What is Migraine?
A migraine is a severe headache that occurs as a result of specific physiological changes that happen within the brain leading to the characteristic pain and associated symptoms of a migraine. This type of headache occurs only on one side of the head but in some cases, patients have experienced it on both sides. Migraines are usually associated with sensitivity of sound, light and smell which may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The pain is often described as throbbing or pounding and it gets worse with every passing minute.
Symptoms of Migraine
The most common symptoms of migraine are
1. Severe often ‘pounding’ pain, usually on one side of the head.
2. Eye pain
3. Sensitivity to sound and light
4. Dizziness or feeling faint
Types of a Migraine
There are two main types of migraine. This depends on whether the individual experience any disturbance of the senses leading to migraine. If the individual experience disturbances of senses leading to the migraine, it is classified as a migraine with aura. The aura act as a warning, telling them that a headache is soon to occur. The effects of the aura can include;
1. Difficulty speaking
2. Unpleasant smell
3. Blind spots or blank patches in the vision
4. Confusing thoughts or experiences
On the other hand, a person will experience migraine without any sensory disturbances leading up to the attack. This is classified as a migraine without aura. Between 70 and 90 per cent of migraines occur without an aura.
There are other types of migraine which includes a menstrual migraine, chronic migraine, abdominal migraine, etc.
What causes migraine?
There is no known cause of migraine although most people with it are genetically predisposed to migraine. If you are susceptible to migraine there are certain triggers which commonly occur. These include stress, lack of food, alcohol, hormonal changes in women, lack of sleep and environment.
There is no single cure for migraine but you can help manage it so that you can get them less often and treat symptoms when they occur. A doctor can prescribe some painkillers or migraine medicates for you such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) but there are lifestyle alterations that might help reduce the frequency of migraine.
1. Getting enough sleep
2. Reducing stress
3. Drinking plenty of water
4. Avoiding certain foods
5. Regular physical exercise
Consider seeking further treatment if the above changes do no relieve the symptoms or frequency of migraines. The treatment of migraine symptoms focuses on avoiding triggers, controlling symptoms and taking medicine.