Migraines: When Should You Worry?

Migraine treatment in Great Neck, NY

Photo Courtesy of Ben White | Unsplash

Migraines are a type of headache that affect over 39 million people in the US, and 1 billion people worldwide. Migraines can be extremely debilitating in everyday life, to the point that you may begin to stress over what causes migraines, and the possibility of a stroke, bloodclot, or tumor. Thankfully, these are fairly uncommon issues linked to migraines; however, you should know when one needs urgent care, and how to treat migraines.

What Causes Migraines?

Even with years of research and numerous studies, scientists have yet to identify exactly what causes migraines. There are theories that certain conditions may cause migraines, including central nervous system disorders, chemical imbalances, genetic factors, and vascular irregularities, however they are inconclusive.

In other cases, migraines may be an underlying symptom of another serious condition, including traumatic injury, inflammation of blood vessels in the brain, infections, tumors, and cranial pressure. Tests can be run to rule out these conditions if you are diagnosed with chronic migraine.

Migraine Triggers

Identifying your own unique triggers and avoiding them can help decrease the frequency and intensity of migraines you experience. Some common triggers are:

  • Headache medication: overuse of over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Certain foods and drink: including those that have high caffeine, sulfites, MSG, and tyramine
  • Weather: changes in weather or altitude
  • Anxiety and stress: shifts in anxiety and stress levels
  • Hormones: changes in hormone levels including regular menstrual cycles, menopause, and taking hormone medications like birth control
  • Sleep: lack of sleep, too much sleep, and/or disrupted sleep patterns

Other than avoiding triggers, some people have used alternative therapies to decrease the frequency and severity of migraine including acupuncture, yoga, and exercise.

When to Worry

If over-the-counter medications do not help your symptoms and migraines begin to interrupt daily life, you should contact your health care specialist. 

You may also want to see your doctor if you have recurring migraines and notice your usual symptoms begin to change. This may include:

  • Migraines intensifying and becoming more severe over time
  • The onset of sudden, severe migraines (AKA thunderclap headaches)
  • Migraines accompanied by other symptoms including loss of vision, difficulty communicating, difficulty walking, and fainting
  • Migraines or headaches that recur after you’ve experienced an injury to the head

New Hope For Migraine Sufferers

Neurologist Dr. Ian Stein, MD of Neurological Specialists of LI says

This past year has seen a revolution in migraine treatments. With the advent of CGrP (calcitonin related gene peptide) blocking agents and other innovations like external catalogs nerve stimulators, we can offer treatments to those who have failed traditional migraine therapy. Even if you have been disappointed by prior treatments, there may be a new treatment that is right for you.

Your doctor may refer you to a neurologist to rule out conditions associated with chronic migraine. Dr. Ian Stein of Neurological Specialties of LI in Great Neck, NY welcomes new patients and can help identify your migraine triggers and provide effective treatment options. Throughout his experience, Dr. Stein has received numerous awards for his dedicated care, including recognition as the Best Neurologist on Long Island by the Long Island Press, recipient of the On-Time Physician Award, Compassionate Physician Award and Patients Choice Award from Vitals.com on multiple occasions. Call 516-487-4464 to schedule an appointment.

To learn more about preventative care and the integrative approach at HealthBridge Platinum Concierge in Great Neck, NY, call 516-627-4433 or send us a note. Concierge medicine in Long Island is within your reach!

Our primary care physicians in Great Neck, NY, have always offered therapies to improve health with a holistic approach. Alleviate your migraines with acupuncture, yoga, and exercise with private sessions today.


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