Most individuals experience a headache from time to time. However, it can be hard to determine if the headache is actually a migraine. Similar to a headache, migraines cause pain. Migraines develop when blood vessels constrict and dilate, releasing substances that can cause pain. Most patients assume that migraines are classified by very intense pain, but that’s not always the case. In most cases, migraines involve several symptoms.
The following are the most common symptoms of migraines:
- Pain – The pain level can vary from moderate to very intense, but is often described as a pounding and throbbing pain. It can be localized to one side or can affect the entire head. The pain will intensify with physical exertion.
- Light – Many individuals with migraines report sensitivity to light or report light sensations such as seeing flashing lights, blind spots, or “light auras”.
- Upset stomach – Migraines can also set off nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or abdominal pain.
- Other – There are several other symptoms that can be attributed to migraines including fatigue, dizziness, paleness, or suddenly feeling very warm or cold.
Another difference between headaches and migraines is that migraines often come with subtle warning signs a day or two before a migraine, including mood changes, food cravings, stiffness in the neck, and increased thirst and urination. Once a migraine starts, it can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours if not treated with pain relieving medications. When the migraine attack is over, patients may continue to feel week, moody, dizzy, or confused for up to 24 hours.
If you think you could be experiencing migraines, consider tracking your signs and symptoms so that you can discuss it with your physician. Once migraines are officially diagnosed and their cause is determined, you can consider preventative options such as pills, oral appliance therapy.
Dr. Michael Stern of Smile Brighter Willoughby Hills can help patients whose migraines are caused by dental conditions such as TMD or bruxism. For more information about how our treatments can help you enjoy your life without fear of a migraine, call our office today.