Migraine is a name given to a condition where you suffer from severe headaches. It is also accompanied with sings such as nausea, vomiting and added sensitivity to sound or light. A migraine can last from anywhere to two hours to well over seventy-two hours. Migraine usually affects just one side of your head.
Migraines are caused due to the enlargement of the blood vessels in the brain. During a migraine the temporal artery (the artery on your temple just under the skin) enlarges. When the temporal artery enlarges it causes a release of various chemicals that lead to inflammation and pain. The artery then further enlarges due to inflammation. Migraines have a lot to do with genetic factors; almost sixty-five percent of migraine cases are inherited. Strangely though pregnant women experience very less migraines.
According to various surveys as many as twelve percents Americans suffer from migraine. It usually affects people above the age of fifteen.
Migraine is of two types, these types are:
Migraine with Aura’s:
An aura is a relatively new term. An aura is like a warning that a migraine is about to happen. The warning could be of any type, in some cases the warning come early but in some cases they only appear once the migraine sets in. About twenty percent of migraines fall under this type. The signs or warning include seeing starts or lights in your vision. Ringing ears, distorted vision or temporary vision loss are also warnings.
Migraine without Aura:
Common migraines or migraines without auras don’t feel any warnings, eighty percent of migraines fall in this category.
Some of these factors or causes are listed below.
- Migraine can be caused due to some allergy.
- Loud music can also lead to a migraine.
- Intense light can cause a migraine.
- Extreme form of stress be it physical or emotional.
- Sudden change is sleep pattern.
- Exposure to excessive smoke.
- Skipping meals is also possible migraine trigger.
- Some foods are also associated with migraine they include chocolates, nuts, bananas and dairy products.
- Stress is also associated with causing migraine.
Some of the common symptoms of migraine that appear before or during a migraine are:
- Pain in one side of the head.
- Severe pain.
- A pain that increases if you perform physical activity.
- Blind spots.
- Needles in arms or legs.
- Stiffness in and around the neck area.
Other symptoms of migraine include:
- Sudden feeling of depression or excitement.
- Unable to get a good night’s sleep is also a possible sign of migraine.
- Continues runny nose and watery eyes are also signs of migraine.
- Craving of certain foods is also a sign of migraine.
- Pulsating pain if a very good sign that you have migraine.
- Pain in the eyes.
- If you have to urinate more than usual it may also be a sign of migraine.
- Constant yawning could also be a sign of a migraine.
- If you have trouble speaking or start stuttering it may be a sign of migraine.
Many of the common diagnostic techniques used to identify brain disorders like the CAT scan don’t work with migraine, so there are no specific tests to determine migraine. Instead, doctors diagnose migraines by merely looking for possible symptoms.
According to standard set by the International Headache society a migraine without aura can be detected keeping in mind the ‘5, 4, 3, 2, Criteria’. The 54321 criteria is listed below.
1. More than five attacks of headaches.
2. Duration ranging from anywhere between 4 hours to 72 hours.
3. Any two of these factors; Affecting only half the head, intensity that ranges from moderate to severe, headache caused due to skipping regular physical activity.
4. And lastly one of the following two; Nausea/Vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light or sound.
A migraine can’t be cured but with medication you can keep it in check: Medications used in this regard can be divided into two broad categories:
Pain relieving medicines: Paint relieving medicines are taken when the attack sets in. Pain relievers include Aspirin and anti-inflammation drugs.
Preventive Medicines: Preventive medicines are taken on a regular basis to avoid a migraine attack. Cardiovascular drugs, anti-depressants, Bot ox and anti-seizure drugs are used as preventive drugs.
Which option you go for depends totally on your condition, severity of your attack and the doctor’s advice.
A few home remedies are also helpful to control migraines, some of them include:
- Using lavender oil can help avoid migraine.
- Peppermint has also shown to help against migraine.
- Head massage is also a useful remedy and it is pretty simple you can do it by yourself.
- The use of buckwheat is also a proven home remedy against migraine.
Constant and untreated migraine may lead to stroke (very rare though).
As the saying goes prevention is the best form of cure. Preventing a migraine is always better than trying to get rid of the pain when the attack happens. Preventing methods include:
- Good sleep: A good sleep always helps in fighting off migraine; a regular sleeping pattern is always helpful.
- Get rid of stress: Stress is also one of the main reasons of migraine, getting rid of stress can help you avoid migraine.
- Drinking Water: Drink a lot of water and always keep your body hydrated.
- Exercise: Regular exercise also helps against migraine, a brisk walk in the morning or light exercise can be helpful in this regard.
- Rest: If you feel like having an attack take rest in a quiet and dark room, this has proven to stop a possible attack.