There are many different types of headaches, and it can be difficult to distinguish between certain kinds of head pain. Some headaches occur in a very pinpointed area of the head, while others are spread over a larger portion of the head. Some occur at specific times of the day, while others can happen at any time. Many people report that certain types of headaches follow predictable patterns and come on during times of stress or exposure to certain environmental irritants. Migraine headaches are distinctive in that they often bring intense, throbbing pain that affects the entire head or shifts from one side of the head to the other. In addition, migraines can be accompanied by nausea, fatigue, dizziness, light sensitivity or blurred vision.
Researchers are not clear on the exact causes of migraine headaches, but it is believed that a combination of environmental and genetic factors play a causal role. The human body relies upon a complex interaction of the central nervous system and the brain, which includes the brainstem and the trigeminal nerve. It is believed that when those components are not properly in sync, the result can be serious and sometimes debilitating migraine headaches. Another potential cause involves an imbalance of certain brain chemicals, such as serotonin. It appears that a number of triggers can prompt a migraine, including a woman’s hormonal shifts, certain foods, exposure to bright light or even changes in the weather. No two patients will have the exact same set of triggers nor will their migraine headache symptoms be the same.
The most important component of treating migraines is proper diagnosis and screening to rule out other serious health issues that can be masked as migraine headaches. Once a diagnosis of migraine has been reached, there are a number of prescription medications that can be administered in an urgent care setting. These medications are powerful tools in helping patients move beyond a serious migraine headache, but they require medical supervision to be safe and effective.
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