When a Headache is More than Just a Headache

The Chronicles of a Migraine

– By Kara Jacobs –

Serene Branson, a CBS correspondent experienced one of the worst nights of her life during her post Grammy on air report this last February.  On live TV she slurred her speech and garbled her language as many viewers watched in horror believing she was suffering from a stroke.  Later, the public found out that she was enduring a migraine, a common ailment that Americans undergo everyday.

Dr. James Faremouth, a physician with Millennium Physician Group’s Walk-In Medical Clinic in Port Charlotte, states that these symptoms can develop from the neuronal activity leading to pain and inflammation in which cause the headache and ultimately the slurred speech.  “These neurological symptoms are seizure like and are associated with complex migraines,” says Faremouth.

Garbled speech is not the only side effect that occurs with a migraine. “Blurred visions, photophobia, and nausea are other common symptoms of migraines,” he says.

It can sometimes be challenging for a person to distinguish between a headache and a migraine.  “Migraines come with photophobia clinical characteristics or sensitivity to light as well as auras,” says Faremouth. “It also depends on the time of the day when diagnosing a migraine.”  He feels that the symptoms will dictate if it is a migraine.  “It’s looking at the package deal with a migraine.  You have to look in the headache bag and see what comes with it.”

Migraine symptoms are only one part of the package, treating the migraine is a whole different story.  “It is time to see the doctor when it is the worst headache of your life and the headache stays for a long time,” says Faremouth. “Also if you are experiencing the neurological symptoms of slurred speech, blurred visions it is time to see a physician.”

If you are unable to make it to your primary physician a local Walk-in Medical Center is a good choice if you are experiencing “the worst headache of your life” according to Dr. Faremouth.  “They are certainly  good for migraines.  I tell my patients if you feel like you are going to die, then go to the Emergency Department, if not come into the Walk-in Medical Center.”

Dr. Faremouth not only will provide relief with a prescription for the pain but he also offers osteopathic manipulation.  “Osteopathic manipulation can help with migraines that are more in the neck,” he says.   Osteopathic manipulation is the process of applying manual pressure to relieve pain throughout the musculoskeletal system including soft tissues and joints outside the spine.

Dr. Faremouth is familiar with headaches at the Walk-in Medical Center.  “I see and treat everything, but headaches definitely are something I see often,” he says. “It can be hard to diagnose a headache in older patients because you have to be concerned that the headache is not an aneurism, bleed, or a stroke.”

If you are unable to make it into a Walk-in Medical Center, then you can try and treat your migraine at home.  “Take your medication if you have been diagnosed with migraine aphasia or chronic migraines,” he says. “It is essential to take the medication before the migraine becomes full blown.  If you have not been diagnosed then over the counter medication such as Tylenol or Advil are good choices to alleviate the pain as well as an anti-nausea medication that can help to block the nauseating feeling caused by the pain of the migraine.”

There are also simple at home treatments that can help with the migraine.  Dr Faremouth suggests lying down in a dark room with a cold compress.  “Caffeine can also help with a migraine, a glass of soda or a cup of coffee, as well as keeping hydrated can help to block migraine.”

Knowing what causes migraines can help prevent painful moments throughout your lifetime. “Certain triggers such as stress, anxiety, and smells can often trigger a migraine. It’s a good idea to stay away from fragrance departments at stores if you know a smell could trigger a migraine.”

Sometimes it is inevitable to suffer from migraines and your family genes may be to blame. “Most likely the reason for migraines is that they are hereditary,” says Faremouth.

Dr. Faremouth is available to treat patient suf-fering from acute headaches and migraines at the Millennium Physician Group Walk-in Medical Center in Port Charlotte.  For full details, visit www.MillenniumPhysician.org.

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