Migraine headaches can cause many problems. While having the headache many suffer nausea and vomiting. Sound and movement increase the intensity of the pain. On top of that, there are complications that can make matters worse.
Rebound Headaches: This can happen with any headache but it seems to affect migraine sufferers the most. It comes from taking too many pain relievers in too short a time span. The risk factors are taking pain medication every day or nearly every day, taking pain medications with caffeine or butalbitol and a previous history of rebound headaches.
Doctors suggest that the best way to get rid of a rebound headache is to avoid taking pain relievers for them. There are other medications that can help stop the migraines. They admit that the pain may be “frustrating,” but the alternative is more pain.
Serotonin Syndrome: This is something most people haven’t heard of, but it is a danger to anyone taking medications that increase serotonin output in the brain. Migraine medications that use triptans can cause this problem when paired with medications used to treat other problems like depression or anxiety disorder.
Symptoms are agitation or restlessness, diarrhea, fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, hallucinations, increased body temperature, loss of coordination, nausea, overactive reflexes, rapid changes in blood pressure and vomiting.
This can be a deadly complication. It can occur within minutes of taking the medications or hours later. Even when it isn’t deadly it can do lasting harm to muscles. Immediate care is needed. With proper care it usually takes 24 hours for the symptoms to subside.
Strokes: The fact that there is a relationship between migraine headaches and strokes is known. The reason why there is a connection is still being investigated. Strokes can happen at any time. They are associated most often with migraines that start with an aura. They are also more common in women, smokers and those on birth control pills.
50% of those who suffer from reversible cerebral vaso-constriction syndrome (RCV) are those who have migraines. Hemorrhagic strokes aren’t associated with migraines, but ischemic strokes are. The scary part is that these strokes are most often in women younger than age 45. Those with migraines are also more than 16 times more likely to have a “silent” stroke.
Some of these complications can be mitigated. Watching medication use and avoiding smoking are two. If you have migraines, talk to your doctor about whether or not you are at risk for a stroke. It could save your life.