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Your Healthy Family: When to seek treatment for a migraine

Posted at 9:20 AM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 11:20:08-04

CHICAGO, IL — About 40 million Americans get migraines. June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Doctors are sharing how you can get help.

It's a disorder that causes headache attacks. People who suffer from migraines have recurrent headaches that can last 4-72 hours. The throbbing or pulsating pain is usually one-sided, and can be moderate to severe, and can disrupt every day life.

"You shouldn't have to suffer," Tom Dabertin, the Executive Director and CEO of the National Headache Foundation, said.

He said many migraine sufferers may be hesitant to see a doctor, but primary care providers can help get you on the path to treat or prevent attacks.

"Migraine can be brought on by a lot of different triggers. It can be light sensitivity. It can be dietary. It can be just a change in your regular schedule," Dabertin said.

He said keeping a log of the food you have eaten before a migraine attack, and then removing those foods from your diet may help identify possible dietary triggers.

He also said keeping a headache diary can also give you an idea of what may provoke an attack. It could also help your doctor determine which treatment is right for you.

"Be prepared when you go into see the doctor. Talk about the symptoms. Document what's going on because that doctor or that practitioner is only as good as the information that you provide them," Dabertin said.

If your migraine causes prolonged loss of vision, unconsciousness or uncontrollable vomiting, or if the pain gives you unusual symptoms and lasts more than 72-hours without relief, the National Headache Foundation said to seek your doctor's care or go to an emergency department immediately.