Migraines - Health Center
By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST
Migraines - Overview
Migraines are known to be severely painful headaches that are often accompanies along with some of the sensory warning signs such as timely, intense flashes of light, visual blind spots as well as a repeated tingling sensation in the arms and legs. Not only that, they are also accompanied along with a higher sensitivity of the patient towards light and sound and a feeling of nausea. Migraines are known to last in patients for a period of hours or even days at a given stretch.
Decoding The Migraine Headaches:
Migraines are often severe headaches that are resulted due to a combination of the enlargement of the blood vessels of a person and the excessive release of chemicals from the nerve fibres of the neurons that coil around the blood vessels in the body. During the headaches, the arteries of the patient expand and enlarge around the skull, just beneath the surface of the temple of the skin. This often tends to the release of the chemicals, which gives rise to the inflammation, pain as well as the further enlargement of the artery.
Migraine headaches cause a direct impact on the sympathetic nervous system of a person, which is often responsible towards dealing with the feelings of nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. Therefore, people suffering from migraine are the ones that suffer from the responses which lead to the delay of the absorption of food, the circulation of blood as well as an increase perception towards light and noise on a general basis.
According to a worldwide survey, it has been found out that 18% people all over the world suffer from Migraines. Also, females are more likely to suffer from migraine as compared to their male counterparts. People between an age group of 15 to 55 years of age are the most susceptible of suffering from Migraines. Also, it has been found out that three quarters of people who are sufferers of Migraine are the ones that have been detected with a medical history of the same.
Causal Factors Of Migraine
People who suffer from Migraine are the ones which are known to clearly identify the triggering factors towards the occurrence of the disease.
However, some of the most common trigger factors of Migraine are as follows:
- Allergies and allergic reactions towards environmental factors
- Bright lights, noises and certain smells.
- Extreme physical or emotional stress
- A recognizable change in the patterns of sleeping / insomnia
- Excessive smoking or increased exposure towards smoke
- Skipping of meals or fasting
- Increased influence of alcohol
- Fluctuations in the menstrual cycle due to birth control pills.
- Fluctuations in the hormones
- Tension headaches
- Tyramine containing foods, such as Red wine, cheese, chicken livers, figs and beans are also known to be the causative factors of Migraine
Major Signs And Symptoms Of Migraine
Symptoms of Migraine can occur in a person before the setting in of the headache. Also, they can be seen immediately after the headache or during the headache as well.
Some of the major symptoms of Migraine are as follows:
- Moderate to severe pain in the head. Usually, this is confined to only one side of the head, but in case of successive migraines, it may switch to both sides.
- Pulsing as well as throbbing pain in the head
- Increase in the intensity of pain upon physical labour.
- Inability of the patient to perform the everyday chores.
- Increased sensitivity towards light and noise.
Migraines with Aura
Some people experience Migraines with aura before or during the pain in their head. The symptoms of Migraine with Aura are as follows:
- Confusion in thoughts and experiences
- Perception towards strange lights and flashing lights
- Viewing of lines in the visual field
- Occurrence of blind spots
- Feeling of pins and needles in the arms and the legs
- Stiffness in the shoulders, neck and the limbs
- Perceiving unpleasant smells
Migraines with Aura are known to affect the vision of patients and may make them see things that they do not actually see. Aura migraines often cause in the disruption of vision and thus, make people feel as if a part of their vision has been blocked or has disappeared. Also, it has been commonly known for people to describe events as similar to seeing flashes of bright light at regular intervals. Often patients suffering from Migraines are known to have premonitions which are commonly known as prodrome that can occur for several hours a day or two before the head ache. Also, these premonitions are often known to consist the feeling or elation, extreme energy or cravings from time to time.
Diagnosis Of Migraine
Often for the diagnosis of Migraine, the physicians use the medical history of the person and then check the patients for the symptoms written above.
However, one of the best known criteria for the diagnosis of Migraine is “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” criteria. This means that if a person has been suffering from the following:
- 5 or more attacks
- 4 hours to 3 days as the duration of the attacks
- 2 attacks in the unilateral location, with a pulsating quality as well as ranging from a moderate to severe pain
- 1 additional symptom which may include like vomiting, nausea or sensitivity towards sound or light.
Doctors are also able to make use of tests such as EEG, CT and MRI in order to check for internal bleeding within the skull or for signs of stroke. Also, these tests can determine the inflammation of the brain, the state of the cerebrospinal fluid as well as dilations in the blood vessels of the brain.
Treatment And Prevention Of Migraine
Some of the best ways to prevent Migraine are as follows:
- Getting enough sleep
- Reducing the everyday stress
- Drinking plenty of water
- Regular exercising
Apart from these, medications prescribed by the doctors such as naproxen, ibuprofen and other analgesics are best known for the elimination of the primary headaches and therefore, reducing the amount of pain. Also, some of the anti – emetics can also be used greatly in order to decrease the symptoms of nausea and vomiting in patients.
Another class of medicine known as Ergots are also known to be effective for the treatment of migraines. Some of the best medicines that are best prescribed are:
- Beta blockers, anticonvulsants and antidepressants.
- Botulinum Toxin A (Botox)
- Herbs and Vitamins such as the likes of cannabis, coenzyme Q 10 and melatonin too are well known for curing Migraines.
- Surgery that leads to the severing of the corrugators muscle in the brain is also known to be a great corrective measure for Migraine treatment.
- Spinal cord implantation
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- Special diets that are gluten free
Migraines can be easily treated with a combination of drugs and therapies. Given the timely treatment, patients suffering from it can lead a normal and healthy life.