A migraine is a form of a headache that usually involves a throbbing pain. Migraines usually last from 2 to 72 hours and can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers.
What is migraine and what are its causes?
A migraine is caused by pressure on the brainstem that is connected to the trigeminal nerve. It is mostly inherited. It is a persistent headache that stays longer if not treated with proper medication. The pain gets severe, leading to nausea, sensitivity to light, pain on one side of the head, and blurred vision.
There are several causes that trigger a migraine. Few of the main reasons are:
- Hormonal changes in women
- Skipping meals or food allergies
- Change in sleep pattern
- Extreme climate conditions/sudden change in climate
- Drinking excessive alcohol
Symptoms of migraine
- Food craving at improper timings
- Irresistible yawning
- Frequent urination
- Aura effects such as seeing flashes of bright light, or a feeling of being touched or grabbed
- A simple headache can also lead to a migraine, where one cannot bear loud noise, strong smell, and bright lights.
Different types of migraines
Chronic migraine – These types of migraines usually last for more than 15 days and needs medical attention.
Migrainous infarction – These migraines usually have a recurrence of aura. This might cause loss of blood supply to the brain leading to stroke, and needs immediate medical attention.
Effects of migraine on health
Stroke – It most commonly occurs due to excessive smoking, high blood pressure, or excessive intake of birth control pills. In such cases, the blood supply to the brain is abruptly cut off after a severe attack of migraine.
Heart disease – A migraine caused by excessive stress eventually leads to heart disease. Stress management is very important in such cases and can be prevented by regular exercise and good sleep.
Insomnia – Loss of sleep due to a severe migraine also leads to depression and anxiety problems.
How to treat migraine?
There is no permanent cure for migraine, however, it can be prevented by various methods. The simpler solution to a rarely occurring migraine is by taking painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. Taking a quiet nap in a dark room, drinking a lot of fluids and placing cold compress packs on the forehead can relieve pain gradually if you are willing to avoid painkillers.
Prevention of migraine
The frequent occurrence of a migraine can be prevented by:
- Managing stress levels – Exercising regularly, breathing exercises and meditation keeps your pulse pattern steady and reduces stress levels.
- Eating and sleeping on time – A change in food or sleep pattern is a common cause for migraines. Skipping meals or eating meals at irregular hours, lack of sleep and change in sleeping hours lead to a severe migraine.
- Hormone therapy – Women suffering from hormonal imbalance are often affected with a migraine. Hormone therapy can reduce the risk of the frequent occurrence of migraine.
- Losing weight – Obesity can affect the regular occurrence of a migraine, hence maintaining a healthy weight is important