Do you suffer from throbbing, painful headaches that sometimes last a couple days? If so, you may be experiencing migraines. Migraines are headaches that start on one side of the head and can move to the other. They can cause stomach aches and vomiting. Light, noise, smells and activities can increase symptoms. Some people may experience an aura (see wavy lines, flashing lights or spots) before their migraine sets in. But this only occurs one third of the time. They also may experience numbness and tingling in the face, arms and hands.

Although there is no direct cause for migraines, they are hereditary and there are many triggers that can bring them on, including:

  • not enough sleep
  • red wine
  • chocolate
  • not eating enough
  • changing daily routines
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  • perfumes, colognes and other strong scents
  • allergies

Migraines cannot be diagnosed by a CT scan, MRI, or laboratory testing. However, with a good history and physical, a physician may prescribe a tryptan (Replax, Maxalt, etc.) which can be diagnostic and therapeutic. If your headache goes away after taking the medication, then it is a migraine. These medications only work on migraines.

When you feel a migraine coming on, take your medication right away and relax in a dark, quiet room. Make sure to take your medication as prescribed and not too often. Sometimes taking it more often than prescribed can cause headaches once the medication is stopped.

If you are experiencing migraine symptoms contact your physician. They will go over your medical history, symptoms, how often you get the headaches and how long they last. With this information they may prescribe a tryptan medication to treat the migraines. If you have allergies your physician may recommend seeing an allergist for treatment as well. According to William A. Lanting, M.D., over 50% of his patients no longer have migraines after allergy treatment. You do not have to suffer from migraines!