The Complexities of the Complicated Migraine

Migraines are a common complaint within the general population, and one of the most frequent reasons that many visit their doctor’s office or emergency room each year. Migraines can be a scary experience, particularly if you have never encountered one before, or if they are few and far between. If you suffer from frequent migraines, these severe and often debilitating headaches can truly put a damper on your daily life. Doctors are unsure of exactly what causes migraines, although information is being collected all the time in regards to what happens to the body during a migraine episode. The difficulty in diagnosis and treatment is further complicated by the many different types and levels of severity of migraines and the many different ways that they can present themselves. One of the types of migraines that some patients struggle with is the complicated migraine.

What is the Complicated Migraine?

The complicated migraine is a fairly severe form of the headache, which is nearly always preceded by an “aura” or visual disturbance of some sort. This aura typically lasts anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, and some even have vision disturbances that can continue for days. Vision disturbances can include a blind spot that gradually enlarges throughout the vision field, a zigzagging line, or bright flashing lights. There can also be temporary paralysis of the nerves that are generally used for eye movement. Usually, this change in the vision corrects itself before the pain of the headache actually begins. These types of headaches often originate at the back of the head and can result in acute pain, severe vomiting and even neurological changes. Dizziness, disorientation and fainting can also occur in some cases.

Because these complicated migraines are generally fairly severe in nature and can cause long-lasting neurological changes in the brain, many doctors believe that the best way to treat a complicated migraine is to stop them before they even begin. This is welcome news to many who have suffered from these intense headache symptoms. Prevention can include avoiding triggers that can cause the migraines, such as certain types of food, stress and smoking. Cutting back on caffeine as well as processed meats and cheeses, and avoiding artificial sweeteners can help decrease the odds of the occurrence of these complicated migraines as well.

In addition to homeopathic prevention plans, many doctors will prescribe a medication that is taken to prevent the headaches as well. These medicines fall under the category of prophylactic medicines, and are usually taken every day as a strictly preventative measure. These are not effective medications once a migraine has begun. However, if you suffer from complicated migraines, your doctor may also prescribe a drug in the triptan family that will effectively treat a migraine in its earliest stages. When you are armed with the proper knowledge and treatment program, you are on the road to effective management of your complicated migraines.

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