A migraine is a type of headache, characterised by severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation that persists usually in one side of the head. These headaches are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, The symptoms of a migraine are worsened by bright lights, loud sounds or strong smells. Many patients with migraines also experience a temporary blind spot which partly obscures the vision.
Doctors used to believe that migraines were linked to the opening and narrowing of blood vessels in the head. Now they believe it is related to abnormal activity of some brain cells. The exact cause of migraine has not been identified yet, but hormonal imbalance and stress are some of the major known factors, which might be the reason why migraine is more common among females. Besides these, genetic predisposition to migraine is also a major factor, that’s why migraine runs in families for many generations.
Different patients have different sets of triggers that may precipitate a migraine attack, for example flickering lights, stress, certain processed or fermented food products, low blood sugar, alcohol, lack of sleep, certain medication, etc.
Treatment of migraine varies depending upon the frequency and duration of attacks, but it is majorly aimed at alleviating the initial symptom and preventing a full-blown attack by identifying and avoiding specific triggers. The alertness and prompt response by the patient play an important role in the management of such attacks. Always remember, the first step towards defeating migraine is understanding it.
IF YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM MIGRAINE, THESE TIPS MAY HELP YOU TO COPE WITH IT:
- Make a journal in which you can keep a track of your headaches. Answer the following questions for every episode of a migraine attack:
- At what time of the day did the attack start?
- How long has the episode lasted?
- How severe was the attack?
- What were you when the attack started?
- Did you experience any `warning` symptoms before the attack?
- How effective the medications were to make the headache less severe?
This journal will not only help you to understand and prevent migraines but will also help your physician to choose effective medications and therapy for you.
- Discuss with your physicians about preventive and abortive drugs. Preventive drugs are used to decrease the frequency of migraine episodes and prevent their onset. Abortive drugs are used to limit the effects of an attack that is already started and make it last shorter.
- Try to stay away from avoidable triggers – get enough rest, practice yoga to relieve stress, eat regular meals and pay attention to what you are eating, don’t take any medication without consulting your doctor.
- Beware of hormonal changes and get help from an endocrinologist in case of hormonal imbalance.
- Always keep your medications handy and use them appropriately as every medication has one side effect or the other. Never stop taking medications suddenly without consulting the doctor.