What does migraine mean?
Migraine is a localized form of headache that attacks only a part of one’s brain. The pain is progressive in nature and starts from low intensity and gradually takes its most painful form. It is accompanied by sensitivity towards light and sound. The throbbing inside the head makes migraine a more painful experience. Patients suffering from migraine find it difficult to explain their situation often and opt for regular pain killers which are not effective in dealing with the painful situation.With mental and physical stress, the intensity of migraine often increases. Activities like head motion or even sneezing can make the problem a more painful experience. Due to the sensitivity towards light and sound, patients like being secluded, resting in a dark room. Sometimes migraine is also accompanied by nausea and vomiting tendencies. Migraine
is a more common phenomenon in women than men and can be experienced during early mornings or after a stressful day at work. It may even evolve during sleep which is uncommon though.
Migraine with and without aura
Migraine can be broadly classified as migraine with aura and without aura. The former one, usually gets started with neurological disorders like vision issues and paralysis followed by a bad headache
. Numbness and tingling sensations can be experienced on lips and fingers. Sometimes even half of the entire body gets paralyzed during migraine with aura.
- Migraine without aura is the most common form of headache, and is characterized by fluctuations in mood, nausea, fluid retention, and fatigue. People suffering from migraine are often prone to diarrhea and frequent urination problems.
- It is often mistaken for headache caused due to sinus problems. Migraine symptoms often include nasal congestion and this leads to the confusion.
The different forms of migraine
Migraine comes in different forms depending on the symptoms and origin. Following are the varieties and symptoms of migraine:
This kind of migraine gives the most traumatic experience to the sufferer. It causes temporary paralysis accompanied by nausea and vertigo. It is painful and makes the patient completely helpless if left unattended.
This kind of migraine is characterized by droopy eyes and pain in the area around eyes. It might be related to other neurologic conditions.
Basilar artery migraine
This kind of migraine affects mainly adolescent and young women. It originates from the basilar artery located at the base of the brain. It undergoes some kind of spasm that leads to this specific kind of migraine. It leads to vertigo, lack of coordination, affected consciousness and difficulty in hearing and speaking.
Benign exertional migraine
This form is caused by physical activities
like running, jumping, walking or even sneezing. It lasts for several minutes, but the pain is intense as always. The pain can be in progressive nature too.
This is the type of migraine which is extremely rare and is characterized by extreme pain and nausea. Rest and normal painkillers do nothing in this kind of migraine and often the patient needs to be hospitalized for a cure.
In this kind of problem , the patient does not suffer from any kind of a pain but suffers from visual disorders
. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
So how is migraine different from headache?
Migraine is also a type of headache, but headache also has categories of its own which are characterized by traits of their own kind. Following are the two main types of headaches:
This kind of headache has its origin related to stress or tension. Physical health issues like arthritis and mental health issues like depression, stress and fatigue are also considered as the reasons behind tension headache. It may also be triggered by lack of correct posture, eye strain, bone or muscle issue in the neck or issues in the jawbone. Tension headache is not characterized by throbbing pain but a continuous pain in the temples of the forehead. One may also experience tightness of muscles.
This is the kind of headache that is determined by the histamine levels in the blood. One may experience three to four separate attacks of pain in this kind of headache. This usually affects only one side of the head and the patient suffers from unbearable pain. It is more dominant in men than women and is often linked to consumption of alcohol and smoke. It may last for 30 minutes to more than an hour.
Cause and treatment of migraine
Migraine can be triggered by various factors like:
- Stress- professional and personal
- Increased consumption of MSG and caffeine
- Medicine for regularity of menstrual cycle oral contraceptive pills usage
- Environmental factors like pollution or sensitivity to light, sound or any smell
People suffering from depression, anxiety or cardiovascular diseases
are more prone to migraine attacks.
The migraine treatments include
- Painkillers: Regular painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen etc. are used to kill the pain caused during a migraine. These products are sometimes combined with caffeine for a more effectiveness.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: These drugs include analgesics, narcotics and non-narcotic drugs.
- Vasoconstrictors: these are used for dilating painful phase of migraine
Other medicines that are used for daily prevention of migraine attacks are
- Hormone therapy (for women)
Can migraine be treated without use of medications?
Migraine can always be prevented with a healthy lifestyle. One should avoid the main triggers that lead to migraine attacks. One should avoid skipping meals, most importantly breakfast. Regular consumption of alcohol and chain smoking should be avoided totally. Sleeping on time and waking up in time resets the cycle of body and keeps migraine attacks at bay. One should avoid stress at work and personal life both. One can opt for activities like yoga, jogging, meditation or dancing that helps in releasing stress.Migraine can be treated without medication by means of relaxation training which trains patients to develop control on their blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rates voluntarily. Stress management sessions and regular exercise can also treat migraine.