Seeing a migraine specialist on Maple is easy
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a migraine specialist?
Our migraine specialist is a general practitioner who specializes in treating and preventing migraines and severe headaches. During your consultation, the specialist will evaluate your symptoms and provide strategies for relief.
What are the symptoms of a migraine?
Migraines can be a debilitating condition often characterized by pulsating headaches that can last from a few hours to several days. These headaches are often accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound.
When severe, migraines can affect your quality of life and lessen productivity at home and in the workplace. They’re often treatable with medications, lifestyle changes, or a combination of both. Some typical characteristics include:
- Pain on one side of the head
- Moderate to intense pulsating or throbbing pain that affects daily activity
- Severe headache with nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Attacks that last from 4 to 72 hours, sometimes longer
- Visual disturbances or aura (e.g. seeing black dots, wavy lines, flashes of light, and blind spots or disruptions in smell, taste, or touch) from 20 to 60 minutes before the onset of a headache.
When do migraine headaches typically occur?
Migraine headaches typically occur between the ages of 15 to 55, and are three times more common in women than in men. A family history is present in 70-80% of people who experience migraines. They may also occur more frequently in the winter or when you feel stressed. While there’s no known cure for migraines, medical and non-medical treatments can reduce how often they occur and their intensity.
What are the common triggers of a migraine?
Migraine attacks are often brought on by certain triggers. Common triggers include stress, weather changes, some food and beverages, and irregular schedules. Other triggers can include strong emotions, lack of sleep, dehydration, caffeine withdrawal, strong lights, loud noises, heat, humidity, changes in barometric pressure, poor air quality, a menstrual period, and intense exercise, among others. Tracking your triggers with a migraine diary can make it easier for a specialist to help you.
Are migraines genetic?
There’s evidence that shows that if individuals in your family experience migraines, you may have an increased likelihood of getting them as well. In other words, you may have a genetic predisposition. If there’s a family history, make sure to mention it to the migraine specialist.
How long can a migraine last?
Depending on the type of migraine, it can last anywhere from four to 72 hours and sometimes, even longer. Symptoms can include severe headache and nausea, light sensitivity, vomiting, sweating, and more.
Should I be taking medications to help manage my migraines?
You should discuss the frequency and severity of your migraines with a migraine specialist or general practitioner. In some cases, medication may be prescribed, but the doctor will need to review your history to determine if the medication might be right for you.
What are the most common medications for migraines?
You may receive a migraine prescription online with Maple. This will be based on your case and at the doctor’s discretion. Prescription migraine medication in Canada may include triptans such as sumatriptan (Imitrex). Triptans help to reduce overactive nerves in the brain caused by a migraine.
Anticonvulsants such as topiramate (Topimax) are also prescribed to treat and prevent migraines by restoring the normal balance of nerve activity.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as naprosyn (Naproxen) are another option that may be prescribed during your consultation. NSAIDS help to block inflammation that causes migraine pain.
What is the difference between a headache and a migraine?
A headache refers to pain in any area of your head, while a migraine is a neurological disease that comes with intense symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, pain on one side of the head (although sometimes it can be both sides), and throbbing or pulsating head pain.
Can I get a sick note for a migraine?
A doctor on Maple may write you a sick note for a migraine. This will depend on your case and will be at the doctor’s discretion.
What are the different types of migraines?
There are several types of migraines, all with a different combination of symptoms. They include:
- With an aura – an aura that appears up to 30 minutes before the onset of a migraine. The aura may include seeing black dots, flashes of light, wavy lines, and more.
- Without an aura – a migraine that doesn’t begin with an aura and has typical symptoms such as throbbing pain on one side of the head, nausea, vomiting, and light and sound sensitivity.
- Chronic – migraines that occur 15 days or more over a one-month period.
- Vestibular – a migraine combined with symptoms of vertigo including dizziness and imbalance.
- Abdominal – a migraine that mostly affects children and causes abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.
- Menstrual – migraines that occur just before or during a woman’s menstrual cycle.
- Retinal – a migraine that includes temporary vision loss in one eye due to a reduction of blood flow (narrowing blood vessels).
- A brainstem aura – a rare form of migraine that starts in the brainstem (bottom part of the brain) and has symptoms of vertigo (dizziness, ringing in the ears, imbalance, and more).
- Hemiplegic – a migraine with symptoms that resemble a stroke including weakness, vision loss, and trouble speaking.