Migraine headaches can be a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. These severe headaches are characterized by intense, throbbing pain in one or both sides of the head and possible nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, and sound sensitivity. Understanding what causes migraine headaches is key to successful treatment.

What Causes Migraine Headaches?

Researchers believe that migraine headaches might be triggered by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Common triggers include stress, hormonal changes, certain foods (such as aged cheese), alcohol, caffeine withdrawal, weather changes, bright lights or loud noises. Identifying your personal triggers will help you prevent future episodes.

How Are Migraine Headaches Diagnosed?

Migraine headaches are typically diagnosed after a physical examination and a review of your medical history. Your doctor may ask questions about the frequency and duration of your headaches, as well as any other accompanying symptoms you experience during an episode. Tests may be conducted to rule out other causes of headache, such as an infection or tumor. Additional tests might include blood tests, imaging studies (such as CT scans or MRIs), or electroencephalogram (EEG) exams to measure brainwave activity. As some migraine triggers can vary from person-to-person, keeping track of when and where you experience pain can help your doctor identify potential triggers for future prevention.

How Are Migraine Headaches Treated?

Treatment plans for migraine headaches vary depending on the individual and their particular needs. Common treatments include prescription drugs (including triptans), lifestyle changes (such as stress reduction and avoiding triggers), biofeedback or relaxation techniques, acupuncture, injections (such as Botox or nerve blocks), and specialized diet therapy. With proper diagnosis and treatment, it is possible to prevent migraine headaches and successfully manage the pain.

The best way to address and treat migraine headaches is to find what works for you. Talk with your doctor about the treatment options that may be available and develop an individualized plan that fits your lifestyle and needs. With a personalized treatment plan at OrthoNebraska, we’ll do our best to help you find the relief you are seeking.