Integrated Neurology Services

Neurology & Sleep Specialists Located in Northern Virginia, Alexandria, VA, Old Alexandria, VA, Lorton, VA, & Falls Church, VA

Migraines cause pulsing head pain and a host of other disabling symptoms in about 10% of the population worldwide. The board-certified neurologists at Integrated Neurology Services offer advanced migraine therapies at their Northern Virginia locations in Alexandria, Falls Church, and Lorton, also serving the Vienna, VA, community. Call your nearest office or book an appointment online today to find lasting relief from migraines.

Migraine Q & A

What is a migraine?

People often refer to a migraine as a headache, but it’s actually much more disruptive. Migraines cause severe, throbbing head pain that usually occurs with nausea, vomiting, and heightened sensitivity to light and sound. These symptoms can last up to three days if left untreated and may be severe enough to interfere with daily activities. 

What are common migraine symptoms?

Migraines differ from tension headaches in many ways. While a tension headache usually causes pain on both sides of the head, a migraine is more severe and often only affects one side. Other common symptoms of a migraine include:

  • Pulsating or throbbing head pain
  • Pain that worsens with activity
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Extreme sensitivity to light and sound

Some people go through different stages of migraine symptoms, called the prodrome, aura, attack, and post-drome phases. These phases may include a variety of other symptoms, such as mood changes, uncontrollable jerking movements, and visual disturbances.

What causes a migraine?

More research is needed to understand what causes some people to get migraines, but genetics may play a role. Migraine attacks may result from particular triggers, including:

  • Stress
  • Sleep changes
  • Low blood sugar
  • Certain drinks, like alcohol and caffeinated beverages
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Certain foods, including food additives
  • Changes in weather
  • Certain medications, including hormonal contraceptives
  • Sensory stimuli, including bright lights and loud sounds

Each person has unique migraine triggers. Avoiding known triggers may help prevent migraine attacks. 

How are migraines diagnosed?

First, your Integrated Neurology Services provider reviews your symptoms and medical history and performs a physical and neurological exam. They may take tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI can help rule out other conditions that may be causing your head pain, such as a brain tumor. 

How are migraines treated?

There are two main types of migraine medications: prevention and rescue medications. Rescue medications relieve pain when you take them at the first sign of a migraine. If you have frequent migraines, your provider may recommend a preventive medication.

If medication management doesn't work for you, the team at Integrated Neurology Services may recommend a more advanced migraine therapy, such as:

  • Botox® injections
  • Nerve blocks
  • Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitor injections

For personalized treatment of migraines, call Integrated Neurology Services, or book an appointment online today. 


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