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Migraine & Other Headaches

Migraine & Other Headaches

A headache such as a migraine can sometimes be so severe and prolonged that it warrants a trip to the emergency room. The board-certified emergency physicians at Mercy Emergency Room are highly experienced and can provide prompt effective care for unmanageable headaches and other illnesses.

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is a type of headache characterized by severe throbbing pain on one side of the head accompanied by secondary symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound or smell. Other symptoms may include lightheadedness and blurry vision. A migraine may be preceded by an aura, a neurological warning sign, which may occur 10 to 15 minutes before an attack. These include flashes of light, tingling sensations, or speech problems. Sometimes, you may have migraines without an aura. A migraine may last from a few hours to 3 days.

Causes of Migraine

The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but they are thought to be due to dilation and constriction of blood vessels as a result of abnormal nerve communication. It may have a genetic or environmental cause, triggered by missing meals, hormone changes during menstruation, use of birth control pills, stress, poor sleep habits, alcohol and high levels of caffeine, bright lights, loud sounds, unusual smells (paint thinner)and certain foods such as dairy, chocolate, and peanuts.

Diagnosis of Migraine

When you present to the emergency room with a severe headache, our physicians will review your symptoms and history of headaches or migraine, associated symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, your headache triggers, and previous treatments. This will help us determine the nature of your headache and plan appropriate treatment if you have migraine or any other type of headache. Blood tests and CT imaging may be ordered to rule out other possible reasons for your headache.

Treatment for Migraine

To manage severe pain and other symptoms medications are usually administered through the IV route. We may later prescribe medications to prevent migraine, to be taken regularly and abortive medications to be taken when a breakthrough migraine episode occurs. Symptoms can also be managed by certain medications for other purposes such as anti-nausea medication, blood pressure medications, anti-seizure medications, or antidepressants.

Migraine headaches are best managed using a preventive strategy. If you have a severe headache which is not well controlled on your current regimen do not hesitate to visit the ER. Mercy Emergency Room in Sugar Land, Texas is open 24/7 and is ready to address your concerns.