Migraines and migraine treatment
what is a migraine
Migraine is a severe headache so painful either preceded with warning signs or with it. The warning signs may be like flashes of light, blind spots, tingling in the arms and legs, nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound.
Migraine is related to physiological alterations of blood flow in the brain. Pain due to migraine is acute because it comes from several directions, converging at one location in the brain. Migraine headaches are vascular headaches, because they involve changes in the diameter or size and chemistry of blood vessels that supply the brain. These are treatable and often preventable, and most people with migraine headaches do not even experience prodrome or aura.
Many sufferers of this painful headache know when they are getting it, since they begin to see an aura of spots and lights. Once this vanishes, terrible pain sets in. Migraine is the most common form of headache with high prevalence. About 15 -17 percent of women and 5 - 7 percent of men affected by it. Though migraine may occur in all age groups, it is more prevalent among those in the age group of 18 - 45.
This is a headache that is usually one sided pulsating, with or without aura, the prodrome of aura often present lasting for a duration of 4 to 72 hours with moderate to severe severity, getting aggravated by daily activity affecting majority of females.
Moderate to severe, throbbing headache.
Often one sided pain both sides of the head are affected less frequently.
Pain occurs near the eye on the affected side.
Pain often worsens with physical activity.
Sensitivity to light and or sound.
Nausea or vomiting.
Debilitating pain that hinders daily activities.
Untreated attacks most commonly last for a minimum of 3 days but can persist for weeks.
Though diverse theories exist, none of them are able to provide long term prophylactic cure. On the contrary, prolonged use of pain killers triggers Medication Overuse Headache (MOH),or other side effects.
Prevention and treatment:
Whether or not you take preventive medications, you may benefit from lifestyle changes that can be more helpful in reducing the severity of migraines.
Employ good health habits.
Get adequate sleep, healthy diet and regular exercise.
Relaxation and stress reduction therapies can diminish the frequency and intensity of headaches.
Alternative therapies like yoga and other physical relaxation exercises help.
More over the following suggestions may be useful to you:
Try muscle relaxation meditation and yoga.
Spend at least half an hour listening to music, gardening, taking a hot bath or reading.
Sleep seven to eight hours at night.
Rest in a dark, quite room when you feel a headache coming on, place an ice pack wrapped in a cloth on the back of your neck and apply gentle pressure to painful areas on your scalp.
Even though these medication will be a help its better and advisable to consult your Doctor when,you feel
Severe, sudden headaches
Headaches accompanied by loss of consciousness, alertness or sensation, confusion or other neurological and personality changes
Recurring in one particular are all the time.
Accompanied by neck stiffness and fever.
Change in the nature of frequency of headache.
Any change in vision or visual acuity.
Myths and Facts of Migraine:
Myth: Migraine is hereditary.
Reality: There is no study to prove this. However, there are cases where there is a family history.
Myth: Migraine affects people in rural areas.
Reality: Most patients live in urban areas.
Myth: A migraine is just a bad headache.
Reality: Migraine is one of the most common forms of headache and is characterised by neurological, gastrointestinal and autonomic symptoms such as photophobia, nausea, vomiting.
Myth: Migraine is caused due to psychological factors.
Reality: There are many factors that may trigger an attack. However there are no uniform aggravating factors among patients.
Myth: Migraine is not life threatening, just annoying.
Reality: Migraine affects an individual's personal, professional and social life. There are a few cases of epilepsy and stroke among sufferers. Keeping in view the impact of migraine on society WHO has ranked migraine as the 19th debility causing disorder.
Myth: Any doctor can diagnose and treat migraine properly.
Reality: There is no diagnostic tool to detect migraine.
Myth: Migraines are triggered by allergies.
Reality: Any allergic condition of infection may trigger a migraine. However, allergies per Se do not cause migraine.
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