Migraine headaches are ordinary headaches but they are severe in their nature of pain. It is characterized by recurrent episodes. Generally the pain is throbbing in nature and felt on one side of the head.
The common head ache due to other reasons like cold may affect the front of the head, in tension form of head ache the pain is felt in the temple or in the back of the head and other common head aches may be felt like a belt around the head with no other warning or associated symptoms. But migraine head aches are usually have warning signs like dizziness, flashes of light, numbness in cheek, excessive saliva formation. They may also have nausea and vomiting during the attack.
But migraine head aches are felt almost in one side of the head either in left or right side of the head and they are recurrent in nature. The migraine head aches are sensitive to light, smell and noise.
Migraine head aches usually begin to appear almost in the childhood days or in adolescence, at the age of puberty in girls and rarely in young adult age. They are able to affect the routine activities like going to school, games and other activities in young sufferers.
The simple mechanism that is involved in the causes of migraine is narrowing and widening of blood vessels in the head. It is triggered by several factors include:
- Change of weather
- Mental stress
- Menstrual period
- Certain foods including alcohol, cheese and pizza
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Hormonal imbalance
The most important factor is heredity.
Migraine ache lasts for minutes, hours or for days. It varies in individuals and they are able to make the sufferer disabled both physically and mentally. In most of the people the head ache begins with “auras”.( a sensation that precedes and marks the onset of the neurological condition usually in epilepsy and migraine) as a warning symptom and they may have blurred vision, colored spots before eyes, bright and flashed lights or a peculiar odor. Muscle weakness, failure in coordination, irritability, loss of mood and speech difficulties is common in migraine. Tingling sensation in face, hand or leg is most common in migraine.
Usually migraines are majorly classified in to classic and common head ache. The classic type usually has warning symptoms. Eye is mainly involved in the formation of warning. Bright spots, horizontal lines or zig zag lines, double vision, partial or temporary blindness are some of the classical examples in eye involved warning symptoms in migraine. Numbness and tingling appears in lips, face, legs and in hands. Muscular weakness, difficulty in walking, slurred speech is common.
Common migraines are head aches with no warning symptoms. The onset of the pain is abrupt and the pain is felt usually in one side and severity of the pain is worst and throbbing. But this type of head ache is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
Every migraine attack is having different triggering factors like stress, hormonal imbalance and hence treatment is based on the nature of trigger that causes migraine. Blood test, MRI scan and CAT scan are useful in finding the causes and treatment is based on the findings. Usually the treatment contains life style changes, change in diet, avoiding stress. Pain relief medication and anti vomiting and nausea medications are prescribed. It is very important that every patient is given preventive medicines to avoid the episodes. Alternative medicines like acupuncture, acupressure and herbal treatment are also advised in some patients.
Ergot is a medicine that is used for several years and till date to suppress the pain and it is not advisable to use this medicine on their own since this medicine is having several side effects in some patients. Hence, it is used only under medical supervision.
Preventing migraine is better than treating it. Finding out the triggering factor and preventing the migraine is the best way to avoid migraine.