Help for Migraine-Sufferers
- Posted on: Aug 15 2018
A migraine headache is not your typical kind of pain. People who experience migraines know them well because the symptoms tend to occur often enough to cause a sense of hyper-alertness to sensations like light and sound sensitivity and a slight feeling of nausea. A migraine is more of a pounding headache that lasts for several hours; sometimes several days. It is a kind of headache that you want to avoid if you possibly can. It is also a kind of pain that may cause one to question the level of concern they should have about what is causing debilitating symptoms.
At GO Imaging in Humble and Houston, specific diagnostic tests may be conducted in particular instances of migraines. A doctor may order imaging to explore potential reasons for:
- The sudden and unexplained development of a debilitating headache.
- A change in the pattern of headaches.
- Coinciding seizure activity along with a migraine headache.
- Lack of improvement after taking prescription medication.
- Associated symptoms such as confusion, difficulty speaking, or weakness.
- Headaches that occur after a head injury.
- Morning headaches or headaches that disrupt sleep.
There are several other reasons why a doctor may request imaging to observe the brain for clues to headaches. When tests are ordered, the primary objective is to capture detailed information in images that can be carefully evaluated. Conventional imaging studies include CT scans and MRI.
CTs, or CAT scans, take a few minutes to obtain x-ray images of the brain. This test may detect a fracture or bleed, tumor, aneurysm, or a blood clot that may indicate a stroke has occurred. CT scans can also observe the presence of a malformation or disease affecting the skull.
MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a 30 to 60-minute test that captures images of the brain using radio waves and strong magnets contained in a tunnel-like machine. MRIs are very detailed pictures of the brain that may also detect tumors and clots, infection, bleeds, and other anomalies that may explain migraines.
Imaging provides essential data for chronic migraine sufferers. If you are one of the 3-plus million Americans for whom headaches are a problem, consider the following survival tips:
Watch What You Eat
Some experts recommend keeping a daily food journal that tracks what is eaten and what sensations occur with certain foods. Nitrates in foods like hot dogs and lunch meat, as well as MSG in foods, can be a trigger for migraines. So can chocolate, red wine, and cheese with tyramine, a naturally-occurring compound in Swiss, Parmesan, feta, and blue cheese.
While removing certain foods may be necessary, it may also be beneficial to add to the diet. Foods such as milk, eggs, almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds boost magnesium oxide for less frequent, less intense headaches. Magnesium can also be supplemented in pill or transdermal spray form.
Try Essential Oils
Two essential oils, in particular, have been proven beneficial for many headache sufferers. They are lavender and peppermint. In a 2012 study, individuals who inhaled lavender essential oil for 15 minutes recovered faster than those who inhaled a placebo. Don’t have 15 minutes to hover over a bottle of oil? Apply a therapeutic grade product to your temples instead. According to a 2010 study, peppermint essential oil may prevent a migraine from developing fully if applied to the temples and forehead at the onset of symptoms.
Do you have questions or need to schedule an imaging test? Contact our Humble or Houston office today.