Migraine headaches are a widespread, well-known condition. Research suggests that they are the most common of all primary headache types. However, they are a type of pain that can severely impact a person’s overall quality of life. Women appear to be at three times the risk of migraine headaches compared to men. For many female patients, the onset of migraine pain may be related to the stages of their menstrual cycle. Read on to learn the common symptoms and causes of migraines, along with treatments that work.
Migraine headaches are considered a primary neurological condition. They occur in regular episodes throughout the year that may involve: Extremely severe pain perceived as coming from within the skull Sensations of throbbing on one side of the head Nausea or vomiting Strong sensitivity to external environmental factors such as sound, light, or smells These symptoms may last anywhere from a number of hours to a number of days. Migraines are regarded as a primary condition in their own right, i.e. not occurring as a symptom of another disorder. However, some symptoms associated with migraine may in fact be signs of serious neurological events. In rare cases, they may indicate the presence of a brain tumor, aneurysm, or meningitis. If these conditions are suspected, one should seek immediate medical assistance. Signs of a serious event may include: Sudden-onset severe headache pain, especially if such pain is normally unusual for the person in question Aura symptoms, especially if this is not normally experienced Neurological events such as emotional or behavioral abnormalities, sudden falls, loss of balance, dizziness, speech disturbances, confusion, numbness, or tingling Seizure Headache pain severe enough to cause waking from sleep Passing or blacking out Stiffness in the neck Rash or fever accompanied by headache Severe pain that follows head trauma
Diagnosing Abdominal Pain
In all likelihood, after completing both an interview and a physical exam, your health care provider may feel confident that your symptoms of abdominal pain are not related to a serious underlying condition and will not need to perform any additional diagnostic tests. If this is the case, take any prescribed OTC stomach medications and rest, as needed. Abdominal Pain | PainDoctor.com However, your pain doctor or health care provider may order additional tests if they’re still not sure what’s causing your pain. These extra tests may include a(n): Blood test Urine test Electrocardiography (ECG) X-ray Ultrasound Computerized tomography (CT) scan Endoscopy It is generally recommended that patients closely monitor their symptoms of abdominal pain, as these symptoms may suggest that a more serious condition exists. Always be open and honest with your doctor. If you’re precise about the exact symptoms you’re experiencing, they can find a better diagnosis, more quickly. When to seek medical attention for abdominal pain Always contact your physician or health care provider if you experience abdominal pain along with any of these symptoms: Fever Unremitting vomiting lasting more than a few days Constipation lasting more than a few days, particularly if you are also experiencing vomiting Pain during urination Urinating infrequently Abdominal tenderness Injury sustained with the abdominal area Pain that lasts several days or more Individuals experiencing any of the following symptoms along with abdominal pain should seek medical help right away, as they may be suffering from a more serious condition requiring immediate medical attention: Vomiting blood Blood in stool Difficulty breathing You are pregnant or you might be pregnant
Individuals suffering from stomach pain that affects their daily life may wish to consult with their physician or health care provider to discuss treatment options. The goal of treatment in most instances of abdominal pain is to provide you with full or partial relief from your pain and discomfort. However, in cases where the underlying cause is known, the source of the pain may require more significant intervention. Thankfully, most cases of abdominal pain only require lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle treatments for stomach pain
Most instances of abdominal pain, however, are not severe or life threatening. The first line of treatment for these more mild episodes of abdominal pain includes more conservative, at-home interventions. Though many of these recommendations depend on the individual and the specific symptom presentation, some common examples of these recommendations are to:
Drink plenty of water or other clear fluids
Stay away from specific types of food (such as overly spicy, greasy, acidic, or fatty foods)
Take an over-the-counter (OTC) stomach pain medicine targeted to treat the pain
Treating Abdominal Pain | PainDoctor.com
Stomach pain medicine
Individuals wishing to take OTC pain reducers, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or other anti-inflammatory medications, to manage their symptoms of abdominal pain are urged to speak with their abdominal pain doctor first. In particular, acetaminophen (Tylenol) should only be considered in circumstances when it is known that the abdominal pain is not related to an underlying liver dysfunction, as taking acetaminophen may actually aggravate this condition.
If you’re suffering from abdominal pain from an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. The goal of this course of treatment is to provide the patient with relief from pain by treating the underlying condition.
Treatments for severe abdominal pain
Some episodes of abdominal pain are severe enough to cause a dramatic impact on the individual’s ability to function. For instance, some patients suffering from abdominal pain may be unable to work. These cases of abdominal pain are appropriate for a more significant intervention.
Of note, the celiac plexus block may be the most appropriate treatment for severe and chronic cases of abdominal pain, as it targets the celiac nerve bundle that transmits pain information from the abdomen to the spinal cord and the brain. A celiac plexus block is a non-surgical treatment option for managing chronic and severe abdominal pain. This block can inhibit dysfunctional pain signals traveling from the:
This treatment option works by inhibiting the transfer of information between these areas and the brain. It’s especially helpful for pain related to pancreatic cancer and malignancies of the stomach, gallbladder, liver, or large colon.
The celiac plexus block procedure itself is minimally-invasive and has very few side effects. Your stomach pain doctor or health care provider will tell you if your episode of abdominal pain is appropriate for this degree of intervention. They can also discuss any risk factors or questions you may have.
Further, in some cases, the underlying condition will require surgery. This is especially true if an infection is present, there is a disease involved, or damage has occurred to key organs in the stomach. Always work closely with your doctor and tell them about all of your symptoms so they can find the most appropriate treatment option for you.
Migraine headaches are a widespread burden to health and your overall quality of life. Migraine headaches occur in regular episodes, in which a patient experiences severe headache pain, vomiting, nausea, or sensitivity to light or sound. The exact biochemical cause of migraine headaches is not completely understood. While most symptoms are related to simple migraine episodes, atypical symptoms may indicate a medical condition that should be addressed without delay.
Symptom tracking and biofeedback training may help to manage your migraine episodes. Some patients also respond well to other treatments such as nerve blocks. A discussion with your physician or pain specialist may help you to arrive at the most effective treatment for your case of migraine headaches.