Common Migraine Symptoms and When to Seek Care
June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. For the 47 percent of Americans who deal with headaches annually, this is an important time for discussion. Despite headaches being one of the most common health problems, research surrounding them is sparse. With more than 150 types of headaches identified, it’s no wonder people experience them so differently.
Regardless of the symptoms, a severe headache can be debilitating. Migraines are especially bothersome and can have a huge negative impact on your quality of life.
The National Headache Foundation estimates that 16 million people in the U.S. have undiagnosed migraines.
So, how can you tell if you’re suffering from migraines? Better yet, when should you see a doctor about your frequent headaches or migraines?
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common migraine symptoms and discuss when it’s time to seek care.
Migraine vs. Headache
One of the biggest misconceptions about migraines is that they are just bad headaches. This is certainly not true. Those who have experienced a migraine in the past know they are much worse.
Migraines come with unique symptoms that can be far more debilitating than an aching head.
Migraine sufferers commonly report symptoms like:
- Light sensitivity
- Noise sensitivity
- Severe, throbbing head pain
- Pain on only one side of the head
What Causes Migraines?
Researchers have not determined the exact cause of migraines. However, studies suggest they may be the result of abnormal brain activity causing disruptions in nerve activity and blood flow.
While the actual cause of migraines remains a mystery, many factors can trigger them.
Some of the most common migraine triggers include:
- High stress levels
- Hormonal changes
- Strong smells
- Loud noise exposure
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Smoking / vaping
- Aged cheese / fermented foods
- Cured or processed meats
With so many possible triggers, it can be hard to narrow down which ones affect you. However, by maintaining a log of your headaches and looking for patterns over time, it’s possible to start avoiding the triggers responsible for your migraines.
When to Seek Medical Care for a Migraine
Although migraines can be debilitating and seriously disrupt your day, most resolve on their own. Supportive care is key to dealing with a migraine.
Some migraine medications can also help.
Aside from medications, using a hot or cold pack on your head may help alleviate some of the pain you experience during a migraine. Likewise, lying down in a quiet, dark room makes it easier to get through the light and noise sensitivities that often accompany a migraine.
Most migraines resolve after several hours (or a good night’s sleep). Severe headaches may also be a sign of something more serious.
Conditions like meningitis, stroke, encephalitis, and concussion can all occur with a headache that mimics migraine symptoms.
If you experience any of the following, seek medical care immediately:
- High fever
- Trouble thinking or remembering things
- Significant blurred vision or loss of vision
- Numbness or weakness
- Stiff or painful neck
VUC is Here to Help Your Head
Frequent migraines can have a profound impact on your life and daily routine. Fortunately, you aren’t alone. If you are suffering from migraines, Velocity Urgent Care is ready to help.
Our team of friendly, board-certified providers will perform a physical exam and sit down to discuss your symptoms. We’ll work with you to identify migraine triggers and determine the best treatment plan.
Velocity Urgent Care providers can prescribe medications to help manage your migraine symptoms. If your migraine requires follow-up care, we can also refer you directly to a primary care provider or specialist.
At Velocity Urgent Care, we offer convenient online registration that helps you limit your contact with others during your visit. You can sign up for an appointment online to skip the waiting room and arrive when it’s your turn to be seen.
We even offer text message updates so you can wait in the car (if you prefer) until it’s time for your appointment.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking serious safety precautions to ensure that our locations are as clean as possible. We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure that each one of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or occupational health services.
Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible.
All of our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome.
To learn more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.