Status Migrainosus: What Is an Intractable Migraine?
Severe headaches that are characterized by throbbing pain and sensitivity to sound and light are called migraines. Intractable migraine with status migrainosus are prolonged migraine headaches that last for longer than 72 hours. This kind of migraine is very rare and affects only 1% of the population in any given area. It requires an immediate hospital visit as the pain becomes too difficult for the person to handle for such a long time.
It differs from non intractable migraine with status migrainosus, in which the patient experiences the pain for not more than 72 hours. This type of headache can be managed with the help of medicines.
What Are the Symptoms of Status Migrainosus?
Person getting migraine headache, Credits: Pixabay
The most distinguishing feature of status migrainosus is that the headache that a person feels refuses to go away for more than two days. All of its symptoms are prolonged. It is difficult to treat them with regular migraine medications.
You can experience the following symptoms:
An intense throbbing ache on either one or both sides of your head.
Nausea accompanied by vomiting
Sensitivity to light, noise, and sounds
Dizziness and fatigue
When finally the symptoms begin to subside, the person may experience a kind of migraine ‘hangover’. It again lasts for several days.
There is a very high possibility that the symptoms in this condition will get worse, requiring a visit to the hospital.
What Is Migraine without Aura?
Aura is a phase in the migraine where the person experiences vision changes. This vision change typically takes place in the form of unusual formations in the person’s line of vision. An intractable migraine with aura without status migrainosus is not as disturbing to a person’s functioning as the one with aura.
But intractable migraine without comes with various phases that are very distressing for the person. They are:
1. Premonitory Phase
Diagram showing mood swings in a person, Credits: Pixabay
This phase is experienced by the person hours or days before the migraine attack. It can be seen as a warning before the beginning of the headache. It can happen in both intractable migraine without aura and with aura. The person may feel the following symptoms:
Irregular bowel movements
Stiffness of neck muscles
Increase frequency of urination
Sensitivity to light and sound
2. Headache Phase
Person experiencing headache, Credits: Pixabay
The pain of this migraine ranges from being moderate to severe. It becomes severe when it is left untreated. Common characteristics of the headache phase are:
Head pain lasting from 4-72 hours
Moderate to severe intensity of pain
A constant throbbing pain
Headache that worsens with physical exertion
Nausea followed by vomiting
Light and sound sensitivity
3. Postdrome Phase
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This is the hangover phase that patients experience after the headache. It may take patients a while to recover. They may complain about feeling like a zombie. Its symptoms include:
Feeling low or depressed
Inability to concentrate
Treatment of Status Migrainosus
Person getting migraine treatment, Credits: Pixabay
Treatment plans for these kinds of migraine attacks include the following:
Acute medication that is administered at the beginning of a migraine attack
Medications to prevent and reduce the occurrence of headache attacks
Preventive treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and biofeedback
Examining mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, obesity , etc.
Migraine attacks can affect anybody. Leaving it undiagnosed and untreated will only make your symptoms worse. Reach out to a doctor if you are not able to manage the pain.