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Atypical Migraine: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Updated: Jul 1


A Woman Experiencing Atypical Migraine.

Migraines can be more than just severe headaches. For some people, they can cause a whole different set of symptoms, which are called atypical migraines. This guide takes a deep dive into these unique symptoms, what might cause them, and how they can be treated. It’s meant to help anyone dealing with this type of migraine and the people who care about them.


What is an Atypical Migraine?

Atypical migraines, also called complex or complicated migraines, aren’t like your typical migraines. They don’t follow the usual pattern of migraine attacks. Unlike typical migraines, which usually have really bad headaches, nausea, light sensitivity, and aura, atypical migraines can show up with all kinds of weird symptoms that can be mistaken for other conditions. This makes atypical migraines a bit tricky to diagnose and treat.


Types of Atypical Migraines

There are several types of atypical migraines, each with its own set of unique symptoms:


Basilar Migraine

Basilar migraine, also called migraine with brainstem aura, mostly affects the brainstem. This type of migraine can cause some serious symptoms like vertigo, double vision, slurred speech, and coordination difficulties. These symptoms can be really scary because they can look a lot like a stroke.


Hemiplegic Migraine

Hemiplegic migraine is a rare and serious type of migraine that causes temporary paralysis or weakness on one side of the body, which can look like a stroke. This paralysis can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.


Retinal Migraine

Retinal migraine, also known as ocular migraine, is a type of migraine that causes sudden vision loss or disturbances in one eye. This vision loss or disturbances, such as flashing lights or blind spots, can last for less than an hour and usually go away on their own. The vision changes can be scary and disrupt daily activities, but they are fully reversible. Retinal migraine is a rare type of migraine and can be alarming, so it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary.


Vestibular Migraine

Vestibular migraine is a type of migraine that is associated with dizziness and balance issues. People who have vestibular migraines may experience vertigo, unsteadiness, and sensitivity to motion. These symptoms can last from a few minutes to several hours and may be triggered by movement, such as turning the head quickly or riding in a car. Vestibular migraines can have a big impact on daily life, making it difficult to walk or drive. The symptoms can be scary and may make it hard to do everyday activities.


Symptoms of Atypical Migraine


Common Symptoms

Atypical migraines can cause a variety of symptoms that can be different from person to person. These symptoms can sometimes be mistaken for other medical conditions, which can make it difficult to diagnose. Common symptoms of atypical migraines include:


  • Headache: The pain can range from mild to severe and may not always be present. In some cases, the headache might be dull and persistent, while in other cases, it could be sharp and throbbing. The pain may be felt on one side of the head, or it may spread across the entire head.

  • Visual Disturbances: This can include blurring, blind spots, or seeing flashing lights. Some individuals might experience temporary vision loss in one eye, while others might see zigzag patterns or colored spots. These visual changes can make it difficult to perform daily tasks, such as reading or driving.

  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or experiencing vertigo. Dizziness can make it challenging to maintain balance and coordination. In severe cases, it can lead to falls and injuries, especially in older adults. Dizziness can be a significant source of discomfort and can make it difficult to perform daily tasks. It can also be a safety risk, as it can increase the risk of falls and injuries.

  • Numbness and Tingling: These sensations can occur in various parts of the body, often starting in the fingers and toes and spreading to other areas. This can lead to a "pins and needles" sensation, which can be uncomfortable and distracting. The numbness and tingling can make it difficult to use your hands and feet, and it can be a really strange and uncomfortable feeling.

  • Speech Difficulties: Trouble speaking or finding the right words. This can manifest as slurred speech, difficulty forming coherent sentences, or the inability to recall specific words. These symptoms can be particularly distressing and may mimic the signs of a stroke. The speech difficulties can make it hard to communicate and express yourself, which can be really frustrating and concerning.

  • Weakness: Temporary weakness, particularly on one side of the body. This weakness can affect the arms, legs, or face, making it difficult to perform routine tasks. The weakness typically resolves within a few hours but can sometimes last longer. The weakness can make it hard to move or use your body normally, which can be really scary, especially if it comes on suddenly.


Aura Without Headache

In some cases, individuals may experience migraine aura without the headache phase. This can involve visual, sensory, or speech disturbances without the typical migraine pain. Aura symptoms can include flickering lights, lines, or spots in the vision. They usually appear about 20-60 minutes before the other symptoms start. Experiencing an aura without a headache can be confusing and concerning, as it might be mistaken for other neurological conditions. This type of migraine can be difficult to recognize and diagnose, as it does not follow the typical pattern of migraine headaches.


Sensory Changes

Atypical migraines can cause heightened sensitivity to light, sound, and smells. This heightened sensory perception can lead to discomfort and avoidance of certain environments. For example, bright lights or loud noises might trigger or worsen migraine symptoms, leading individuals to seek dark, quiet places for relief. Sensory changes can also include heightened taste and touch sensitivity, which can affect eating habits and physical interactions. The heightened sensitivity can be really uncomfortable, and might make people want to avoid bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells. This can impact how people interact with their environment, like needing to find dark, quiet places for relief.


Digestive Issues

Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain can accompany atypical migraines, making it difficult to distinguish from gastrointestinal disorders. These digestive symptoms can be severe enough to cause dehydration and weight loss if not properly managed. Individuals might experience a loss of appetite or difficulty keeping food down during a migraine attack. Chronic digestive issues can also lead to secondary problems, such as nutritional deficiencies and fatigue. These digestive issues can be uncomfortable and can significantly impact daily life. They can make it difficult to eat and can lead to other health problems.


Causes of Atypical Migraines


Genetic Predisposition

Genetics plays an important role in the risk of experiencing atypical migraines. If you have a family history of migraines, you are more likely to experience these complex types of migraines. Studies have suggested that certain genetic mutations may contribute to the abnormal brain activity seen in people who suffer from migraines. These genetic factors can make some people more susceptible to these types of migraines.


Neurological Factors

Changes in brain function and structure can contribute to atypical migraines. There are certain areas of the brain that are responsible for pain perception, sensory processing, and motor control. If these areas aren't working right, they can cause the diverse range of symptoms that atypical migraine sufferers experience. Research suggests that atypical migraines involve disruptions in the communication pathways in the brain, which can lead to all the different symptoms people experience.


Hormonal Fluctuations

Hormonal changes, especially in women, can influence the occurrence of atypical migraines. Changes in estrogen levels during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause can trigger atypical migraines. Even taking hormonal contraceptives, like birth control pills, can affect migraine patterns and sometimes make symptoms worse. Hormones can really mess with people’s migraine patterns, making them more likely to have atypical migraines.


Environmental Triggers

Environmental factors, such as bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, and weather changes, can trigger atypical migraines. Identifying and avoiding these triggers is crucial for management. Changes in barometric pressure (like sudden changes in the weather) and exposure to certain chemicals or allergens can also provoke migraine attacks. By identifying these triggers, people with atypical migraines can avoid them and manage their symptoms better.


Stress and Emotional Factors

Stress, anxiety, and emotional disturbances are significant triggers for atypical migraines. Learning stress management techniques and seeking emotional support can help reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. Emotional stress can lead to changes in the brain that trigger migraine symptoms. Stress can be a huge trigger for atypical migraines. Learning how to manage stress and seeking emotional support can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.


Dietary Factors

Certain foods and beverages can provoke atypical migraines. Common dietary triggers include alcohol, caffeine, processed meats, aged cheeses, and artificial sweeteners. Keeping a food diary can help identify specific triggers. Additionally, irregular eating patterns and fasting can also contribute to migraine onset. Certain foods and drinks can trigger atypical migraines. Common triggers include alcohol, caffeine, processed meats, aged cheeses, and artificial sweeteners. Keeping a food diary can help you figure out which foods are your triggers. Eating irregularly or fasting can also contribute to migraine onset.


Sleep Disturbances

Irregular sleep patterns and lack of sleep can trigger atypical migraines. Ensuring consistent and adequate sleep is essential for migraine prevention. Both too much and too little sleep can disrupt the body's natural rhythms and trigger migraines. Disruptions in sleep patterns or lack of sleep can trigger atypical migraines. Making sure you get enough sleep on a regular basis is important to help prevent migraines. Both sleeping too much and sleeping too little can disrupt your body’s natural rhythms and trigger migraines.


Dehydration

Dehydration can cause migraines. Making sure you drink enough water throughout the day is important for preventing migraines caused by dehydration. Even mild dehydration can cause significant stress in the body, leading to headaches and other migraine symptoms. In other words, not drinking enough water can cause migraines. Making sure you drink enough water throughout the day can help prevent migraines caused by dehydration.


Medication Overuse

Overuse of pain medications can lead to rebound headaches, which can make migraine symptoms worse. It's important to use medications as prescribed and explore alternative pain management strategies. Using certain medications for a long time can change the way your brain perceives pain, making migraines more frequent and severe.


Underlying Health Conditions

Conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders can increase your risk of atypical migraines. Managing these health issues is crucial for reducing migraine frequency. Chronic health problems can create a situation in your body that makes it more likely for migraine triggers to set off a migraine.


Hormonal Contraceptives

Hormonal contraceptives, like birth control pills or patches, can influence migraine patterns in some people. If you're having more migraines while using hormonal birth control, it's important to talk with your healthcare provider about other birth control options. Changes in hormone levels caused by these contraceptives can make migraines more frequent and more severe.


Weather Changes

Changes in weather, like when the pressure in the atmosphere suddenly goes up or down, can trigger atypical migraines. Weather-related triggers can be hard to avoid, but you can be aware and prepared to deal with them. Seasonal changes, like the transition from winter to spring, and exposure to extreme weather, like a big storm, can trigger migraines in some people.


Who is at Risk for Atypical Migraines?


1. Genetic Predisposition

A person's genes can play a big role in whether or not they experience atypical migraines. If you have family members who have migraines, especially atypical ones, you may have a higher chance of having them, too. Genetics can influence how likely you are to get atypical migraines.


2. Gender and Hormonal Factors

Women are more likely to get migraines than men, and this is partly because of hormonal fluctuations. Hormonal changes that occur during a woman's menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause can make it more likely for women to get migraines, and can also make existing migraines worse. This is because these hormonal changes can trigger migraine episodes or make the symptoms worse.


3. Age-related Vulnerabilities

Migraines can affect people of all ages, but some age groups may be more likely to get atypical migraines than others. Teenagers and young adults are more likely to get atypical migraines than other age groups. This is partly because of the hormonal changes that happen during this time in life, as well as the different lifestyle factors that can contribute to migraines, like stress and lack of sleep. The prevalence of atypical migraines usually decreases with age.


4. Existing Migraine History

People who have had migraines before, whether they are typical or atypical, have a higher risk of getting atypical migraines. This is because if you have had migraines in the past, this may indicate that you have a predisposition to these unique migraine episodes. People who suffer from chronic migraines may notice a shift in their migraine patterns, leading to atypical presentations.


5. Underlying Health Conditions

Certain health conditions can make a person more likely to get atypical migraines. Cardiovascular issues, autoimmune disorders, and neurological conditions can make a person more susceptible to these unique migraine episodes. Conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure), lupus (a chronic autoimmune disease), and multiple sclerosis (a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord) can increase the frequency and severity of migraines. These health conditions can contribute to the development and progression of atypical migraines.


6. Hormonal Contraceptive Usage

Women who use hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills or patches, may have a higher risk of atypical migraines. It is important to understand how these contraceptives can affect the pattern of migraines so that you can make informed decisions about birth control. Some contraceptives can change hormone levels in ways that trigger or make migraines worse. If you have migraines and are considering using a hormonal contraceptive, you should talk to your doctor about your options.


7. Environmental Sensitivities

Some people are more sensitive to environmental factors like light, sound, or odors, and this can increase their risk of getting atypical migraines. It is important to identify and manage these sensitivities to prevent migraines. Environmental triggers like bright lights, loud noises, or strong smells can cause migraine episodes. If you are sensitive to these factors, you may be more likely to get migraines.


8. Stress-Prone Individuals

Psychological stress is a known trigger for migraines, and people who are prone to stress may have a higher risk of getting atypical migraines. Learning stress management techniques can help prevent migraines. Techniques like mindfulness, meditation, and regular physical activity can help reduce stress levels and prevent migraines. If you tend to get stressed easily, learning stress management techniques can help you reduce your risk of getting migraines.


9. Individuals with Sleep Disturbances

Irregular sleep patterns or not getting enough sleep can contribute to the risk of getting atypical migraines. Establishing healthy sleep habits is important for reducing the risk of getting these unique migraine episodes. Consistent sleep schedules and good sleep hygiene, like avoiding screens before bedtime, can help reduce the risk of migraines. If you have trouble sleeping or you don't get enough sleep, establishing healthy sleep habits can help reduce your risk of getting migraines.


10. Dehydration-Prone Individuals

People who are prone to dehydration may have a higher risk of getting migraines, including atypical migraines. Keeping yourself well hydrated is an important preventive measure for people who are vulnerable to these migraine episodes. Dehydration can lead to changes in blood volume and pressure, which can trigger migraines. If you tend to get dehydrated easily, it is important to drink enough water throughout the day to help prevent migraines.


11. Medication-Related Vulnerabilities

Some medications or changes in medication regimens may increase the risk of getting atypical migraines as a side effect. People who are undergoing medication changes should be vigilant for any changes in their migraine patterns and communicate these changes to their healthcare provider. Medications like hormone replacement therapy or certain blood pressure medications can affect the pattern of migraines. If you are undergoing medication changes, it is important to be aware of any changes in your migraines and to communicate these changes to your healthcare provider.


How is an Atypical Migraine Diagnosed?

Diagnosing an atypical migraine can be challenging because it does not always present with the classic migraine symptoms. This makes accurate diagnosis crucial for effective treatment. Here’s a detailed look at how atypical migraines are diagnosed:


1. Medical History Evaluation

The first step in finding out if someone has unusual migraines is to carefully look at their medical history. This includes:


  • Personal Medical History: The patient is asked about their headache including when it started, how long it lasts, how often it occurs, and what the headache feels like. The patient is also asked about any associated symptoms like nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, etc.

  • Family Medical History: Information about other family members with migraines or other neurological conditions helps the doctor understand if migraines run in your family. This is important because migraines can be genetic, so if your family members have them, you might be more likely to have them too.

  • Lifestyle Factors: Details about your diet, sleep patterns, stress levels, and any potential migraine triggers. This can include things like how much you sleep, whether you eat healthy foods or not, how much stress you have in your life, and any substances you use or foods you eat that might be causing your migraines.


2. Symptom Analysis

A detailed look at the symptoms is important to tell atypical migraines apart from other types of headaches or medical conditions. This includes:


  • Headache Characteristics: The doctor looks at the location of the pain, how intense it is, how long it lasts, and any accompanying symptoms like nausea or sensitivity to light. This helps the doctor determine if the headaches are consistent with migraine headaches or if they might be caused by something else.

  • Aura Symptoms: The doctor asks the patient if they experience any visual disturbances, sensory changes, or speech difficulties that may happen before or during the headache. These symptoms can include things like seeing flashes of light, smelling a strong odor, or having a hard time speaking clearly. This helps the doctor determine if the patient is experiencing a migraine with aura, which is one of the most common types of atypical migraines.

  • Additional Symptoms: Symptoms that are typical of specific types of atypical migraines, like vertigo (a feeling of dizziness), temporary paralysis (losing movement in part of your body), or visual disturbances (seeing things that aren't there). These symptoms can help your doctor determine which type of atypical migraine you might have.


3. Neurological Examination

A neurological examination checks how well the nervous system works and looks for any problems. This includes:


  • Reflex Testing: The doctor will gently tap on certain parts of your body to see how your muscles respond. This is called reflex testing. The doctor is checking to see if there are any unusual responses, which can help them figure out what might be causing your symptoms.

  • Coordination Tests: The doctor will perform some tests to evaluate your balance, coordination, and the way you walk. This is to see if you have any problems with these things, which could indicate a problem in the nervous system. The tests might include walking in a straight line or standing on one leg to see if you can balance.

  • Sensory Tests: Assessing the sense of touch, pain, temperature, and vibration. The doctor might touch certain areas of your skin with a small object, like a cotton swab or a pin, to see if you can feel it. The doctor might also use a small instrument to create a vibration, to see if you can feel it. These tests can help detect any problems with the nerves that might be causing your migraines.


4. Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic imaging tests may be required to rule out other conditions that can mimic atypical migraines. These tests can help your doctor see what is going on inside your body. Common imaging tests include:


  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI is a test that uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to create detailed images of the brain. An MRI can help detect abnormalities in the brain, such as tumors, strokes, or structural issues, that could be causing the patient's symptoms. This test is more sensitive than a CT scan and can provide more detailed images of the brain.

  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: A computed tomography (CT) scan is a test that uses X-rays to create detailed images of the brain. A CT scan can be used to identify bleeding, tumors, or other abnormalities in the brain that could be causing the patient's symptoms. This test is quick and easy to perform and can be useful for identifying these types of problems.


5. Electroencephalogram (EEG)

An EEG measures electrical activity in the brain and is helpful if the patient has seizures or other brain-related symptoms. It can detect unusual brain activity linked to atypical migraines. The EEG involves placing electrodes on the patient's head and measuring the electrical activity of the brain. This test can help provide more information about the patient's symptoms and can be used to rule out other conditions that could be causing their symptoms.


6. Blood Tests

Blood tests can help identify other health issues that might add to migraine symptoms. These tests can detect:


  • Infections: Blood tests can check for any ongoing infections that might cause or exacerbate migraine symptoms. These might include infections like the flu, a cold, or other infections that can make you feel sick and cause headaches.

  • Metabolic Disorders: Blood tests can also check for any imbalances or deficiencies in your body that might trigger migraines. These might include conditions like low blood sugar or a thyroid disorder. These conditions can cause headaches and other symptoms that can make you feel unwell.

  • Autoimmune Disorders: Blood tests can also check for autoimmune disorders that might cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to migraines. These disorders can cause your immune system to mistakenly attack your own body, leading to inflammation and other symptoms. These disorders include conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.


7. Symptom Diary

Keeping a symptom diary is a useful way to identify patterns and triggers of migraines. Patients are encouraged to record:


  • Migraine Onset: When did the migraine start? Record the date and time.

  • Symptoms: What symptoms did you experience during the migraine? Be sure to include all of the symptoms, such as pain, nausea, sensitivity to light or sound, etc.

  • Triggers: What were you doing or what were you exposed to just before the migraine started? Did you eat or drink anything? Were you under a lot of stress?

  • Duration and Intensity: How long the migraine lasted and the severity of the pain.


8. Allergy Testing

Allergy testing might be done to see if allergies are triggering your migraines. If you find out what you’re allergic to, it can help you manage and prevent future migraine episodes. Common allergy tests include skin tests (where they put a tiny amount of an allergen on your skin) and blood tests. This can be done with skin tests or blood tests to check for allergies.


9. Psychological Evaluation

Stress and mental health conditions can cause or worsen migraines. This is why a psychological evaluation may be recommended to find out if there are any underlying emotional or psychological factors that could be contributing to the migraines. The evaluation might include asking questions about the patient's stress levels, past experiences, and other mental health issues that might be contributing to the migraines. This can help the healthcare provider understand more about the patient's migraines and help them find the best way to treat them.


10. Consultation with Specialists

Sometimes, you might need to see specialists who are experts in certain areas to help diagnose your migraines. These specialists might include neurologists (who are experts in the brain and nervous system), allergists (who are experts in allergies), or endocrinologists (who are experts in hormones). These specialists can provide additional insights and advanced diagnostic testing to help identify the cause of your migraines.


How do I Treat an Atypical Migraine?


1. Medications


Pain Relievers:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) Medications: Over-the-counter (OTC) medications like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can help relieve the pain of mild to moderate headaches associated with atypical migraines. These are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can be bought without a prescription and can be taken as needed for headache pain. These medications can provide temporary relief, but if the migraines are severe or happen often, prescription medications may be needed to help control the symptoms.

  • Prescription Medications: If over-the-counter (OTC) medications don't work or only provide temporary relief, your healthcare provider may prescribe stronger pain relievers or combination drugs specifically for migraines. These prescription medications can provide more effective relief for severe or frequent migraines. The type of medication prescribed will depend on the type of migraines you are experiencing and your medical history. Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the best treatment option.


Anti-Nausea Drugs:

  • Ondansetron or Metoclopramide: Ondansetron or metoclopramide are medications that can help reduce nausea and vomiting that can happen with atypical migraines. These medications can help to improve the patient's comfort during migraine episodes. They can be taken as needed or on a regular basis depending on the severity of the migraines. These medications can be prescribed by a healthcare provider to help reduce the symptoms of migraines and make the patient feel better.


Triptans:

  • Sumatriptan, Rizatriptan, or Zolmitriptan: Sumatriptan, rizatriptan, or zolmitriptan are medications called "triptans" that target migraine symptoms specifically. They work by shrinking the blood vessels in the brain and blocking the pain pathways in the brain. These medications can be taken as soon as a migraine starts to help stop it from getting worse. They are only available with a prescription from a healthcare provider and can be very helpful for patients with frequent or severe migraines.


Preventive Medications:

  • Beta-Blockers: Medications like propranolol or metoprolol can help prevent migraines by reducing the frequency and severity of attacks. These medications work by lowering blood pressure and heart rate, which can help prevent the changes in blood vessels that can cause migraines. Beta-blockers are often used to treat high blood pressure and other heart conditions, but they can also be used to prevent migraines. They are usually taken daily, whether or not the patient is experiencing a migraine.

  • Antidepressants: Medications like tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed to manage chronic migraines. These medications work by balancing chemicals in the brain, which can help prevent migraines. They are often used to treat depression and anxiety, but they can also be used to prevent migraines. They are usually taken daily, whether or not the patient is experiencing a migraine.

  • Antiepileptic Drugs: Valproate and topiramate are medications that are used to prevent migraines, particularly in patients who have not responded to other treatments. These medications are also used to treat epilepsy, but can be helpful for migraines as well. They work by affecting the chemicals in the brain that can trigger migraines. They are typically taken on a daily basis to prevent migraines from happening. Valproate and topiramate are only available with a prescription from a healthcare provider.


2. Lifestyle Changes


Stress Management:

  • Relaxation Techniques: Practice relaxation methods such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, or meditation to reduce stress levels. These techniques can help you relax and reduce your stress levels, which can prevent migraines from occurring. They are simple to learn and can be practiced at home. Regular practice can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines over time.

  • Regular Exercise: Regular exercise can promote overall well-being and alleviate stress, which can help prevent migraine attacks. Exercise helps to release endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that make you feel good and can help reduce stress levels. Regular exercise can include activities like walking, jogging, swimming, or other aerobic activities. It’s important to find an exercise routine that works for you and to make it a regular part of your routine to see the best results.


Dietary Adjustments:

  • Identify Triggers: Identifying triggers can help prevent migraine attacks. You can keep a food diary to help you identify specific foods or drinks that may trigger your migraines. Common triggers include caffeine, alcohol, aged cheeses, processed foods, and other foods or drinks. If you notice that a certain food or drink tends to trigger your migraines, you can try to avoid that food or drink to help prevent migraines.

  • Hydration: Staying hydrated can help prevent dehydration-induced migraines. Dehydration can cause headaches and migraines, so it’s important to make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water each day to keep your body hydrated. You can also try drinking a sports drink or coconut water for an extra boost of hydration.


Sleep Hygiene:

  • Consistent Sleep Schedule: Maintain regular sleep patterns and create a conducive sleep environment to improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of migraines. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Avoid looking at screens (like phones or TVs) for at least an hour before bedtime. These habits can help improve sleep quality, which can help prevent migraines from occurring.

  • Avoid Sleep Disruptors: Limit screen time before bed, avoid caffeine late in the day, and establish a relaxing bedtime routine to improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of migraines. Screens like computers, TVs, and smartphones emit blue light, which can interfere with your sleep. Avoid using screens for at least an hour before bedtime. Avoid drinking caffeine late in the day, as it can keep you awake. Instead, try drinking herbal tea or warm milk to help you relax. A relaxing bedtime routine, such as taking a warm bath or reading a book, can also help you relax and prepare for sleep.


3. Alternative Therapies


Acupuncture:

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture may help alleviate migraine symptoms by stimulating specific points on the body to restore energy balance. Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. The goal of acupuncture is to stimulate the flow of energy, or "qi," through the body. This can help reduce pain and inflammation, which can help alleviate migraine symptoms. Acupuncture is considered a safe and effective treatment for migraines.


Biofeedback:

  • Mind-Body Technique: Biofeedback is a mind-body technique that teaches patients to control their physiological responses. It can help you learn how to relax your muscles and slow down your heart rate. This can potentially reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. During biofeedback, you will be connected to a device that gives you feedback on your physiological responses. This feedback can help you learn to control your body’s responses, which can help you feel more relaxed and less prone to migraines.


Herbal Supplements:

  • Butterbur or Feverfew: Certain herbal supplements, such as Butterbur or Feverfew, have shown promise in preventing migraines, though it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before using them. These herbal supplements can be helpful in preventing migraines, but they can also cause side effects, so it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before using them. They may be able to recommend a dosage that is safe for you and that will be effective in preventing migraines.


4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)


Psychological Therapy:

  • Addressing Triggers: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that can help individuals manage stress and psychological factors that may contribute to migraines. CBT helps you understand your thoughts and behaviors and how they affect your emotions and physical symptoms. You can then work with a therapist to develop coping strategies and new ways of thinking that can help you manage stress and psychological factors that may contribute to migraines. This can help you feel more in control and less likely to experience migraines.


5. Medical Procedures


Nerve Blocks:

  • Occipital Nerve Blocks: Injecting a local anesthetic or steroid around the occipital nerve may provide temporary relief from chronic migraines. The occipital nerve is a nerve in the back of the head that can be involved in migraine pain. By injecting a local anesthetic or steroid around the nerve, the pain of the migraine can be reduced. This treatment may provide temporary relief from migraines, but it is not a cure. It can provide relief for several weeks or months.


Botox Injections:

  • Botulinum Toxin Type A: Injections of Botox can be administered every 12 weeks to prevent headaches in adults with chronic migraines. Botox is a medicine that is injected into the muscles to prevent migraines. The injections are usually administered by a healthcare provider every 12 weeks. Botox can help to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider to see if Botox is right for you.


6. Combination Therapy


Multimodal Approach:

  • Tailored Treatment Plans: Tailored treatment plans can be very helpful for people with migraines. These plans involve combining different types of treatment based on what is best for the individual. For example, a patient may be prescribed medication to prevent migraines, and also be encouraged to make lifestyle changes like getting more sleep or eating a healthier diet. The patient may also be given alternative therapies like acupuncture or biofeedback to help manage stress and anxiety. By combining different treatments, the patient can find the best way to manage their migraines and improve their quality of life.


When to See a Doctor

If you are experiencing persistent or worsening migraine symptoms, or if your current treatment plan is not working, it is important to see a healthcare provider. They can evaluate your symptoms and help you find the best treatment for your migraines. A healthcare provider can also help you find ways to manage your migraines and improve your quality of life. If you have migraines, it is important to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible to get the help you need.


Are atypical migraines disrupting your life? Center One Medical is here to help you get your life back. Our team of doctors at Center One Medical specializes in diagnosing and managing all types of migraines, including atypical migraines. Contact us and schedule a consultation today. Let us help you find relief from your migraines so that you can live your life on your own terms. Don't let migraines control your life—contact Center One Medical and let us help you take back control.



FAQs


1. Are atypical migraines rare?

  • Atypical migraines are not super common, but they do happen. They’re not like a rare disease, but they do require some specialized knowledge and treatment. If you think you might have atypical migraines, it’s important to see a doctor who has experience with these types of migraines.

2. Can lifestyle changes really make a difference in managing atypical migraines?

  • Yes, making lifestyle changes can really help manage atypical migraines. You can identify things that trigger your migraines, like stress or certain foods, and then work to avoid those things. Making changes like these can help you have fewer migraines and have less intense migraines.

3. Is there a cure for atypical migraines?

  • There is no cure for atypical migraines, but there are many treatments and strategies that can help manage the symptoms. These treatments can include medications, lifestyle changes, and alternative therapies. The goal is to find a treatment plan that helps you manage your migraines and feel better overall. While there is no cure, there are ways to manage your migraines and feel better.

4. Do atypical migraines affect children, or are they exclusive to adults?

  • Atypical migraines can affect people of all ages, including children. Children can experience migraines just like adults, although the symptoms might be different. It’s important for parents to recognize the signs of migraines in children and work with their healthcare provider to manage them. If you think your child might be experiencing migraines, it’s important to talk to their healthcare provider.

5. How can family and friends support someone with atypical migraines?

  • If you know someone who suffers from atypical migraines, you can help them by understanding their condition and being supportive. This means being there for them when they are experiencing a migraine and being flexible with them when they need to cancel plans or reschedule things. It can also help to offer emotional support, which means being kind and understanding when they are having a migraine.

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