Can a PCP Help With Migraines?
When a headache becomes more than just run-of-the-mill pain, it might be time to see a doctor to determine if you are suffering from migraines. Can a PCP (Primary Care Physician) help with migraines?
Migraines are recurrent, severe headaches that cause throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. Migraines can interfere with daily activities and don’t respond to typical headache relief, such as OTC (over the counter) pain medication. Many people with migraines can tell one is coming on because of a telltale sign that consistently comes before an attack, such as mood changes or visual disturbances.
About 1 in 10 adults suffer from migraine attacks. Migraines are more common in women and those with sleep or mood disorders. Migraines have a genetic component, but they can also be triggered by stress, hormones, lack of sleep or overstimulation of the nervous system. For some people migraines can be triggered by specific foods such as caffeine or artificial sweeteners.
Migraines are difficult to treat because they do not respond to pain medication in the same way traditional headaches do. Once a migraine begins, the only thing to do is wait for it to be over. Although many people cannot sleep while they have a migraine, laying down in a dark, cool room with your eyes closed can provide some relief. It’s best to avoid light and loud noises. Staying hydrated can also ease symptoms until the migraine attack is over. For some a migraine will be over in a matter of hours, while for others they can last up to 3 days.
No matter the type of migraine you get, or its cause, it’s important to visit your doctor for a medical exam to rule out more serious health conditions. A PCP can review your medical history, help you track your migraines to identify triggers and even prescribe medication to treat or prevent migraines. A PCP can also provide a referral to a neurologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating severe migraines. Depending on your migraine history, an MRI or CT scan may be necessary as well.
Although migraines are painful and debilitating, you don’t have to suffer through them alone. Talk to your Primary Care Provider about your migraine history so you can work together to create a treatment plan and rule out more serious conditions. At Westgate Family Physicians, our team of highly qualified doctors can provide examinations and counseling to help you create a proactive strategy to handle future migraines. Call (864) 574-0070 to schedule an appointment today.