Migraines are severe, throbbing headaches, sometimes concentrated on only one side of the head or around one eye lasting between four and 72 hours. More than 3 million people per year suffer from them, so what do you need to do when one hits you?
Dr. Susan W. Broner is the Medical Director of the Manhattan Headache Center. Understanding the difference between a migraine and a headache is key. But understanding how to avoid them and get treatment is imperative.
How do you know the difference between a migraine and a headache?
There are many different types of headaches, including various forms of migraine, each which have clearly defined clinical criteria. For example, those diagnosed with "Chronic Migraine" may have 15 or more headache days each month, with headaches lasting four hours a day or longer, and at least eight of those headache days being associated with migraine.
If you are experiencing any headache symptoms, the first step is to discuss with a headache specialist. You can find a specialist in your area by visiting MyChronicMigraine.com. Once you receive an official diagnosis, an effective treatment plan can be put in place.
What are things (food, drugs, activities) to avoid to stop migraines?
While there is no known cause of migraines, there are certain things that can trigger them. Some common migraine triggers include:
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Anxiety and stress
- Changes in weather, including humidity, temperature and air pressure conditions
- Certain types of food, alcohol and missed meals
Triggers are different for each individual and may change over time. However, having a better understanding of your own personal triggers can reduce the likelihood of headache days you experience.
Susan W. Broner, M.D. is the Medical Director of the Manhattan Headache Center. During seven years she served as attending neurologist at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Broner has been selected for inclusion in 2014 New York Super Doctors, a recognition accorded to only five percent of New York physicians. In addition, Dr. Broner has been chosen for the 2014 Vitals Patients’ Choice Award, which honors doctors who provide excellent patient care. Dr. Broner is dual Board Certified in both Neurology and Headache Medicine.