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Advanced Institute

Complications of Untreated Migraines

April 30, 2021 | Migraine complications

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Migraines are one of the most prevalent neurological conditions, impacting 39 million American men, women, and children and 1 billion people worldwide. They cause intense, typically one-sided throbbing or pulsing sensations in the head and are often accompanied by a variety of other uncomfortable symptoms, including sensitivity to light and nausea or vomiting.

Unfortunately, many individuals living with migraines write them off as worse-than-usual headaches and don’t get the treatment they need. Without the proper treatments, migraines can develop into more serious health issues.

Dr. Neel Amin at Advanced Relief Institute knows how debilitating migraines are, and how much worse their impact on your health can be if you let them go untreated. Here are a few of the lesser-known complications of migraines and showing you how we can help you treat and manage your migraines.

Migraine complications

The International Headache Society developed a system called the ICHD-3, which classifies headaches, migraines, and their complications. Many of the complications of migraines are included in this system. Here’s a closer look at the most common ones.

Migrainous infarction

Infarction is another word for stroke, so this migraine complication is also referred to as a migrainous stroke. It occurs when the blood vessels in your brain narrow and cut off the oxygen supply. These types of migraines happen suddenly and always occur with an aura, which are unusual sensations and visual disturbances.

Women under 45 who smoke or take birth control pills are at the highest risk for this type of migraine complication.

Persistent aura without infarction

Many people who live with migraines also experience auras during their migraine attacks. But if you develop persistent aura without infarction, you might have aura symptoms that last for more than a week after your migraine, or have worse symptoms, including trouble breathing or numbness that lasts months, though this is rare.

Status migrainosus

Status migrainosus is Latin for a migraine that doesn’t go away. A typical migraine only lasts four to 72 hours. This migraine complication can last more than three days, and the intense, relentless pain and nausea may land you in the hospital.

Migraine-triggered seizure

In some cases, migraines have been known to trigger epileptic seizures. They usually occur during or shortly after a migraine with aura.

Other health complications

In addition to the pain, nausea, vomiting, and other health disturbances, living with migraines can lead to a number of physical and mental health complications, among them:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Vertigo
  • Sleeplessness

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has also linked migraines with an increased risk of bipolar disorders, panic disorder, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Complications from medication

Pain medication might seem like the best way to temper your migraines, but if your medications aren’t medically supervised or approved by an expert like Dr. Amin, you could be doing more harm than good.

For example, many migraine medications contain caffeine, which can actually worsen your migraines. A combination of pain relievers, acetaminophen, and sleeping pills can have a similar effect if you take them too often.

Taking too many over-the-counter and other anti-inflammatory medications for too long also causes stomach problems, such as ulcers, stomach pain, and bleeding.

Additionally, drugs called triptans are effective migraine relievers, but they can have an adverse reaction with your other prescriptions, especially antidepressants, raising your serotonin levels and resulting in complications like irritability, confusion, diarrhea, muscle twitches, and a racing heart.

Treating your migraines

The best way to avoid these complications is to get help for your migraines as soon as possible. Dr. Amin works closely with you to understand your unique situation. Depending on your needs, he recommends the following:

We also prescribe migraine medication if appropriate, and we help you properly manage them to make sure they work and help you avoid adverse side effects.

Don’t spend another day hoping your migraines will get better on their own. Request an appointment online or over the phone at our East Fort Lauderdale, Florida office to get started with migraine treatment today.