When someone you love is suffering from a migraine, you want to do anything you can to help ease their pain. It can be hard to know exactly what to do though if you have never experienced a migraine yourself. To get inside their mind during a migraine, imagine this:
You wake up one morning with an unusually high amount of energy, an overly happy feeling, craving sweets or overly irritable without reason. This prodrome or premonition is a forewarning sign that your migraine is coming. The following day, you may begin to experience an aura, which can include seeing flashing lights, impaired vision or a tingling in your extremities. The aura is another warning, this time that your migraine is less than 30 minutes away. Finally, the headache will begin. Unlike a typical headache, a migraine brings throbbing pain that can make even the most mundane tasks impossible. Your body will become extremely sensitive to light, sound and smell. Taking something over-the-counter, such as an aspirin and waiting for it to kick in is not an option. The migraine pain can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
While the specific symptoms and experience of each person vary, the above is a general sense of what your loved one is experiencing each time they have a migraine. It is no ordinary headache. Migraines are a very painful and debilitating neurological condition that more than 30 million Americans experience.
The exact neurological cause of migraines is unknown at this point but researchers have discovered a number of triggers that can cause a migraine to begin. Avoiding these triggers can potentially avoid a future migraine.
Common triggers include hormonal changes, stress and anxiety, sleep disruptions, certain foods and weather changes.
Many people suffering from migraines also suffer from depression due to this condition. If that occurs, it can quickly escalate to impact not just the migraine sufferers but his or her loved ones as well. Friends and family, not just the individual, must learn how to cope with the effects of migraines.
One of the most important things you can do for your loved one who is experiencing a migraine is to encourage them to seek medical treatment. It is not uncommon for patients to go through multiple treatments and medications before finding one that ones. Therefore, encourage them to go see his or her doctor even if previous treatments have not been successful. There may even be new options that were not previously available. If they are unhappy with their current physician, help them seek out a new neurologist, perhaps one that specializes in migraines.
You should also understand that even medication cannot entirely prevent migraines, they do still occur. To help minimize stress associated with migraines, work with your loved one to prevent them. Help them keep a migraine diary to identify and then avoid any known migraine triggers. Perhaps you will notice a trigger that your loved one had not noticed yet. Another great way to help is to get active with your loved one. Research has shown that aerobics can lessen the risk of migraines.
Educating yourself on what your friend or family member is experiencing will help you understand their pain and know how to best help them cope with it.