Chronic headache disorders are not the same as a typical migraine attack. While they are both headache-related conditions, there are some key differences between them.
Chronic migraine occurs when a person has at least ten migraines per month, which can interfere with daily life. In fact, the term “chronic” in chronic migraines refers to the frequency of these painful attacks rather than their duration. The typical migraine, on the other hand, lasts only a few hours and then goes away.
If you suffer from chronic migraine attacks, you know how disruptive and debilitating this type of headache can be. As with most health conditions, preventive treatments are the best cure for chronic migraines. Understanding why and how you get them is therefore a critical step in managing them in the future.
Here is everything you need to know about preventing and managing chronic migraines.
What Is a Chronic Migraine?
Chronic migraine is a condition that causes people to experience headaches frequently, usually 15 or more days per month.
They’re usually more severe than other types of headaches, like tension headaches.
Simply put, it’s a throbbing pain on one side of the head that may be felt behind an eye, at the top or back of the head, or anywhere else. Some people also report feeling a “band” across their head.
The Difference Between an Episodic and Chronic Migraine
The onset frequency distinguishes a chronic migraine headache from an episodic migraine headache.
While there is no agreement on how long a chronic migraine can last, the general consensus is that it occurs more than 14 days per month. So, the number of migraines you have per month is what distinguishes a chronic migraine from a regular migraine.
Furthermore, chronic migraine pain is frequently more severe and incapacitating than regular migraine pain. They’re also more difficult to treat, both with medications and with natural remedies, and they don’t always have a known cause.
Common Migraine Symptoms To Look Out For
For those suffering from chronic migraines, each situation is unique, and what constitutes a chronic migraine for one person may not be the same for another.
The neurological symptoms that accompany migraine headaches can vary in frequency, severity, and duration from person to person. Nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and other neurological issues are among the symptoms.
Keeping track of your migraine attacks and headache frequency is the best way to determine whether or not you have chronic migraine. This is especially important if you haven’t been diagnosed yet or are experiencing a new type of migraine.
Potential Causes of Chronic Migraines
There are numerous causes of chronic migraines, so determining the cause is the first step in treating chronic migraine attacks. Even among people who exhibit the same symptoms, the causes can differ. The following are some of the most common causes of chronic migraines:
- Stress – Experiencing a lot of stress can cause chronic migraines. Finding ways to manage stress can help relieve headache pain.
- Genetics – There’s some evidence to suggest that genetics may play a role in the development of chronic migraines. If you have a family history of migraines, you may be more likely to get them as well — and to have them at a more frequent rate.
- Poor diet – Some people get migraines if they eat a diet high in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates. Eating a balanced diet can help prevent migraines.
- Environmental factors – Some people get migraines in certain environments, like a bar or a busy coffee shop.
- Medications – Certain medications can cause chronic migraines. So, you must discuss with your doctor medication management to avoid potential medication overuse headache pain.
Treatment of Chronic Migraine
If you’re diagnosed with chronic migraines, you’ll want to explore treatment options with your doctor. Here are a few common treatments for chronic migraines:
- Medications – While surgical interventions are rare, acute medication is the most common treatment for chronic migraines. They can be used as preventive or acute treatment during an attack.
- Pain management – While you can’t “cure” chronic migraines, you can manage the symptoms of the headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and other symptoms of the migraine cycle.
- Sleep – Getting enough sleep can help your body and mind recover from the stress of living with chronic migraines and may even help lessen the frequency and severity of the attacks.
Contact Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C. for Chronic Migraine Treatment
While there’s no cure for chronic migraines at this time, there are several ways to manage them and lessen their frequency and intensity so that you have fewer days when you feel like your head is about to burst.
Finding what treatment works best for you will take time and effort, but the result is worth it. This is especially true if you’ve tried several treatments unsuccessfully in the past.
However, you can’t manage what you don’t understand. That’s why you need to see a headache specialist at the Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C. for a thorough chronic migraine diagnosis and treatment plan.
Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection).
Call us today at (347) 602-9530 to schedule an appointment with an experienced board-certified neurologist near you. Same-day appointments may be available.