Migraines can cause severe throbbing pain or pulsing sensations in one or both sides of your head, and can be accompanied by a variety of debilitating symptoms. The pain you experience can sometimes affect your daily routine, especially when it comes to performing daily chores or work duties.
There are several methods which you can incorporate to effectively manage the usual symptoms of a migraine. However, if you are faced with an extremely debilitating migraine condition, consultation with a neurologist may be necessary. In that regard, here are five reasons why you should consult a neurologist for migraines.
When It Disrupts Your Daily Routine
You should see a neurologist the moment your migraine attacks start disrupting your daily routine. This includes slurred speech, vision loss, breathing difficulties, and mobility imbalances. A neurologist is able to provide you with proper diagnosis by analysing your medical history, but may also perform a thorough examination to rule out underlying diseases or medical conditions.
Some of the diagnostic tests which a neurologist may perform include computerised tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and lumbar puncture. Depending on the depth of information you share, performing one or a combination of these tests will allow the neurologist to rule out tumours, infections or blood-vessel irregularities, which are also factors that can directly affect your daily routine.
When Your Start Experiencing Seizures
It is important to note that migraines do not cause seizures, and vice versa. However, both conditions share common similarities when it comes to the symptoms that occur before their attacks. Not only that, individuals who suffer from migraines are at increased risk of suffering from seizures, and vice versa.
Seeking consultation with a neurologist can help you determine the underlying factors behind these occurrences, even if you suffer from rare cases such as migralepsy. Migralepsy is a condition in which a migraine is accompanied by an epileptic seizure. They are often misdiagnosed, as both conditions share similar symptoms, which include visual hallucinations, vomiting and convulsions, amongst others.
When Your Prescribed Medication Fails to Alleviate Pain
Effective migraine management usually involves taking medication prescribed by a physician. Depending on the symptoms an individual experiences, a physician may also recommend avoiding or restricting certain activities, particularly those that may trigger headaches and aggravate your sensitivity towards sound and light. Seeing as these activities naturally form part of our daily routine, a physician’s recommendations may be tough to follow, which in turn results in more frequent headaches.
To alleviate these symptoms, an individual could be tempted to take more than the recommended dosage. This would do nothing but worsen the symptoms experienced. In fact, failure to alleviate your migraine symptoms by taking medication can actually point towards signs of a more serious condition. Not only that, over-the-counter medication can also make your headaches worse if taken too frequently, and can also lead to stomach, kidney and liver damage. To prevent these long-term effects and relieve your pain the right way, consult a neurologist immediately. Be sure to also provide the neurologist with a list of all the vitamins or supplements that you consume regularly, including those taken in the past to treat your migraine attacks.
If You Have a Medical History of HIV/AIDS
Depending on the level of severity, an individual with a history of HIV/AIDS can suffer from a number of different neurological disorders. The most notable disorders associated with AIDS are different forms of neuropathy, or nerve pain, with each form being associated with a specific stage of active immunodeficiency disease. Peripheral neuropathy causes damage to the peripheral nerves, which encompasses the entire communications network which transmits information between the brain and spinal cord to every other part of your body. Similarly, HIV can cause damage to the nerve fibres which conduct signals, and can also cause several forms of neuropathy. Individuals who are in more advanced stages of the disease are more at risk of experiencing “chronic migraine”. This migraine is a rare condition in which an individual experiences migraine symptoms (with or without other headaches) for 15 days or more at a time.
An examination by a neurologist may be able to give you a thorough understanding of your body’s neurological functions. This includes motor and sensory skills, nerve function, hearing and speech, vision, coordination and balance, mental state, and behavioural or mood changes. Unfortunately, no form of treatment has been able to treat the neurological complications of HIV/AIDS. Additionally, neuropathic pain can also be difficult to manage, with a variety of medicines such as painkillers, anticonvulsants, opiates and certain antidepressants being the general prescriptions provided.
When Your Migraine is Caused by Meningitis
An inflammation and infection of the membranes (also known as meningitis) surrounding your brain and spinal cord can generally trigger a headache and other migraine symptoms, as well as neck stiffness and fevers.
Most cases of meningitis usually occur due to viral infection, but can sometimes be caused by a bacterial infection, which, if not promptly treated with antibiotics, can be life-threatening. To treat meningitis and its symptoms, a neurologist will interpret diagnostic tests such as lumbar puncture, and order for additional tests to determine if meningitis has damaged the brain and nervous system.
The key to ensuring that your migraines are managed effectively is to seek consultation immediately, especially when you notice something amiss. Most importantly, prepare yourself for the appointment by compiling all medical records, as it will help the neurologist obtain a thorough understanding of your condition. Also, do not hesitate to ask questions, as taking a hands-on approach to migraine management will benefit no one else but yourself.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.