Atypical Migraine Diagnosis and Treatment

Atypical migraine is the type of migraine that has the distinction of causing confusion. It is used as a general term for the types of migraine that exhibit symptoms that do not fit into the profile of a normal migraine. In common migraine cases, a headache is present and the symptoms that go with it are not that difficult to identify. However, in atypical migraine, some unusual symptoms might be present and headaches might not even occur.

An atypical migraine is sometimes referred to as common migraine or migraine without aura. Attacks occur without the appearance of the visual disturbances that accompany other migraine types. The symptoms also do not adhere to the usual pattern indicated by a typical migraine attack. A headache may or may not occur and it is possible for the sufferer to experience pain in other areas of the body other than the head. This feature alone of atypical migraine makes it very tricky to diagnose and it is also because of this characteristic that misdiagnosis will be highly probable. Although its cause is not clearly established, it is believed that spasms in brain arteries result in an attack, triggered by insufficient sleep, bright lights, weather changes and motion sickness. It is believed to be a genetic disorder; hence, when one member of the family has it, it is highly likely that others will have it too. The symptoms that appear during an attack include facial pain and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, photosensitivity, weakness on one side of the body and skin pallor. Headaches, when they do occur, are experienced on both sides of the head instead of the single-sided headaches most migraineurs experience.

Because symptoms for atypical migraine are difficult to categorize, diagnosis will likewise be as tricky. For this reason, physicians will have to order different physical tests to rule out other suspected medical conditions. A very useful piece of information for diagnosis is the medical history of the patient, together with the medical histories of the other members of the family. A thorough analysis of these records will reveal a pattern that will help the doctor in his assessment.

During an attack, ibuprofen and aspirin are used for treatment, if it is mild or moderate in intensity. Other medications include drugs classified as alpha-adrenergic blocking agents, which target the blood vessels in the brain. Depending on the symptoms that arise, medication for abdominal pain may also be prescribed. Similar to the more common migraines, deep breathing while lying down in a dark and quiet room during an attack will help bring relief. Preventive, non-medicinal treatments include yoga, avoiding triggers, exercising and getting adequate sleep.

Due to the nature of the disease, an atypical migraine sufferer might spend more time and effort in finding the treatment that works for him. Achieving this means that the patient must take a very active role in the partnership between himself and his physician. While the physician can be relied upon to recommend the best treatment, the patient can also be trusted to provide honest information about his atypical migraine.

Source by Lisa Harper

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