Migraine is a neurological disorder raised due to specific neurochemical changes within the brain. These changes lead to intense , debilitating periodic throbbing, pulsating pain on one side or other side of the head along with other symptoms like weakness, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms may last for several hours to days depending on severity of the attack.
Migraine is pain resulting from a complex series of specific changes in the blood vessels of head and brain . During a migraine, the blood vessels first become overly constricted and then widen abnormally . This sequence of constriction and widening affects the blood vessels on one side of the head and often it is especially pronounced in a particular area of the brain.
Migraine is the most common cause of headache affects approximately 15% women and 6% men . It is second most common cause of headache. In women, there is strong hereditary tendency and for many connection between menstrual cycle, the contraceptive pills and the incidence of migraine has been established.
Types of migraine :
Few people with migraine experience some warning signs before the onset of an attack, where as few others do not have any early symptoms and based on this condition, migraine is classified into 2 types:-
- Migraine with aura : In this type people experience warning signs like confusion, flashlights, blind spots, stiffness in the body and others before the onset of a migraine attack.
- Migraine without aura : In this type people do not have any prewarning signs before a migraine attack.
The symptoms of migraine are directly related to these changes in the blood vessels. During the initial phase of blood vessel narrowing, decreased blood flow to the brain leads to malfunction in the area of greatest constriction. So, before any pain is felt, the warning symptoms called an aura. The most common aura is disturbance of vision, which may take the form of bright or coloured zigzag lines, areas of cloudy vision, flushing lights and so on. Other people have aura’s with such symptoms as slurred speech, dizziness, weakness or numbness of one side of the body and other signs of neurological impairment.
Stretching of the vessel walls, along with inflammation caused by chemical changes in blood, stimulates pain -sensitive nerve endings in vessel walls. At first the pain is localized on one side of the head, but it often spreads to the other side as the headache progresses. The pain is intense and throbbing in character.
Causative factors of migraine :
The exact cause of migraine is not clear but migraine is believed to have genetic susceptibility. The most common theory is a disorder of the serotonergic control system which says, the thought to be linked with the drop of level of serotonin (chemical in the brain) leading to the dilation and inflammation of blood vessels. Few triggering factors of migraine include:-
- Family history
- Hormonal imbalance, menstrual disorders. In women, there is a strong, hereditary
- tendency and for many a connection between menstrual cycle,the contraceptive pills.
- Extreme stress, depression, excitement, tension, worry, anxiety in private and business
- Sleeplessness, missing sleep, too much sleep
- Environmental factors: A change of weather, strong smells, loud sounds ,stuffy rooms..
- 7. Medications : Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Oral contraceptives, vasodilators
- such as nitroglycerin
- 8. Foods like caffeine, pickles, citrus fruits, cheese, chocolate, nuts , salty processed food,
- artificial sweeteners, preservatives
- 9. Excess intake of alcohol, smoking.
- 10. Physical factors: Over physical exertion. tiredness.
Stages and symptoms of migraine:
There are four different phases/stages of migraine and the symptoms differ for each phase.
This is the warning phrase or before the onset of an attack and it’s symptoms include,
- Thirsty feeling .
- Food cravings, loss of appetite.
- Constipation or diarrhea, bloating.
- Mood swings (feel depressed).
- Increased sensitivity to light and sound.
- Constant yawning.
- Stiffness in the neck.
Aura Phase :
- Just before the onset of an attack these symptoms stem from your nervous system and often involve your vision.
- They usually start gradually, over a 5 to 20 minute period, and last less than an hour,
- Blurred vision.
- Dizziness .
- Difficulty in speaking.
- Having tingling and numbness on one side of your body.
- Needle like sensation in hands and legs.
- Sensitivity to light, sound and strong odors.
- Ringing in eyes.
Attack Phase :
- Actual migraine attack phase.
- Throbbing and piercing pain on one or either side of the head.
- Temporary vision loss.
- About 80% of people have nausea and vomiting along with headache.
- May feel pale and clammy or feel faint
- Most migraine headaches last about 4 hours, but severe ones can go for more than 3 days.
- This stage can last up to a day after a headache where people get,
- Feeling tired, wiped out, or cranky.
- Feeling unusually refreshed or happy.
- Muscle pain or weakness.
- Food cravings or loss of appetite.
- Feeling depressed or confused.
Complications of migraine headache:
If migraine left untreated or uncontrolled, can triggers the risk of several following complications,
Status migrainosus attack may lasts for more than 3days and makes the patient dehydrated, drained, disabled.
- Migraineurs infarction also called migraineurs stroke, this complication is rare but happens in younger women. Here blood vessels to the brain can get narrowed and cut off the oxygen supply. A migraineurs stroke can hit suddenly and is an emergency.
- Persistent aura without infarction :One in four people with migraines can have aura. But sometimes it lingers more than a week after an attack. Rarely you can have aura and symptoms like trouble breathing and numbness for months or for years.
- Migraine-Triggered seizures, this happens rarely where one can get epileptic seizures. Epilepsy and migraine sometimes go together.
- Other complications like depression, anxiety, vertigo, sleeplessness.
Simple tips to reduce the risk of migraine attacks :
- One can successfully reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by following some tips given below,
- Drink enough water and stay hydrated.
- Get enough sleep.
- Follow same time schedules for eating and sleeping.
- Limit your intake of alcohol.
- Avoid exposure to loud noises and other triggers of migraine
- Control your stress
- Exercise regularly and maintain healthy body weight.
- At the time of the attack, take rest in a dark and quiet room, close your eyes, you can even place wet or cool cloth and an ice pack on your forehead and most importantly do not forget to drink enough fluids .
Homoeopathic management of migraine :
- Homoeopathic treatment works effectively in case of migraine. It controls migraine effectively and provides long term relief by treating the roots of problem and improves overall wellbeing and improves quality of life.
- One of the major advantage of using homoeopathic remedies is that they can be used as a prophylactic as they work by triggering the body’s healing mechanism and stepping up the immune system. This could help to prevent migraine thus negating the need to use painkillers.
- Treatment is mainly based on subjective and other mental symptoms of patients. While treating homoeopath studies the whole case history of patient and find out the root cause of pain by considering medical history, mental , work, lifestyle and genetics.
- Homoeopathic medicines are useful in reducing the intensity and frequency when administered according to symptom similarity.
- Since the problem of migraine is more or less epidemic in nature and presents a very few number of symptoms. Therefore we homoeopath consider it as of the nature of ‘one sided disease’ ( Aphorism 173 organon of medicine. ) which is less amenable to cure.
- The major advantage of choosing homoeopathic treatment for migraine over other available conventional treatments is that it is safe, non-toxic, free from side effects, no drug dependency and most importantly are non-addictive, non-invasive.