A migraine is characterized by severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation in the head. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and interfere with daily activities.


Symptoms of Migraines


A migraine may progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack, and post-drome. Symptoms common during the prodrome stage include constipation, food cravings, neck stiffness, mood changes, increased urination, fluid retention, and frequent yawning.

During the aura stage, patients may experience visual phenomena (such as bright spots, flashes of light, and seeing various shapes), difficulty speaking, vision loss, pins and needles sensations in the arm or leg, and weakness or numbness in the face or one side of the body.

A migraine attack can last between four and 72 hours if untreated. Symptoms common during this stage include pain on one side of the head (but oftentimes on both sides), throbbing or pulsating pain, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound, and sometimes smell and touch.

During the final stage of a migraine, an individual may feel drained, confused, and tired. Some people may feel elated. Pain may briefly re-appear after sudden head movement.

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Woman-in-bed-with-migraine

Causes of Migraines


Migraines may be triggered by one or more of the following:

  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Drinks, such as alcohol or caffeinated beverages
  • Stress
  • Sensory stimuli, such as bright or flashing lights, perfume, paint thinner, and secondhand smoke
  • Sleep changes
  • Physical factors, such as intense physical activity
  • Weather changes
  • Medications
  • Foods
  • Food additives

When to Seek Medical Attention for Migraines


Migraines accompanied by any of the following signs and symptoms could indicate a serious medical condition:

  • Headache after a head injury
  • An abrupt, severe headache like a thunderclap
  • Chronic headache that worsens with coughing, exertion, straining, or sudden movement
  • Headache accompanied by fever, confusion, seizures, stiff neck, double vision, and numbness or weakness in part of the body
  • New headache pain after age 50
Woman-speaking-to-doctor-about-her-migraine

Treatment Options for Migraines


At Westcare Clinics, patients suffering from migraines may be treated with joint and soft tissue injections, pain management techniques, and occupational medicine.

Joint and soft tissue injections can help ease and treat migraines. The type of soft tissue injection that is done will depend on the type, severity, and cause of the pain.

Patients suffering from migraines may experience relief by incorporating pain management techniques into treatment; these techniques may include cold and heat therapy, physical therapy, therapeutic massage, gentle exercise, biofeedback, mind-body techniques, music therapy, and occupational therapy. The pain management techniques will be customized according to the patient’s needs.

Westcare Clinics also offers occupational medicine to help patients maintain the strength and focus they need to continue working. Our healthcare practitioners are available to train employers to adapt the workplace and worker responsibilities to the physical limitations of their employees.

Advanced Treatment


Patients suffering from migraines may need complex, long-term care to manage the pain and treat the condition. Advanced treatment options may include surgery, chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, and other forms of rehabilitation. The Westcare Clinics team is happy to answer any questions patients may have about obtaining advanced treatment for their migraine.

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