If you suffer from migraines, you know how debilitating the pain can be. When you are in the throes of a migraine, functioning normally just isn't an option. And that is assuming that all of your other faculties are working properly.
15% of migraine sufferers experience what is called migraine with aura. Typically, a migraine with aura is preceded by some form of visual impairment, albeit temporary, which is a very real and sometimes frightening part of the experience.
Changes in the brain's cortex cause changes in sight such as spots, sparkles or zig zag lines. Some people also experience dizziness or vertigo while in the aura stage of their migraine.
The good news is, the aura typically only lasts for 5 to 30 minutes and usually precedes the onset of the headache. Acting as an early warning system, the aura gives the migraine sufferer a chance to take action to either prevent or minimize the ensuing headache, an option not always available to those who experience more subtle warnings. Simple relaxation techniques might be enough for some, but only you and your doctor can determine what method of treatment and prevention is best for your unique migraine symptoms and triggers.
Like migraines without aura, you want to determine your own triggers since they're unique to everyone. The Migraine Trust suggests keeping a diary to determine what behaviors and conditions are most common before the onset of your migraines. The following is a list of possible triggers. By tracking your behavior regularly, you will see patterns which allow you to make positive behavioral and lifestyle changes which can minimize the frequency of your migraines.
Your migraine diary might include:
- how much sleep you get
- what activities you engage in
- environmental factors like wind, flickering fluorescent lights, loud noises
- what food you ate
- when you ate
- water consumption
- how much exercise you get
- your emotional state (for women) your menstrual cycle
- headache, its severity and symptoms
- changes in your lifestyle
- weather conditions
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but gives you a starting point to determine your own unique set of migraine triggers.
If you have any other questions...