Is it migraine that’s troubling you?

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“With migraines, one of the best things you can do is learning your personal triggers that can bring on the pain. The first step is to track your migraines in a diary. Note what you were doing before and when your headache started. What were you eating? How much sleep did you get the night before? Did anything stressful or important happen that day? These are key clues. Good stress free lifestyle with regular sleep, timely and health eating habits and regular exercises can prevent migraine attacks. ““With migraines, one of the best things you can do is learning your personal triggers that can bring on the pain. The first step is to track your migraines in a diary. Note what you were doing before and when your headache started. What were you eating? How much sleep did you get the night before? Did anything stressful or important happen that day? These are key clues. Good stress free lifestyle with regular sleep, timely and health eating habits and regular exercises can prevent migraine attacks. “

Is it migraine that’s troubling you?
Migraine headaches are one of the leading medical complaints prevalent worldwide, and are also an important cause for temporary disability and significant work hours lost. There is a myth amongst people that Migraines are non treatable, which is not true. Know from our expert some important information about migraine.

Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and can be so severe that the pain is disabling. It is usually seen that people go on taking over the counter painkillers for migraine attacks. This leads to another complication known as medicine overuse headaches (MOH). However, not treating migraines the proper way may lead to chronic daily migraines. Also, continuously taking painkillers for migraine headaches may damage kidney and stomach.

Migraine has a strong genetic predisposition but many suffer because of certain triggers as mentioned below:-

  • Hormonal changes in women – Fluctuations in estrogen seem to trigger headaches in many women.
  • Foods such as aged cheeses, salty foods, processed foods & food additives
  • Alcohol caffeinated drinks– Sensory stimuli due to bright lights, sun glare, loud sounds & strong smells.
  • Changes in wake-sleep pattern
  • Changes in the environment

Symptoms:

Migraines often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. It may progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome.

Prodrome:
One or two days before a migraine, you may notice:

  • Constipation
  • Mood changes, from depression to euphoria
  • Food cravings
  • Neck stiffness
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Frequent yawning

Aura
Aura, though rare, may occur before or during migraines. Most people experience migraines without aura. Each of these symptoms usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes and lasts for 20 to 60 minutes.

  • Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
  • Vision loss
  • Pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg
  • Weakness or numbness in the face or one side of the body
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Hearing noises or music
  • Uncontrollable jerking or other movements

Attack
A migraine usually lasts from 4 to 72 hours if untreated.

  • Pain on one side or both sides of your head
  • Pain that feels throbbing or pulsing
  • Sensitivity to light, sounds, and sometimes smells and touch
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Light headedness, sometimes followed by fainting

Post-drome
Post-drome is not commonly seen in all cases but may occur after a migraine attack. You may feel drained and washed out, while some people feel elated.

  • Confusion
  • Moodiness
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Sensitivity to light and sound

See your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • An abrupt, severe headache like a thunderclap
  • Headache with fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or trouble speaking
  • Headache after a head injury, especially if the headache gets worse
  • A chronic headache that is worse after coughing, exertion, straining or a sudden movement
  • New headache pain if you’re older than 50

Migraine is a Neurogenic Vascular Headache. Throbbing in nature in a particular area with variable intensity & commonly associated with Nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light & sound. People may experience pain in face & neck, scalp tenderness, dizziness, light headedness or malaise. Sometimes preceded by warning symptoms & triggered by fasting, sleep deprivation, stress, certain food and hormonal changes. Preventive & pain relieving medication with lifestyle modification can manage migraine.

Take Care of Your Brain

Poor lifestyle sometimes can cause many neurological related illnesses.

  • Need to control or prevent avoidable risk factors like Hypertension, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, cholesterol, stress and anxiety, smoking and excessive alcohol
  • Increase your cognitive storage- try to learn & experiment new things
  • Take balance diet (Fruits, fish, egg, green leafy vegetable, sunflower or olive oil, beans, walnuts, peanuts and avocados); avoid too many fats especially industrialized food
  • Physical activity – brisk walking an hour a day, riding cycle, swimming, yoga and sports
  • Prioritize positive thoughts & handle things calmly.
  • Have a good social life with friend and relatives
  • Sleep at least 6-7 hours a day
  • Do some brain exercise like Sudoku, chess, crossword or read a book.

Dr. Manish Gupta
Consultant, Institute of Neurosciences, Jaypee Hospital, Noida

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