Tuesday, 6 December 2011

What are the causes and symptoms of Migraine?

A lot of people suffer from migraine.  But what is Migraine? 
The simple definition regarding a migraine can be ‘A condition in which the person has tremendous headache which is generally on one side of the head and body.  It is mostly associated with people who work under stress or are workaholics.’

A migraine affects every one in seven adults in UK alone.  It is a very common disorder which is faced by many.  In US around 30 million people are affected by migraine.
Migraine is related directly to the nervous system of the body.  It is caused due to enlargement of blood vessels.  Almost 75% of the migraine patients are women.

Causes of Migraine –
·        Triggers play a very important part in being the cause for migraine.  Triggers such as Hunger, fatigue or stress are related to migraine.  Also the hormonal buildup of the person influences the extent of the migraine.
·        Another cause of migraine can be that of genetics.  It is found out that migraine is common to about 30% of the people if they have a family history of migraine.
·        Low serotonin levels can also cause migraine.  Serotonin keeps the brain from functioning properly by keeping the blood flow in check.  Low serotonin level may imbalance the blood flow resulting in migraine.
·        Certain hormonal changes in women can bring about severe headaches which can result in migraine.  This can happen during periods or before periods due to the drop in estrogen level.  Menopause or pregnancy are other factors which may result in migraines.
·        Fasting, skipping meals or effects of certain foods and beverages like alcohol, beer, caffeine, chocolate or salt, among other food may trigger migraine in certain people.
·        Another cause of migraine can be sensory stimuli which may consists of sun glare or bright lights or even pleasant smells like scents or perfumes.
·        Sleeping disorders or over-sleeping may also trigger off migraines in certain cases.
·        A change in environment or effect of certain medications such as birth control pills can also result in this disorder.

As such, there are a number of factors which contribute towards the stimulation of migraines.

Symptoms of Migraine:
Migraine can be identified easily by a number of symptoms, the most common among them are:-
·        Pain on one side of the head and body, starting from behind the eye.
·        Nausea and vomiting feelings are the other indicators.  A person feels sick and has a feeling of nausea and vomiting all the time along with severe headaches.
·        Digestive problems are mostly seen during a migraine attack.
·        All these problems create difficulty in concentrating and as such disturb the regular routine.
·        Migraine may at times trigger off short period of depression.
·        Difficulty in speaking and numbness in neck and head portion.
·        High sensitivity to light and sound.
·        Loss of appetite.
·        Problems in co-ordination.

Treatment of Migraine –
·        The most important part to reduce migraine is to keep a journal and noting down the daily symptoms and the period of your migraines.  This can make a difference in knowing what the causes are and how to deal with them.
·        The local remedies may consist of sleeping in a dark room or cold bag compression to your face and neck.  Try putting pressure on the pulse points of the forehead or neck.
·        Pain-killers can be taken to stop severe headaches but this should not form a habit as it may reduce the overall effect of pain-killers in the long run. 
·        Other over-the-counter medicines like aspirin or anti-emetic medicines may be taken to reduce sickness feeling.
·        A medicine known as triptans (SHT agonists) is a known prescription for migraine.  But these are to be taken under medical guidance only.
·        As the main cause of migraine is relating to stress, certain stress relieving techniques such as CD’s and books relating to stress relief can be referred to. Yoga and meditation also helps to reduce stress and anxiety which are the main causes of migraines.
·        A new technique known as Cognitive behavioral Therapy can be tested out with a trained therapist which tries to remove the negative feelings and stress that may cause migraines.
·        Acupuncture and Acupressure are other treatments that can be referred to.

Prevention of migraine is the best treatment for migraine.  For this regular exercise and physical activity can be carried out as this relieves the stress and anxiety.  Also, preventive medicines can be referred to while dealing with migraines.

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