It’s officially summer! The sun is out, the pool is open and it’s time to have some fun. However, if you suffer from migraines or headaches, this time of year may bring more pain than playfulness. MMC Neurologist Joy Derwenskus, M.D. answers some common questions about migraines.
What is the difference between a migraine and a headache?
Migraines, by definition, are unilateral -- meaning they occur on one side of the head. They also have a throbbing quality, invoke moderate to severe pain, and worsen as a result of activity. Two out of these four characteristics must be met in order to classify a headache as a “migraine.” In addition to these qualities, someone suffering from a migraine could experience nausea, vomiting, light and/or sound sensitivity or auras.
What impact does a migraine have on a person?
In addition to the physical symptoms mentioned above, migraines impact a person’s quality of life. Not being able to go to work, attend a child’s baseball game or take part in major life events – these are often experienced by migraine sufferers. The goal in treating patients with migraines is to get them back to enjoying and experiencing everyday life.
How can we prevent and treat migraines?
Depending on how frequent migraines are, some can be prevented with the help of medication. Medication options include daily preventative pills, monthly or quarterly injectable options and more. It is best to work closely with your doctor to determine the best option for you.
One great way to prevent and treat migraines is to keep track of the elements that may act as triggers. Some examples include: dietary choices or allergies, changes in sleep or sleep apnea, and exercise. Being aware of activities or choices that cause migraines can help patients avoid these triggers in several cases.
“It’s been pretty rewarding for me to take care of patients where one minute they’re crying because they can’t do things with their family due to migraines, and the next visit they’re crying because now they feel good enough to go out and do things with their kids.” – Joy Derwenskus, M.D.
If you suffer from episodic or chronic migraines, our Neurologists can help find a treatment option that is best for you. Call today to schedule an appointment at 615-867-8090.