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How to recognize a migraine in yourself: signs, symptoms


Signs of migraine are a headache that has a certain localization, a clear nature of the pain (squeezing or throbbing), increased pain during movement, sensitivity to light and sounds, long duration of the attack, nausea, vomiting. Migraine differs from a headache in that it does not always stop with painkillers, can be accompanied by an aura, lasts up to several days, is often accompanied by vomiting, after stopping it completely depletes a person’s strength.

Signs of migraine:

  • Conventional pills do not help in previous quantities or do not help at all.
  • The pain is concentrated in one half of the head (there are exceptions, but rarely). Often its epicenter is the temple and the eye area.
  • The pain is throbbing. Particularly "lucky" can count their pulse by the number of strokes with a butt in the skull.
  • There is nausea. If it’s really bad, then vomiting.
  • Great weakness, inability to concentrate, desire to lie down and not to be touched.
  • Strong reaction to smells (can even tear out), light and loud sounds (increased pain).
  • Increased pain and nausea when trying to get up and move.
  • Before the attack - flashing flies in front of the eyes, loss of vision, tinnitus, numbness of the arms, legs and other parts of the body (this is a migraine with an aura).

Speaking of the latter. Aura - that’s all that I described in this paragraph. If you have it, then you will have some restrictions in terms of taking medications (for example, estrogen hormonal contraceptives are strictly forbidden), but then you will always be warned that in 10-20 minutes you will have an attack, and you need to prepare tablets, to remove it, so to speak, on the fly.

Is there some more menstrual migraine - It occurs a few days before and during menstruation. Associated with a drop in estrogen levels. A little different from her menstrual associated migraine - Attacks occur during the “critical days”, and out of touch with the cycle.

By the way, people who first encountered a severe attack of migraine are often very scared and call an ambulance. And she will practically not be able to help you - analgin with ketorol will not relieve pain, and you cannot vasodilator, because during a migraine they are already expanded. Actually, that's why everything hurts you - the vessels press on the surrounding nerves. Well, there are usually no vasoconstrictor drugs on ambulances. If you feel really bad, you can get a sleeping pill, and you just oversleep the attack. Also a good option, but I'm against it. Migraine can be fought on its own, and an ambulance call costs the state a lot of money. A little expensive just to give you sleeping pills. True, I myself, until I knew all the subtleties, called. They euthanized. Then she stopped. It’s better to save heart attacks, but my situation is not life-threatening.

So, by all indications, you have a migraine. What to do? Go to a neurologist and tell everything as it is. Describe the above symptoms that you have discovered. If the doctor does not say the magic word “migraine” even after that, then you will have to do it for him. Most likely, he will agree with you and prescribe treatment. And what kind of treatment - about it in the following articles of my "migraine" series.

By the way, no additional examinations for diagnosis are needed - your words will be enough. However, if the doctor suddenly doubts the diagnosis, he may send you, for example, to an MRI. Do not resist, go. Exclude more dangerous pathologies.

The main symptoms of migraine

According to statistics from American scientists, more than 303 million people worldwide suffer from migraines. Moreover, the vast majority of these people are women. But how exactly is migraine recognized? Consider its main features below:

  1. Headache localized in one part of the head. The pain during migraine can be concentrated in the left or right side, near the temple, can even be given to the eye from the side in which it is localized.
  2. The compressive or pulsating nature of the pain. In addition to the fact that migraine pains have a clear localization, they also have a certain character. Some people call this pain “dull” or constricting, while others complain that it “pulsates” in their head.
  3. Weakness, sensitivity to bright light and harsh sounds. Migraine attacks are easier to bear while lying in a cool dark, quiet room, because bright lighting and loud sharp sounds can only intensify pain.
  4. Increased pain during physical exertion, walking, or even a change in body position. Any slightest activity during an attack can worsen the condition, so during an attack it is better to take a comfortable position and lie still, then it will become much easier.
  5. The duration of the attack is from 4 hours to 3 days.
  6. Nausea, vomiting during an attack. This symptom is not always present, but, nevertheless, some people even have vomiting. These concomitant symptoms disappear as pain is relieved.

Complaint Collection

If a person has migraine symptoms, frequent headaches and other symptoms, a neurologist will initially interview and collect data.

For this, a neurologist will learn the following pathology details:

  1. Were there previously similar symptoms in native people, blood relatives.
  2. It determines the lifestyle, work and its conditions, as well as the rules of nutrition, the presence of bad habits.
  3. It is necessary to describe to the doctor what caused the migraine, after which it began to develop.
  4. Secondary diseases that occur in a chronic form are determined, after which a connection is traced in their treatment and migraine attacks.
  5. Are there injuries to the back, head, or neck?
  6. The emotional and mental background of a person is established, the presence of depression is determined.

In order for the diagnosis of migraine to be successful, the patient could describe his condition in detail, it is necessary to have a notebook in which to note the onset of seizures and possible provoking causes.

The main criteria for diagnosis

If a person has a migraine, then its attacks begin to occur from time to time, often the symptoms are the same, they can determine the specific type of pathology.

A neurologist knows how to diagnose certain types, and the main criteria are as follows:

  1. Migraine 5 times appears with the usual symptoms and 2 times characterized by headache for up to 3 days. In addition, pain is supplemented by 2 and more additional symptoms, including throbbing, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. With pain, the patient can not perceive bright light, loud sounds or pungent smells, there is dizziness.
  2. There are no secondary diseases of the body and failures that are characteristic of migraine.
  3. Patients feel uncharacteristic headaches, all attacks are not connected with each other, the main pathology is independent.

To correctly diagnose migraine, patients need to seek help during the next attack or call an ambulance at home.

Physical examination

After collecting general data about the patient, the doctor begins to conduct a physical examination. Its essence lies in visual inspection, listening and probing the patient, conducting some tests.

If migraine is suspected, the following measures are used:

  1. The pressure of the patient, his temperature and the work of the heart, respiration are measured.
  2. Assessed, as far as possible, the condition of the fundus and the pupils.
  3. With the help of palpation and measurements, an assessment is made of the shape and other parameters of the head.
  4. The temporal lobe is palpated to determine the general condition of the artery.
  5. Palpation of the joints of the jaw, neck, shoulder areas and hair area of ​​the head is performed to determine pain, muscle tension.
  6. To confirm or exclude the inflammatory process, a phonendoscope is used, which shows the patency of the cervical vessels.
  7. Using a needle and other sharp objects, the doctor conducts light tingling, to determine the sensitivity of the skin.
  8. Palpation of the thyroid gland is required to determine its size and general condition.
  9. Checks the coordination of the patient and his ability to maintain equilibrium. For this, tests and tests are used.
  10. The emotional and mental state, memory activity, as well as the reaction to various changes are determined in order to assess the degree of irritation and aggressiveness.

Physical diagnosis helps to identify neurological disorders that appear with migraines and exclude other pathologies with similar symptoms.

Examination of narrowly targeted doctors

During the diagnosis, the patient needs to undergo an examination not only by a neurologist, there is a need to be examined by other narrowly focused doctors who are able to confirm or exclude the development of other diseases with headaches.

In such a case, you may need to consult with the following doctors:

  1. Optometrist - assesses the condition of the fundus, especially with the appearance of visual defects before the onset of a headache. The doctor will check visual acuity, identify possible pathologies.
  2. Dentist - inspection is necessary to check the condition of the oral cavity, teeth, places of suppuration, which can cause pulsating headaches.
  3. ENT - checks the condition of all paranasal sinuses, the inner and middle ear, and also eliminates inflammation, in the form of otitis media, sinusitis.
  4. Vertebrologist - a doctor examines the condition of the back and neck, excludes infringement of the arteries, which leads to cervical migraine.

The described specialists will establish an accurate diagnosis and causes of migraine. Due to complex diagnosis, the range of provoking factors is narrowed.

Instrumental diagnosis

Instrumental methods of examination are considered the last method in the course of complex diagnosis.

Using an additional tool and equipment, doctors assess the state of the brain and blood vessels.

The frequency of the appearance of migraine depends on this. Patients who often have pain in the head should undergo the following examinations:

  1. Electroencephalography is a harmless examination method that does not cause pain in patients and makes it possible to check brain structures, blood vessels and arteries during a certain activity. In addition, the technique shows inflammation and pathological changes.
  2. Computed tomography of the brain - with the help of X-ray equipment, diseases in the chronic or acute phase are determined. CT makes it possible to determine the functioning of the circulatory system, the presence of formations in the brain and hematomas, as well as the effects of injuries. With the help of a tomograph, doctors can urgently receive the necessary results that will help determine pathological processes or changes in the structure of the brain.
  3. MRI of the brain, spine, back and neck. Due to the pulses that emanate during the examination, it is possible to determine neoplasms, ischemic damage, atherosclerosis and other pathological changes that pass through the brain. An MRI of the neck is performed if the doctor suspects a strangulation of the arteries.
  4. CT angiography is an invasive method of examination, during which a contrast agent based on iodine is introduced. After this, an X-ray is taken of certain areas that are displayed on the monitor. The method shows an accurate picture of the state of the vascular system, tissue breaks and the strength of damage.
  5. MRI angiography - shows in detail the state of the vessels, no invasive techniques are required. Although the method is very effective for migraines, it is rarely used because of its high cost.

Knowing how to diagnose migraine attacks and what is required for this, it will be possible to establish an accurate diagnosis and determine an effective treatment regimen.

If pain in the head often develops on the one hand, which is repeated quite often and there are bouts of nausea, other unpleasant symptoms, then you need to urgently consult a doctor. This condition may indicate the development of migraine.

In case of headache and pathology, pain appears in the frontal and temporal parts, as a rule, it affects only one half of the head. In addition, migraine patients are afraid of loud sounds and light.