Migraine is a disorder characterized by repeated attacks of severe headache. A migraine headache causes throbbing or pulsating pain, usually on only one side of the head. These headaches are often associated with nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound; they generally last between four hours and three days. Migraine headaches, which are often misdiagnosed as sinus or tension headaches, are severe enough to interfere with sleep, work, and other everyday activities. They may occur as often as several times per week or as rarely as once or twice a year.
It is most common among people age 25 to 55, though it can affect children and teens as well. Migraine is about three times more prevalent in women than men; roughly one in five women and one in 16 men suffer from migraine.
Symptoms of migraine
There are symptoms of migraine that occur before, during or after the headache and they are said to progress through four stages. The four stages are prodrome, aura, attack and postdrome.
· The prodrome stage symptoms are hyperactivity, constipation, diarrhea, depression, neck stiffness and irritability. · The aura stage symptoms are vision loss, speech problems, tingling sensation in arms and legs and visual phenomena like bright spots, flashes of light or seeing various shapes.
Most people don’t need to see their GP when they get a migraine. However, you should see your GP if:
· your migraines become more frequent or get worse over time
· you have a sudden very severe headache
· you’re over 50 and you have never had a migraine before
· you get aura symptoms lasting more than an hour
· you have symptoms such as a fever or weight loss with the headache
· you have a child under the age of 10 that develops a migraine
Causes of migraine
It’s not fully understood what causes migraines, but it’s thought they may be caused by a chemical called serotonin. Serotonin affects the blood vessels in your brain. It’s not known exactly what causes the serotonin levels to change.
Migraine is also linked to your genes. About half of all people who get migraines have a close family member who also has them.
Some things can cause a migraine to start and these are called triggers. You may find it useful to keep a diary to spot the triggers that cause your migraines or make them worse.
Common triggers include:
· change in sleep patterns and tiredness
· poor posture or tension in your neck and shoulders
· certain food or drink – commonly chocolate, cheese, alcohol, caffeine
· loud noises
· bright or flickering lights
· strong smells
· strenuous exercise if you’re not used to it
· skipping meals
· not drinking enough fluid
Women may get migraines around the time of their periods and during the menopause.
Other less common triggers may include high blood pressure, smoking, toothache, eye strain or taking certain sleeping tablets.
Home remedies for migraines
Here are few home remedies that you can try to get relief from migraine.
· Migraines can be cured or lessened by some simple home remedies and the most common of them is to use the ice to wrap over the forehead and the eyes.
· Massaging the head also works, but one should not massage the temples when suffering from migraine.
· Avoiding caffeine drinks, alcohol and smoking can greatly help in reducing migraine and following a healthy diet that includes a lot of vegetables is also suggested.
· Direct sun light can also aggravate migraine. So avoid it.
· Garlic is beneficial in migraine. Include garlic in your diet or eat a piece of garlic each day.
· Drink hot tea when you feel a migraine coming. First, you want to relax your body. First drink the hot tea and allow your body to relax further. Migraines tense your body. If you can relax, the hot tea will do the rest. When you make the hot tea, add honey for best results. Chamomile tea or Mint tea works wonders!
· Take a hot shower and let the hot water penetrate into your neck. Stay in the shower for as long as you need. The more the hot water penetrated into your neck, the more pressure will be relieved. Repeat the showers as often as needed.
· Take deep breaths. Every time you feel a migraine coming, begin taking long, slow breaths. The more relaxed you feel, the better your changes for your migraine to go away. As you take deep breaths, allow all the tension to flow out of your body. Try to not think about any one thing.
Prevention of migraine
It’s important to learn to spot the signs and triggers of your migraine to help prevent them. The easiest way of doing this is by keeping a diary about your migraines.
Keeping active may also prevent migraines. The recommended healthy level of physical activity is 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate exercise over a week in bouts of 10 minutes or more. You can do this by carrying out 30 minutes on at least five days each week.