MIGRAINE WITHOUT AURA
Migraines are typically classified based on the sufferer experiencing an early symptom, called an aura. Currently, there are two major types of migraines: migraines with aura (MWA) and migraines without aura (MWOA). Majority of migraineurs suffer from migraines without aura, which means they do not experience the sensory or visual warning signs. According to recent migraine statistics, migraine auras happen to only 20 percent of people who experience migraines.
MIGRAINE WITHOUT AURA SYMPTOMS
The common symptoms experienced during a migraine without aura are:
- Pulsing pain
- Throbbing pain
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to sound
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Pain on one side of head
- Pain/discomfort increases with physical activities
HOW ARE MIGRAINE WITHOUT AURA DIAGNOSED?
Diagnostic criteria from IHS:
A. At least five migraine attacks that fulfill criteria B through D
B. Each migraine attack, untreated or unsuccessfully treated, lasts from four to 72 hours
C. Head pain that has at least two of the following
- Pain on one side of the head, unilateral pain
- Pulsating or throbbing pain
- Moderate to severe head pain
- Triggered by routine physical activity, such as walking or climbing stairs
D. During head pain, at least one of the following:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Light sensitivity
- Sound sensitivity
E. Not due to any other disorder
Diagnosing migraine with aura, much like any type of migraine, is very difficult due to the wide range of symptoms. To effectively diagnose migraine without aura, doctors must have the most up to date information regarding your migraine attacks. One way to help your doctor in the diagnoses process is to keep a migraine journal of all your symptoms. This will help your physician rule out any other causes as well as have a much better picture of a beneficial treatment plan.
HOW ARE MIGRAINES WITHOUT AURA TREATED?
First, if there are underlying causes for your migraines, your doctor will identify those issues and recommend appropriate treatment. Once all other causes are ruled out, a path of relieving symptoms and preventing future attacks is taken.
To begin treatment, your doctor may recommend the following actions to help relieve symptoms:
- Seclude yourself to a quiet, dark room.
- Place cold compresses on the painful areas.
- Take pain-relieving medications such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or aspirin
- Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (called NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen or naproxen
In addition to the above treatment, your doctor may suggest additional ways to help prevent additional migraines. These steps might include taking specific medications along with avoiding any triggers that cause migraines.
MEDICATIONS THAT PREVENT MIGRAINES
Many medications which may have been developed for other purposes are used to successfully prevent migraines. These include:
- Antidepressants such as Elavil (amitriptyline) and Pamelor (nortriptyline)
- Ergot derivatives such as Sansert (methysergide)
- Beta-blockers such as Tenormin (atenolol), Inderal (propranolol), and Blocadren (timolol)
- Antihistamines such as Periactin (cyproheptadine)
AVOIDING COMMON TRIGGERS
Use the collected information from your migraine diary to determine if any of these foods, medications or other triggers might be causing your migraines.
- red wine or other alcohol
- citrus fruits
- artificial sweeteners
- food preservatives, such as nitrates, nitrites, and monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- ice cream or other cold foods
- Too much/little sleep
- Missing meals
- Flickering/fluorescent lights
- Changes in pressure/altitude