What is Migraine?
Migraine causes severe throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head, followed by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, difficulty speaking, numbness, tingling, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. The pain usually lasts for hours to days and interferes with your ability to do daily activities.
A warning sign known as an aura occurs before or with a headache. An aura means visual disturbances such as flashes of light or blind spots or others.
Migraine is a neurological condition that may begin early in childhood or may not occur until early adulthood. Women are more likely to experience migraine attacks than men do. Family history also plays a role in the occurrence of migraines.
The diagnosis of migraine is done on the basis of clinical history, reported symptoms, and by ruling out other causes.
On top of it, it is important to understand that migraines are different from other headaches.
Migraines, which affect children and adults, advance through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack, and post-drome. But not necessarily everyone undergoes all these stages.
Migraine may come with alarming signs a day or two days before the actual attack. Signs may include:
- Mood changes, from depression to euphoria
- Fluid retention
- Food cravings
- Neck stiffness
- Increased urination
- Frequent yawning
An aura is a visual disturbance that may appear before or during migraines. Auras are reversible signs of the nervous system. The signs become apparent gradually and may last for up to 60 minutes.
Examples of migraine auras include:
- Visual phenomena, such as bright spots or flashes of light
- Weakness or numbness in the face
- Partial or complete loss of vision
- Pins and needle-like sensations in arms or legs
- Difficulty speaking
A migraine headache usually lasts from 4 to 72 hours if left untreated. The signs may vary from person to person, and so does the intensity. In some people, migraines may occur rarely or appear a few times a month.
During a migraine, you might have:
- Pain usually on one side of your head, but often on both sides
- Pain that throbs or pulses
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Nausea and vomiting
Post-drome brings signs like confusion and a feeling of nausea for a couple of days. Pay attention to the signs you are experiencing, or else sudden moments may bring throbbing pain once again.
Most often, migraine attacks are left untreated and undiagnosed. If you feel signs of migraine, keep a record of the signs. Even if a headache has been a common problem for you, these signs should not be ignored.
- An abrupt, severe headache like a thunderclap
- Headache with fever, stiff neck, confusion, seizures, double vision
- Headache after a head injury
- Headache that gets severe after coughing, exertion, straining, or a sudden movement
- Headache pain that you get after the age of 50
Scientists have not fully understood the underlying cause of migraines. But genetics, environmental factors are to blame in most cases.
Changes in the brainstem and its signals with trigeminal nerves are also a cause. Other causes include imbalances in the brain chemicals such as serotonin, which help regulate pain in the nervous system.
Migraine triggers include conditions that prompt migraine headaches. These may include:
- Hormonal changes in women. Variations in the hormones due to menstruation, pregnancy, menopause are to be blamed for the risk of migraine in women. Plus, medications that help in hormonal imbalance, such as oral contraceptives, can also induce migraine attacks.
- Drinks. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, alcohol, wine, etc.
- Sensory stimuli. Bright or intense lights, loud sounds can also induce migraines. Strong or pungent smells from perfumes, thinners, second-hand smoke may trigger migraines in many people.
- Stress. Psychological stress at home or work may also result in migraine attacks.
- Sleep changes. Getting too much sleep or not sleeping enough is yet another risk factor linked to migraines in many.
- Physical factors. Exertion, even from sexual activity, may also trigger migraine attacks.
- Weather changes. Fluctuations in weather or barometric pressure can cause migraines.
- Foods. Processed foods, salt, and aged cheese are triggers of migraines. Not eating meals on time and skipping may also cause throbbing pain.
- Food additives. These include sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Ayurvedic treatment for migraines
In Ayurveda, the management of migraine is referred to as Ardhavabedhaka, which means pain on one side of the pain. Migraine is linked to Vata and Pitta dominance in the body which causes a burning sensation in the eyes followed by redness. It is also imputed to severe acidity attacks and digestive system issues.
The ayurvedic management of migraines is done with the help of toxins elimination as carried out by Panchakarma.
At AyuKarma, we have time-tested and evidence-based procedures to manage migraines naturally. Diet and lifestyle modifications are also suggested to the patients to get the most out of ayurvedic treatment.