Understanding When Your Migraines Require a Visit to the Doctor

migraines First Med Marin, Dr. Barry Landfield Greenbrae, California,

Nearly five million people in the United States suffer at least one migraine per month and 91% of migraine sufferers are incapacitated by the attacks. If you rank among those who are routinely affected by migraines, or you suspect you may be developing a problem with this type of head pain, there is good news: There are steps we can take to minimize their impact and improve your quality of life.

At First Med Marin, Dr. Barry Landfield and our team are well-versed in migraine care, and we help our patients in Greenbrae, California, take back control of their lives.

To get you started, here’s a look at what migraines are and why a visit to us is essential to help you find the relief you need.

Migraines 101

Migraines are classified as a neurological disorder, and they affect people in many different ways. Some people only suffer an occasional migraine, while chronic sufferers are plagued by this head pain 15 or more times a month.

Migraines attacks can range in severity from a few hours of throbbing head pain to several days of misery, confining you to a dark bedroom.

Migraines can have four stages:


The period before a migraine strikes when you may feel moody, tired, and thirsty. You may also experience constipation, a stiffness in your neck, and you may yawn frequently.


While most people don’t experience this stage, it’s characterized by visual disturbances right before a migraine attack.


The period of moderate-to-severe head pain, which is usually a throbbing sensation on one side of your head, though it can affect both sides. This may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.


The stage after your migraine attack, which may leave you fatigued, confused, and moody.

The reason why migraines are so tricky to pin down is that some people experience all of these stages, while others may only experience an attack, without symptoms before or after.

When to seek medical help

Migraines are a complex condition because of the variety of ways they affect people. While some people only experience one or two stages that pass quickly, others are afflicted by all four stages, rendering them incapacitated for days.

Wherever you fall on this spectrum, we feel that any head pain that causes you suffering is worth having us take a look. Our goal is twofold: 1) to eliminate your immediate pain, and 2) prevent migraines from recurring.

If you’re in the midst of a migraine episode, or you suspect one is coming on, we want you to come in as soon as possible so that we can shorten the attack and prescribe medications to help make you more comfortable, including:

Once we’ve got your migraine under control, we set to work to find a longer-term solution that helps you avoid the onset of migraine attacks in the first place. To arm you with the best possible tools, we typically recommend a multipronged approach that includes:

Another way to proactively treat migraines is through the use of BOTOX®, which has proven to prevent up to 8-9 headaches a month in chronic sufferers. This injectable neurotoxin works by blocking nerve signals, and all it takes is one treatment session with us every 12 weeks to keep migraines at bay.

The bottom line is that we work with you until migraines are no longer controlling your life and you find relief. To get started, please give us a call or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.

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