Migraine headaches are a fairly common but often debilitating condition that is estimated to affect millions of people worldwide. Migraines are most commonly described as extremely intense headaches that start as a dull ache that increases in intensity into a throbbing, pounding pain that is often accompanied by fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. However, according to most experts, these symptoms must occur at least five times before they can be considered a migraine.
The consensus breaks migraines into three broad categories, low-frequency episodic migraine, high-frequency episodic migraine, and chronic migraine. Low-frequency episodic migraines are usually considered anything lower than ten symptom days per month, while high-frequency episodic migraines are typically between 10 and 14 days a month. Those suffering from Chronic migraines must have had more days with a migraine in the last three months than without, meaning more than 15 symptom days per month. What’s worse is migraines are usually a progressive condition, with around 2.5% episodic migraine patients transitioning to a chronic case every year.
While it’s not entirely known what causes headaches and especially migraines, we do know several risk factors. Stress and anxiety are often factors in not only causing migraines but also making them much more severe.
However, that doesn’t mean migraines only happen when you’re stressed; in fact, it’s well documented for them to happen on the weekend or even on vacation. Doctors also think erratic eating and sleeping can contribute to your risk. They’re also much more common in women than men, but there is no significant difference among children along.
Ultimately while developing true chronic migraines is unlikely for the vast majority of people, even low-frequency episodic migraines can often drastically alter your quality of life. That’s why understanding and exploring all your treatment options is such an important step.