Migraine is one of the most common diseases in the world affecting more than 10 percent of the total population. This means that one out of every seven people suffer from migraine. It is a highly disabling neurological disorder affecting the personal, professional and psychological lives of people. Yet it is one of the most underdiagnosed and untreated diseases.

according to American Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeMigraine is an acute headache characterized by a severe throbbing or throbbing pain in one area of ​​the head. It is often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea and increased sensitivity to light and sound. The first week of September is recognized as Migraine Awareness Week in view of the paucity of information about the situation. It aims to educate people about migraine, its severity and their impact on people’s lives.

Through this article, we want to give you comprehensive information about migraine. Here are the material buckets.

Understanding Migraines

There are about 150 different types of headaches. These are broadly classified into two categories, primary and secondary. Migraine falls under the category of primary headache which means that it does not result from another medical condition. In contrast, secondary headaches are caused by an underlying health problem.

Migraines affect different people differently. What may be a trigger for one person may not be for another. The severity and frequency may also vary among migraine patients. It is often not a genetic disorder and can affect everyone, regardless of their age.

People use different terms to define what a migraine headache feels like. Some of the most common are pulsing, pounding, throbbing, punching and debilitating.

Migraines mostly start in the forehead and affect one side of the head. It can be centered around a temple, affect both sides or move between the two. The duration can vary from four hours to a week.

For most people, migraine symptoms begin a day or two before the headache. This stage is called the prodrome. The next stage is called the aura leading to the ‘attack’. For some people, fortunately, the prodrome phase occurs directly after the attack. Eventually, migraine episodes end with what we call a postdrome.

Let us go through each of these steps in detail.

stages of migraine

primary or early symptoms

As mentioned above, this phase begins a day or two before the actual attack. This is also known as the pre-headache or premonitory phase. According to ResearchAbout 20–60% of migraine patients go through a prodrome phase characterized by emotional instability such as excitement, hopelessness, or euphoria. Fatigue or hyperactivity may be accompanied by somatic symptoms such as thirst and urination or constipation. Fatigue can also make you yawn a lot. It can also cause lack of concentration and sleeplessness. Cravings for certain foods and stiffness in muscles, especially around the neck and shoulders are some other symptoms.

And

research It turns out that up to twenty-five percent of people with migraines have episodes of aura. This can happen before or during the attack. Symptoms start gradually and can last from five minutes to an hour. Aura is characterized by neurological symptoms and causes issues related to speech, vision, movement and sensation. This includes:

  • difficulty speaking
  • prickling, tingling, or numb feeling in your face, hands, feet, or mouth
  • ringing in ears
  • change or loss in taste and smell
  • seeing size, light flashes, or bright spots
  • double vision
  • temporary vision loss
  • vertigo
  • inability to control body movements

to attack

This is the most severe stage when the pain really starts. It happens after the aura or the two can overlap for the worse. Headaches can last anywhere from hours to days. For most people, the duration is between four and seventy-two hours. Chills or extreme heat may be felt during this phase, along with an unbearable headache. You will also be extremely sensitive to light, sound and smell. Nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea are some other side effects. The pain can cause loss of appetite and tender scalp and may make you appear pale. In the worst case, the person may also have a fever.

postdrome

This is the withdrawal phase where other symptoms subside leaving behind a mild headache. Emotional imbalance makes a person feel overly happy or indifferent. You will have difficulty concentrating or processing things in this phase. The obvious after-effects of the attack are fatigue and irritability. Well, this stage is also known as ‘Migraine Hangover’. It may take a day or two for you to recover.

Note: The length and degree of steps may differ for some individuals from those described above. Sometimes, a phase may be missed altogether. You can sometimes experience a silent migraine, which is a migraine episode without a headache.

due to migraine

genetic

According to ResearchA family history of migraine increases the risk of the disease in its members. Furthermore, the majority of people who have migraines have reported having a first-degree relative who suffers from the same.

hormones

It was Erasmus Darwin who observed in 1886 that women were more likely to have a migraine attack than men. Since then, many studies In favor of the argument. Migraines are two to three times more common in women than in men.

Hormonal changes in a woman’s body during menstruation are believed to be responsible for this fanaticism. A significant drop in estrogen levels before the onset of menstrual flow acts as a trigger in this case. Premenstrual migraine, as we call it, usually starts one to three days before periods.

on the bright side, evidence It suggests that migraines are cured during pregnancy. This is because high levels of estrogen during periods help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. When your body is adjusting to the new change, you may initially experience repeated attacks. However, this should decrease after the first trimester. If your migraine does not improve or worsens after the first few months of pregnancy, contact your doctor as soon as possible as it can be a warning sign for later complications.

Menopause, which is characterized by estrogen withdrawal, also makes migraine attacks more difficult to manage. However, many women have reported complete migraine relief after menopause.

What triggers migraine?

Given that a person has a migraine, there can be a variety of triggers for them, from lifestyle and diet to the environment. Here is a list of the most common ones:

emotional trigger

Although it is basically related to negative emotions such as stress, worry or anxiety, sometimes positive emotions such as excitement or surprise can also trigger a migraine. They provoke the release of several hormones that put the body under neurological stress in what is commonly referred to as a ‘fight or flight’ state. This can lead to increased muscle tension and dilation of blood vessels resulting in migraines.

food sensitivities

Different categories of food can trigger migraine symptoms in some people. Frozen, pickled, fermented or aged foods are some of the common ones. Sensitivity to certain chemicals or additives in food such as MSG, artificial sweeteners, and certain types of salt or nitrates can also be triggers for some individuals. For some people, migraines may be linked to caffeine or alcohol consumption.

sensory stimulation

It involves sensitivity to human sensibilities. Bright, flashing or flickering lights can trigger a migraine in the form of a loud noise. Exposure to pungent or strong odors or smoke can trigger a migraine in some others.

change in atmospheric pressure

Atmospheric pressure has an inverse relationship with the tissues of our body. When atmospheric pressure is high, it puts more pressure on our bodies and limits how much our tissues can expand. Conversely, when the pressure is low, it allows our tissues to expand more which puts more pressure on our nerves and other parts of our body. Fluctuations in atmospheric pressure are indicated by weather changes, thus are a common trigger for migraine patients. The change in altitude during air travel works in a similar way.

Medicine

Some medicines can cause migraines depending on how they affect your body. Birth control pills disturb the levels of estrogen and progestogen in a woman’s body and thus provoke migraine attacks. Other drugs that cause blood vessels to dilate or swell can also trigger it.

other reason

  • intense physical activity or exertion
  • sudden head shaking
  • skipping meals
  • dehydration
  • change in sleep patterns

diagnosis and treatment

To be sure that your headache falls under the category of migraine, the doctor will first rule out possible other causes, such as tumors, stroke, or abnormal brain development, through tests such as an MRI or CT scan. They may also recommend certain blood tests to know your overall health status.

Once it is established that there is no hidden cause behind the headache, the doctor may ask you a series of questions to conclude that you have a migraine. These may revolve around your personal experience.

It is advisable to maintain something called ‘Migraine Journal’ which will help the doctor to understand your case in depth and thus eliminate the possibility of misdiagnosis. You may want to record a few episodes of your headache before going to the doctor to get a bigger picture of your condition. Remember to tell your doctor if anyone in your close family has been diagnosed with migraine.

Your migraine journal may answer the following questions:

  1. What is the exact location of your headache? How serious is this?
  2. What are the concomitant symptoms?
  3. What is the frequency of your headaches?
  4. When do you usually get this type of headache?
  5. How Do Headaches Usually Start?
  6. Do you do anything to make it better? What is this?
  7. Do you take any medicine to reduce headache?
  8. How long does the headache last?
  9. How long does it take you to get back to your normal routine?

Try and be as specific as possible with your migraine journal. Use different strategies to define your position. For example, use a category to describe the severity of your headache where one is a pencil tip on your temples while 10 is someone drilling your head. This will only help your doctor treat him. The doctor may suggest preventive measures and prescribe medication depending on the intensity of your migraine.

coping techniques

There are a few things you can try at home that can ease the pain of a migraine. Lie down in a cool and dark room. Applying a cold or hot compress on the head can also provide relief.

research There are suggestions that massaging the muscles in the neck and shoulders can help relieve tension and reduce migraine pain. If you’re alone, you can try self-massage with a clean tennis ball. Stand straight with your back between the wall and the ball. Roll the ball against the wall with some pressure along your shoulders and back.

a 2022 Review noted that the short-term yoga intervention reduced clinical migraine symptoms. It also reduced anxiety, depression and stress in the long run thus improving migraine episodes.

healthy note

Migraine is a neurological disorder that can be triggered by changes affecting the hormonal balance in the brain, nerve communication or the functioning of blood vessels in the body. Even though migraines can affect individuals of any gender and age, those identified as women at birth have a higher risk of developing migraines between the ages of 15 and 55.

In the absence of an antidote for migraine, prevention is really the best treatment. Know your triggers and avoid them as much as you can. Adopt a healthy lifestyle by exercising daily and creating a proper sleep schedule. Do not skip meals and keep yourself hydrated at all times. Avoid taking stress and practice relaxation techniques as a habit. In the end, remember, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

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