you want to start with the most common ones.

    The other challenge is that very few triggers have been confirmed by scientific studies.  I’m afraid there isn’t a lot of money in studying how migraine attacks can be avoided by not buying a certain food, household chemical, etc.  So there is a lot of disagreement about how effective it is to try cutting triggers out of your life.

    Migraine Clinic

    A migraine clinic is a specialized clinic that deals with headaches and migraines. The specialists working in the clinic have studied different migraine cases and are in a good position to diagnose and start the treatment depending on the situation. If you are experiencing severe headaches, it is important to go to a migraine clinic for medical attention. Here are the three reasons to consult an headache specialist.

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    #1 – You Have Zero Quality of Life

    You’re sick more often than you’re well.  Your friends and family are trying to understand, but they’re quietly sick of you being sick.  You wake up every day, surprised if you actually feel good.  You’ve lost confidence in your ability to make and keep a commitment, because you have no idea what tomorrow will bring. At a top headache clinic, you get an interdisciplinary approach to headache management, usually medication + medical devices + nutrition + physical therapy + behavioral therapy.

    #2 – You Just Can’t Work Effectively Any More

    Many headache sufferers experience a journey that starts with childhood migraine (diagnosed or hidden), continues to episodic attacks, and progresses to chronic migraines or headaches.  Doctors continue to research what factors are behind the progression of episodic to chronic, but whatever it is, chronic almost always means you cannot work at your full potential.  If at all.

    A significant number in our Migraine Again audience are already on disability due to daily chronic migraine.  That breaks my heart.

    If this is your case, be sure to see our article on10 Jobs That Can Work Despite Migraines – some headache sufferers have re-designed their work to be able to function on good days and bad.  When my migraines were at their worst, I was taking a dangerous amount of prescription medications to be able to keep showing up for a demanding Fortune 500 executive role.  I was working, but not effectively, and not in a healthy, sustainable way.  Do not overmedicate as I did.

    #3 – You’ve Tried Every Local Option

    Chances are, if you’ve been suffering from headaches and migraines for some time, you’ve been to multiple local doctors, neurologists, dentists, chiropractors, optometrists and more.  But how do you know if they’re the best?  Rating services like HealthGrades (US) and NHS Choices (UK) tell you what other patients think of them, although a great doctor can be given a bad review because their office runs late or they have a curt bedside manner. The average doctor in medical school gets 4-10 hours of headache training, yet it’s one of the top 10 reasons that patients visit doctors.

    Migraine Diagnosis

    Your first visit to a migraine clinic will be all about the diagnosis process. Because migraines are difficult to detect and have no specific medical process that is accurate, the doctor will rely on information. You will be required to provide a diary indicating your attack frequency, time and after which activities. The doctor might conduct some tests and imaging to ensure that the migraines are not caused by other elements such as tumors.

    The signs and symptoms of a migraine are what its diagnosis is based on. There is no need for neuroimaging tests when diagnosing migraines but this test might be used in other headache cases that are not migraines. Studies have shown that a good number of people with migraines have not been diagnosed. If an individual experiences 2 of the following: inability to work or study in a day, nausea, or photophobia it is possible that they have a migraine. If they experience 4 of the following: pain occurring on one side of the head, pulsating head ache for a duration of between 4 and 72 hours, nausea, and other symptoms that affect their personal life, then the chance of this being a migraine is 92%. For people with less than 4 of the above signs and symptoms, then the probability drops to 17%.

    Migraine Treatment

    knee acheMigraine clinics have different treatment methods that are aimed at alleviating the pain. In addition to medication,there will be other suggestions such as reducing exposure to the known triggers. The diagnosis process will play a major role in the treatment and the advice you get from the doctor. People are different and will respond to medication differently and this is why you need to see a specialist in migraines. Keep in mind that whatever medications you have been using before going to a migraine clinic can affect your treatment and this means you should provide this information when you arein the diagnosis process.

    Finding a Migraine Clinic

    If you are looking for a migraine clinic for effective migraine treatment, you have come to the right place. You will find different treatment methods that will get you out of the misery of dealing with pain that disrupts your daily activities.

     To learn more about Migraine Relief Options click here.

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