migraine

Migraine can be considered as a headache in which one experiences a throbbing pain or pulsating sensation in one part of the head. It is a neurological condition. Many times we aren’t able to differentiate a normal headache from a migraine as we are not well informed of either.

What are the symptoms of Migraine?

The symptoms of migraine can be in various stages like indicative symptoms to experiencing a migraine.

  • The symptoms can start a day or two before the migraine, called a prodrome. The symptoms during prodrome are:
    • Fatigue.
    • Neck stiffness.
    • Irritability.
    • Frequent yawning.
    • Constipation.
    • Food cravings.
  • The next stage is Aura. It usually occurs before a migraine, in this case, each symptom builds up gradually and then stays for a few minutes. Its symptoms are:
    • Vision loss.
    • Tingling or pricking sensations in arms, legs.
    • Numbness or feeling weak.
    • Difficulty speaking clearly.
    • Experiencing visual phenomena like seeing shapes, light flashes, bright spots.
  • The Attack stage is the next. This is the most severe phase and may last for varying times in different people. The symptoms in the attack stage are:
    • Nausea.
    • Dizziness, Breathlessness.
    • Throbbing pain in the head.
    • Vomiting.
    • Pain on either side of the head or in the temple.
  • The next stage is Post Drome, after the migraine attack. The symptoms are usually:
    • Mood change.
    • Feelings range from euphoric to extremely happy, very fatigued to apathetic.
    • A mild headache may or may not persist.

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Causes of Migraine

Migraine is considered a neurological condition but its main cause hasn’t been identified yet. It could be due to environmental factors, hereditary i.e. genetics, imbalance in brain chemicals, changes in the brain stem.

Are there any triggers for Migraines?

The triggers could be as follows:

  • Drinks like alcohol, coffee.
  • Stress.
  • Changes in the sleep cycle.
  • Medications like oral contraceptives, vasodilators, etc.
  • Hormonal changes in women.
  • Weather changes.
  • Food additives like preservatives MSG, artificial sweeteners like aspartame.

Problems related to Migraine

The major problem with a migraine is the persistent, perforating, pricking, pulsating headache. A steady headache that may continue over a span of 2-3 days.

The second most common issue is migraine nausea. Nausea may also lead to vomiting. This may begin after an hour of the headache. It can be treated using anti-nausea medication which may in turn also stop puking.

Overuse of the medication can cause rebound headaches too.

It may cause migralepsy, a condition of an epileptic seizure. It is a rare condition but may occur.

It can increase the risk of the following:

Episodic symptoms can also be seen like:

  • Sleepwalking, sleep talking.
  • Night terrors.
  • Teeth grinding.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Vertigo.

It may lead to heart disease, increased blood pressure. High blood pressure can also cause migraines or vice versa.

Hearing loss can also be seen in people with migraines.

Migraines disrupt both the personal and work life of an individual. A week of severe migraine may cause disturbance in the work schedule reducing concentration, effectiveness at work, and increasing workload in turn.

In personal life, the time spent with family is affected. One starts with skipping social interactions and eventually putting away with family members too.

Is migraine treatment available? 

Migraine treatment can be:

  • Pain relief drugs- over-the-counter drugs (OCT) with major constituents like aspirin, caffeine, ibuprofen are helpful.
  • Nausea medication
  • Preventative medication can be taken regularly to suppress severe headaches.
  • Home remedies- like resting, using ice compressors, staying hydrated.
  • Doing yoga.

If left untreated then the headaches can get worse. The pain will start transferring from one side of the head to the other and then to the temples.

Migraines are uncomfortable and severe. It is important to identify the problem and then work with it. Keep track of the symptoms, seeing if they are turning from mild to severe and need medical attention. Patience is necessary when dealing with such situations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the attack stage persist?

It may last up to 72 hours. The time varies from person to person usually.

Can migraines last for a week?

The attack stage of migraine can last for 2-3 days. Well, sometimes migraines can last for a week too, starting from the prodrome to the post-drome.

Does one experience all the symptoms of migraine?

One may or may not experience all the stages. Stages like prodrome and aura may not be experienced by some, or, some might experience aura but not prodrome or vice-versa.

Is there any age range for migraine?

Migraines can start from childhood and persist till early adulthood. It is usually seen to start during adolescence. It is commonly seen in the age group of 30-40.
It is seen that women are more likely to suffer from migraine than men.

When should one see a doctor for migraine?

Migraines can go untreated for a long time so when one sees individual suffering they should go to the doctor and get a proper diagnosis.
If one has a history of headache which is accompanied by symptoms like blurry vision, exertion, breathlessness, fever, numbness one should see a doctor.

Is migraine a disability?

Not really, when the headaches are not very frequent it can not be called a disability. But if one is suffering from chronic headaches tat are very frequent then it might be called a disability.

Does migraine get worse with age?

Yes, migraines get worse with age. The numbers of hours the headache lasts initially and after an age increases.

What happens if migraine is left untreated?

If left untreated then the headaches can get worse. The pain will start transferring from one side of the head to the other and then to the temples.

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