are headaches of a severe and chronic nature. They are usually
accompanied by nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances which
can last from up to a few hours to a few days.
Pain located on one side of head: The pain usually begins
on one side of the head, at the temple, and can spread downward
to the eye, face, and even neck.
pain: Migraine sufferers almost always complain of throbbing
pain on only one side of the head, usually around the temple.
Occasionally, a migraine causes pain all over the head.
Pain, aggravated by activity: The simple act of moving
may be difficult if you have a migraine, and pain may be aggravated
or worsen from activity.
Sensitivity to light sounds and smells: During (and sometimes
prior to) a migraine attack, many sufferers experience strong,
painful reactions to light, loud noises, and certain odors.
Aura or the warnings of migraine
An aura is a single symptom or set of symptoms the patient
sometimes experiences immediately before the onset of a headache.
It can serve as a warning that a headache will follow. It
may consist of visual symptoms, smells or unusual odors.
Visual Aura: Patients often describe bright, shimmering
lights around objects or at the right or left edges of their
field of vision. This is known as scintillating scotoma. It
may gradually enlarge to occupy the entire field of vision.
Some patients have the feeling of being temporarily blinded.
Others experience patterns of zigzag lines or images. Some
patients experience bizarre hallucinations.
Other Aura: Some patients feel a tingling or numbness
on the face, tongue, or extremities. This may start in one
location and spread throughout the body. Other auras include
motor weakness, speech or language abnormalities, dizziness,
vertigo, and abdominal symptoms.
The exact cause of a migraine is not known. It tends to run
in families and this family history of migraine may be one
cause of the headache. Vascular theory states that a migraine
is a disturbance of blood flow to the head.
vessels in the head and face become engorged and dilated.
This excess pain causes the pain. It is widely accepted that
there are a number of factors that can trigger an attack.
Knowing what is likely to precipitate an attack will give
you a head start in learning to manage your migraine. Migraine
triggers can be grouped as follows:
Physical (fatigue, over-exertion, over-relaxation)
Psychological (stress, excitement, worry, shock, anxiety)
Diet (consumption of alcohol or particular food, missing
Medical (blood pressure, dental problems)
Hormonal (menstruation or oral contraceptives)
Other factors (loud noise, bright lights, TV, strong smells)
Because there are such a variety of triggers you could be
forgiven for thinking that life in general is enough to give
you a headache! It is for this reason that it is important
to try to discover those which apply to you so that you can
avoid them or at least have advance warning of an attack.
Food: Certain food types contain chemicals, which can
trigger a migraine attack. The most likely ones are cheese,
chocolate, alcohol (red wine and port especially) and citrus
fruits. Often, missing meals can trigger an attack, especially
Hormonal: Many women find that they suffer migraine
at the same time as, or just before their periods. This is
linked to hormonal changes. If this happens to you, try to
avoid additional triggers at this time of the month and make
sure that you have fast acting treatment on hand if an attack
Stress: Stress or relaxing after a particularly stressful
time, can also trigger migraine. Certain activities or occasions
such as travel or social events can also lead to an attack.
Sleeping patterns: Lack of sleep can trigger migraine
attacks, as can too much sleep - some people find that they
get migraine after a weekend sleep binge.
If you are prone to migraine attacks
During a severe attack splash cold water on the face,
then lie down in a dark room and rest
Regularise your life style
Work in congenial atmosphere
Take adequate sleep
Practice regular bowel habits
Take a break from your daily routine
Do not overwork yourself physically or mentally
Being under sun for long
Overstraining your eyes
Long working hours in ill-ventilated rooms
Try to avoid artificial sweeteners. They are suspected
to be migraine inducers
Avoid white flour products
Avoid pickles, preserved foods, canned foods, pastas etc.
Overeating is best avoided
Eat small and frequent meals
Drinking 2 to 3 glasses of water at a stretch is recommended
Migraine in children
Migraine is a common cause of headaches in children although
it should always be medically diagnosed. In fact, one child
in nine between the ages of five and fifteen suffers from
attacks of migraine - they may describe them as a sick
headache or even a headache in the tummy.
Although childhood migraine does not differ essentially from
adult migraine, the headache symptoms may not be as pronounced
and nausea, sickness and stomach ache are more common. If
you think that your child may be suffering from migraine,
try to ensure that he or she does not miss meals - especially
breakfast and before exercising - and avoid those foods known
to trigger an attack.
Homeopathy and migraine
Homeopathy treats patients based on the personality of the
person. Homeopathic medication is safe even for newborns,
children, pregnant women and the elderly people. It helps
people mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Hence
migraines can be successfully treated with homeopathy.
writer is the chairman and managing director of Dr Batras
Positive Health Clinic Ltd. and can be contacted at email@example.com)