Yenching Julie Hung, a Board Certified Fellow Specialist in Oriental Reproductive Medicine, specializes in IVF/IUI Support, Infertility Treatment, Fertility Enhancement, Reproductive Health, Women’s Health, Migraine, Sciatica, and Pain Healing. Julie Hung, a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), provides Acupuncture therapy and oriental reproductive herbal medicine to help natural conception and boost IVF success rate in the Sunnyvale, San Jose, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Fremont, Cupertino, Los Altos, Campbell, San Mateo, Foster City, Portola Valley, San Ramon, Pleasanton, Los Gatos, and Silicon Valley San Francisco Bay area.
Migraine is a chronic disorder, the most common type of vascular headache that’s often severe. More than 29.5 million Americans suffer from migraine, with women being affected three times more often than men. Migraine is often misdiagnosed as sinus headache or tension-type headache.
A typical migraine attack produces some or all of these signs and symptoms:
• Moderate to severe pain — 60 percent of migraine sufferers feel pain on only one side of their head, while 40 percent experience pain on both sides
• Head pain with a pulsating or throbbing quality
• Pain that worsens with physical activity
• Moderate to intense pain affecting daily activities
• Attacks last 4 to 72 hours, sometimes longer
• Nausea with or without vomiting
• Sensitivity to light and sound
• Exertion such as climbing stairs makes headache worse
• Visual disturbances or aura
About 15 percent of patients have migraine headaches with auras, which were previously called classic migraines; while the rest 85 percent of people suffer from migraines without auras, which were previously called common migraines. The auras include:
• Sparkling flashes of light.
• Dazzling zigzag lines in your field of vision.
• Slowly spreading blind spots in the vision.
• Visual disturbances such as wavy lines, dots or flashing lights and blind spots.
• Tingling, pins-and-needles sensations in one arm or leg.
• Rarely, weakness or language and speech problems.
Whether or not having auras, the patients usually have one or more symptoms of premonition several hours or days before the headache actually strikes, including:
• Feelings of elation or intense energy
• Cravings for sweets
• Irritability or depression
Migraine Symptoms in Children
Migraines typically begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood, and may become less frequent and intense after growing older. Children as young as age 1 can have these headaches. In fact, an estimated 4 percent to 10 percent of children suffer from migraines.
The pain can be disabling and can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness and increased sensitivity to light. Migraine tends to occur on both sides of the head in children, and visual auras are rare. However, children often have premonition signs and symptoms, such as:
• Sleepiness or listlessness
• A craving for foods such as chocolate, hot dogs, sugary snacks, yogurt and bananas
Children may also have the signs and symptoms of migraine, but no head pain. These "abdominal migraines" can be especially difficult to diagnose.
For many years, aura was thought to be caused by the constriction of small arteries supplying specific areas of the brain. Now we know that aura is due to transient changes in the activity of specific nerve cells.
The pain of migraine occurs when excited brain cells trigger the trigeminal nerve to release chemicals that irritate and cause swelling of blood vessels on the surface of the brain. These swollen blood vessels send pain signals to the brainstem, an area of the brain that processes pain information.
• Hormonal changes. About 60 percent of women with migraine report headaches immediately before or during their periods. Others report more migraines during pregnancy or menopause. Hormonal medications may worsen migraine headaches.
• Foods. Common offenders include alcohol; aged cheeses; chocolate; fermented, pickled or marinated foods; aspartame; caffeine; monosodium glutamate; certain seasonings; and many canned and processed foods.
• Missing/delaying a meal or fasting also can trigger migraines.
• Stress at work or home also can instigate migraine headaches.
• Bright lights, sun glare, and fluorescent lights can produce head pain.
• Excessive noise.
• Unusual smells. Including pleasant scents and unpleasant odors.
• Physical factors. Intense physical exertion (including sexual activity) and sleep pattern change may provoke migraines.
• Changes in the environment. A change of weather, season, altitude level, barometric pressure, or time zone can prompt a migraine.
• Medications. Daily or near daily use of medications designed for relieving headache attacks. Certain medications that cause a swelling of the blood vessels can aggravate migraine headaches.
About 80 percent of people with migraines have a family history of migraine. Young women are the higher risk group of migraines.
The female migraine patients may find that their headaches worsen during menstruation. They may also change during pregnancy or menopause. If their migraine got affected during the pregnancy or menstruation periods, their headaches are likely to worsen if they take birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
The physical examination of a patient with migraine headache in between the attacks of migraine does not reveal any organic causes for the headaches. Tests such as the CT (computerized tomography) scan and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) are useful to confirm the lack of organic causes for the headaches.
There is currently no test to confirm the diagnosis of migraine.
• Avoid triggers. Try to avoid certain foods seem to have triggered your headaches in the past. If certain scents are a problem, try to avoid them also.
• Exercise regularly. Ask your doctor to choose aerobic exercises you enjoy, including walking, swimming and cycling. Warm up slowly, however, because sudden, intense exercise can cause headaches.
• Reduce the effects of estrogen. If you're a woman with migraines and estrogen seems to trigger or make your headaches worse, or if you have a family history of stroke or high blood pressure, you may want to avoid or reduce the amount of medications you take that contain estrogen. These medications include birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. Talk with your doctor about the best alternatives or dosages for you.
• Quit smoking. Smoking can trigger headaches or make headaches worse. Acupuncture is one of the fastest ways to help you quit the smoking.
• Keep a diary. Note when your headaches start, how long they last and what provides relief. Be sure to record your response to any headache medications you take. Pay special attention to foods you ate in the 24 hours preceding attacks, any unusual stress, and how you feel and what you're doing when headaches strike.
• Try muscle relaxation exercises. Progressive muscle relaxation, meditation and yoga.
• Get enough sleep, but don't oversleep.
• Rest and relax.
In the past few years, the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have released several statements to confirm that Acupuncture is an effective and efficient therapy for the pain relief, including the headache and migraine.
The researchers believe that the Beta-endorphins (the body's natural painkilling hormones) are released into the blood stream and spinal column by stimulating the specific acupoints with hair-like sterilized, disposal, stainless steel needles.
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