Migraine or just headache?


Migraine or just headache?

A Headache is one of the most common pain conditions in the world. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), globally about half of adults reported headaches at least once per annum. Across those who experienced headaches three-person on ten reported migraine pain. Recurrent painful headaches attacks may be classified as migraine. Migraine is a type of primary headache. Moreover, causes severe throbbing pain. Pain in the head may arise and become severely pulsating. Migraine pain is usually localized in one side of the head. The spectrum of pain follows with other symptoms as; nausea, sensitivity to light, noise, or odors. Migraine attacks may vary in duration. Typically a migraine lasts an hour to even 72 hours. In addition, those painful attacks may have a negative impact on everyday activities.

Some patients know in advance that a migraine attack is incoming. Undoubtedly, it is because of the phenomenon called an aura. That provides anticipatory symptoms. Those can be spotted as disturbances in the vision as flashes, blind spots, or simply blurred sight. Aura is not one but rather a compilation of sensory symptoms. Aura is an intense feeling that appears before headache pain. Furthermore, about 1 in 4 people experience it before a migraine strikes.

What do migraine symptoms look like?

  • Headache on one side of the head.
  • Nausea (the most common characteristic associated)
  • Blur vision or visual disturbances (patients with aura)
  • Vomiting (or abdominal pain, younger children’s)
  • Light sensitivity (photophobia)
  • Sensitivity to noise, odours (second smoke cigarette)
  • Pale skin colour (pallor)

Aura symptoms:

  • Open eyes disturbances
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Temporary loss of vision
  • Weakness experienced in one part of the body
  • Changes in speech (tempo, voice pitch)

What the causes are (if known) and common triggers

Almost one century ago scientists started to question the causes of migraine disorder. Till today the cause of headaches is not fully understood. There are some genetic predispositions and conditioning environmental factors. Some migraine causes are associated with hormonal fluctuations. Especially, women migraine type is correlated with menstruation periods. In general, the mechanism, when we experienced migraine is simple. Specific nerves localized in part of the head send pain signals to the brain. Those signals release inflammatory chemicals into the bloodstream & to the nerves. An interrupted balance of chemicals in the brainstem causes the spectrum of inflammatory reactions. Activation of mechanisms leads the brain to release pain-producing inflammatory substances. It happens around head nerves and blood vessels. Scientists are not sure why the brain launch this system.

There are many potential triggers and a variety of factors.

Migraine triggers:

  • Medications. Vasodilators, oral contraceptives.
  • Wine.
  • Stress inducing environment or stress in general.
  • Interruption of sleeping or meal routines.
  • Epileptic illumination, noise, odours, cigarette smoke
  • High-intensity physical endurance.
  • Weather conditions. Barometric air pressure can induce migraine.
  • Foods. Especially aged cheeses and processed foods.
  • Other. Periods (menstruation)

When to seek further medical advice

Migraines are often not diagnosed properly. If headaches impede your everyday activities then you should consider a consultation with GP to get a proper diagnose. For those who have a previous history of headaches or are reliant on over-the-counter medications, the best advice is to start keeping a record of migraine attacks. Migraine journal should contain the frequency of attacks and actions we conduct to ease the pain. That kind of journal will be helpful to you and your physician. Even you previously have a history of headaches, but the patterns of attack changed you should look for medical attention.

How to treat migraine:

Chronic migraine headaches can not be simply cured. In contrast, the severity of pain may be decreased. Desirable relief is approachable. It may be done by changing individual habits. Simple avoidance of common triggers may be helpful. If it is not, there are also more reliable protocols. Two additional types of treatment approaches exist. Abortive and preventive medication. Healthcare professionals will provide you with an accurate diagnosis and prescription. Simple lifestyle modifications may help. If it’s not and those interventions are not sufficient. Therefore, medication may be an appropriate way to prevent or ease upcoming pain. If we are convinced to visit the physician it will be very helpful to bring the migraine journal with us. Your GP based on included information will choose the most appropriate medication. There is a whole class of medicine used to treat migraine. The doctor may choose from a wide group of them; triptan, anti-migraine medications, analgesics, anti-emetics, prophylactic medications. In general, if avoidance of migraine triggers does not help, drugs will do! Two main approaches with the implementation of medication are used one is abortive medication and the second is preventive medication.

  • Abortive medication. Is treatment aimed to ease upcoming or already experienced migraine? Is the most effective when a patient will use e drug straight after the signing of migraine. Medication should abort the upcoming headache process by decreasing other symptoms. It may reduce many symptoms as; pain, light sensitivity, and nausea. The mechanism of work for that medication aims to constrict blood vessels and bring them to baseline level. In addition, it helps to relieve out the throbbing pain. Abortive medication is appropriate for patients with aura and those are most effective.
  • Preventive medication. Are ordinated by the physician when patients’ headaches are severe and interrupt everyday activities. This approach aims to reduce the frequency and ease the negative impact of migraines on patient life. Those medications are usually prescribed when migraine headaches occurred four or more times per month. Drugs should be taken daily to prevent upcoming migraines.

Resources further information

This brochure aims to provide the most updated information about migraine. The leaflet is addressed to the general public and lays a piece of information in an easy-to-digest form. On the other hand, it cannot be treated as medical advice. If you discover described symptoms and your headaches pain persists. Please book an appointment to see your doctor. You can help yourself and your doctor if you decide to cultivate the habit of recording every attack in a migraine diary. For more information scan the QR codes below to get more reliable information. Scan codes below with your mobile to gather more information.

Headache disorders (who.int)

Migraine – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Migraine – Diagnosis – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Migraine Headache – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)

Mark Scheme

You will make a patient leaflet about Migraine.

This should be written on the basis that readership will include a wide range of people in terms of educational background and medical knowledge.

Communicate effectively to both experts and laypeople using oral presentation skills

The module template can be found in the module information folder in the module handbook

Appropriate writing style and content Has it been written for the right audience? Is it easy to understand? Is it clear and concise? Is the leaflet factually correct?20 (First = 14; 2:1 = 12; 2:2 = 10; 3rd = 8)
Formatting and visual appeal Is the leaflet presented clearly in a way that’s easy to read? Have images been used? Have bullet points been used? Have headings been used?10 (First = 7; 2:1 = 6; 2:2 = 5; 3rd = 4)
Standard of English Is the standard of English acceptable? Are sentences clear and correctly constructed? Is spelling accurate?10 (First = 7; 2:1 = 6; 2:2 = 5; 3rd = 4)
Resources Has a list of resources been included? Are they good quality resources?10 (First = 7; 2:1 = 6; 2:2 = 5; 3rd = 4)
Total marks/50 (First = 35, 2:1 = 30; 2:2 = 25; 3rd = 20)

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