Migraine: Stages, Treatments and Home Remedies

Migraine

Migraine is described as a very severe headache that affects only one side of the head. It is usually accompanied by disturbed vision, sensitivity to light, sound and nausea. It can cause excessive throbbing pain that can last from hours to days.

Pain is usually extremely inefficient. Some warning signs of migraine are, feeling of tingling on your face, feet or hands, blind spot and sunlight. Some medications can give you relief from this. It usually begins from early adulthood, adolescence or childhood.

Difference Between Headache And Migraine.

The main cause of headache is the contraction of the muscles between the head and neck. It is a dull pain that feels across the head. It is mild to moderate and in extreme cases, can last for a few days. Generally, it lasts from half an hour to a few hours.

On the contrary, migraine is very severe in medium to intensity. It is a throbbing and severe pain that is felt in the side or in front of the head. It lasts for a few days and comes with some other symptoms called aura.

No major warning signs have found during headache. On the other hand, auras are already in the migraine. These can be visual, auditory, psychological or physical. These are caused by neurological changes in the brain.

For example, basilar migraine is presented with fainting symptoms, such as loss of double vision and balance and familial hemoplegic’ migraine is characterized by reversible paralysis.

During headache, patient may not have several symptoms. Whereas in a migraine attack, the patient faces difficulty in doing his day-to-day activities, cannot sleep or relax and may have symptoms of aura.

Headaches rarely begin during sleep in migraine. In addition, headaches often relieve with over-the-counter medications and relaxation techniques. For migraine, it is best to avoid them.

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Footnote.

Headaches and migraine are two different things. Headache is the contraction of the muscles between the head and the neck. Whereas, migraine is a severe throbbing pain which occurs in the side or in front of the head.

Stages of Migraine.

Prodrome.

Two or three days before having migraine, you may have warnings like subtle changes such as constipation, intense mood swings, food craving, stiffness in the neck, frequent urination, increased thirst and frequent yawning.

Aura.

This usually happens during or before migraine. They usually have signs such as zigzag vision, light vision and flashes of light. Sometimes there may be a characteristic of speech disturbances. These symptoms can last for 20 minutes to 1 hours.

Attack.

Migraine usually lasts for 4 to 72 hours, if it is not treated. The frequency of occurrence of a headache may vary from person to person. At this stage, you may experience headache pain on both sides or one side of your head, sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting and fainting.

Post Drome.

This is also known as the final stage of migraine. Many people feel weak and tired. Several people may also experience confusion, mood, weakness, dizziness and sensitivity to light and sound.

Footnote.

There are four stages of migraine, i.e., prodrome, aura, attack and post drome. Every stages have different types of symptoms.

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Symptoms of Migraine.

Following are some signs and symptoms of migraine;

  • Pulsatile headache or throbbing, accompanied by moderate pain that intensifies and becomes severe with movement or physical activity.
  • Pain in the ocular and frontotemporal region.
  • Pain can also be felt around the head or neck.
  • The headache lasts for 4-72 hours.
  • Light-headedness, sensitivity to sound, light and formation of progressive pain.
  • Sensitivity to sound, light and smell.
  • Vomiting and feeling sick.
  • Distraught vision.
Footnote.

There are many signs and symptoms of migraine. The common symptoms are severe headache which last for 4-72 hours, vomiting, feeling sick and many more.

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Trigger Agents for Migraine.

Trigger agents for migraine like sudden stress, anxiety, depression, poor posterior, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, dehydration, hunger, stench, noise, sunny headaches, menstruation, menopause, low blood sugar, hypoglycemia, high sugars in the diet, excessive exercise, contraceptives, drugs, dehydration, alcohol, too much screen time and unhealthy diet.

It can be a difficult task to find out what type of migraine a person is suffering from. The best way to deal with this is to make a list of items and keep checking them every single time in a few weeks who has been attacked.

Some things you must cut off to reduce the attacks of migraine such as wine, aged cheeses, chocolates, artificial sweeteners, citrus fruits, meats, dried fish, dried fruits and dehydration.

Footnote.

Migraine attacks can trigger due to many reasons like unhealthy diet, alcohol, excessive exercise and stress etc.

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Causes of Migraine.

  • Hormonal changes such as estrogen fluctuations cause a headache in women. It is common to found acute migraines during menopause or pregnancy in majority of women.
  • Foods like processed, salty food and cheeses can also cause migraine.
  • Alcohol intake is the leading cause of excessive migraine in people.
  • Stress of life or work can also cause migraine.

Prevention.

  • Keep an eye on headaches: With it, you can recognize a pattern such as you get an episode in the afternoon or in the weekend.
  • Persistent lifestyle habits: This means following a fixed time for your meal, sleep and exercise to help the body determine a pattern.
  • Eat natural whole food: Always prefer natural and whole food as these food help to prevent migraine. As well as you must avoid sugar, processed foods, MSG (mono sodium glutamate) and nitrite. As those agents may trigger migraine.
  • Manage stress: It can prove to be more efficient in preventing an attack than taking medication to relieve symptoms.
  • Consider complementary therapies: Acupuncture, herbal remedies and moxibustion can prove beneficial. Moxibustion is a kind of therapy involves, here we apply herbs on targeted parts of your body.
  • Migraine devices: Neuromodulation, cefaly, trigeminal nerve stimulantion (TNS), STMS (single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulator) and gamma core that stimulate the obscure nerve.
  • Natural dietary supplements: Riboflavin (vitamin B2), magnesium, coenzyme Q10 and melatonin are some dietary supplements.
Footnote.

Migraine can be prevented by the change of lifestyle, managing stress, eating healthy foods and undergoing some therapies etc.

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Treatment of Migraine.

Migraine is a complex medical condition with several symptoms. For most people, the main problem is severe and painful headaches. There are several ways to treat migraine headaches, including self-care measures, drug intake and over-the-counter medications. Most individuals can take care of a mild to moderate attack with the following strategies;

  • Applying cold compresses to areas of pain.
  • Relaxing with pillows that support the neck and head.
  • Caffeine Intake.

Such treatment helps to relieve headaches and prevent future attacks. There are many drugs to combat the condition. Drugs used to treat migraine can be classified into two broad categories;

Preventive Drugs.

OTC Medicine for Migraine.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen fall into this category. Such drugs should avoid, those who have a history of stomach bleeding and ulcers.

Acetaminophen: It is quite safe to take acetaminophen, even if the person who is suffering from migraine has a history of bleeding and ulcers in the abdomen. However, this medicine should be avoided by people who have liver problems.

Combination Medicine: Some painkillers such as excedrin migraine, including acetaminophen and aspirin are combined with caffeine to deal with migraine.

Footnote.

Migraine can be treated at home but if the pain becomes severe, then you must consult with the doctor and the prescribed medicine should be consumed as per the instruction.

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Other Treatment Options.

If one suffers from chronic migraine pain and is not cure with the drugs, he can opt for several unconventional methods to fight headaches.

Acupuncture is one such option. It has been observed that this treatment, in which the doctor inserts several thin, disposable needles in many areas of the skin at prescribed points, find positive results in this treatment.

Biofeedback, massage therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy are some other non-traditional ways of treating it. Although studies have shown mixed results, there is some evidence of herbs like feverfew and butterbur that reduce the severity of migraine to some extent.

Medicines.

If ordinary painkillers are not relieving migraine headaches, a drug called tryptone may need to be taken in addition with other painkillers and anti-disease drugs. These are specific medications for this headaches by bringing some changes in the brain. In migraine, blood vessels cause specific types of headaches and tryptone are used to narrow these vessels. This medicine is available in the form of tablets, injections and nasal sprays.

Similarly, antiemitics can used to treat migraine, if no one has experienced vomiting. It is taken immediately when you found any symptoms. Usually, they come in the form of tablets, but can also be available as suppository. Side effects are drowsiness and diarrhea.

Combination drugs are also available for the management of migraine. However, the disadvantage of this medicine is that the dose of painkiller or antiemetic may not be high to relieve the symptoms. In such cases, it is better to take painkillers and antiemetics separately rather than combinations to be able to effectively relieve the symptoms.

Side Effects of Treatment.

Medicine does not always completely prevent headaches and it may cause some side effects, such as;

  • Topiramate can cause diarrhoea, nausea, weight loss, memory loss and increase lack of concentration.
  • Tryptone can cause tingling sensations, stiffness in the throat, chest and flushing.
  • Ergotamines can cause nausea.
  • Beta-blockers can cause dilation, fatigue, nausea, low blood pressure and dizziness.
  • Calcium channel blockers can cause constipation, weight gain, low blood pressure and dizziness.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants can cause dryness in mouth, weight gain, low libido and fainting.

Home Remedies for Migraine.

  • Ice packs on the forehead, neck or scalp can relieve pain by reducing blood supply.
  • Over the counter drugs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or neproxen do not require any prescriptions and are well known painkillers.
  • Caffeine is another ingredient present in coffee and in many other foods and drinks that not only relieve headaches but also help the body to easily absorb anti-migraine drugs.
  • Dark and calm environments can help as bright light and loud sound can worsen headaches.
  • Exercising can prevent this episodes, as regular exercise release endorphins, relieving stress and provide you a better sleep. But this should not be attempted when you face sudden attacks as it may cause headache.
  • Magnesium found in green vegetables, nuts and whole grains helps to prevent migraine attacks.
  • Adequate sleep for about 7 to 8 hours, helps to prevent the attack. However, too much or too little sleep is the trigger factor.
  • Regular practice of yoga can reduce the attacks and make them less intense when they occur.
  • Vitamin B2, riboflavin, milk, cheese, fish and chicken protect you from the attack.
  • Figuring out what triggers a migraine attack and avoiding it is the best way to reduce the number of episodes.

Frequently Asked Questions.

1. Is migraine curable?

Migraines are not curable at all. But if you take proper medicines and look after your lifestyle you can get relief from this.

2. Who needs treatment of Migraine?

If a person has exhausting attacks more than 4 times per month and each attack lasts for more than 12 hours, he or she needs to be treated for migraine preventive therapy. People in need of preventive therapy may experience aura or weakness for a long time and the painkillers does not effective for them.

3. Who is not eligible for treatment of Migraine?

Cardiovascular drugs are widely used during migraine prevention therapy. Therefore, if the patient is over 60 years old, uses tobacco or has some heart issues, he or she should consult with the doctor for some alternative medication.

4. What are the post-treatment guidelines for Migraine?

It is recommended to lead a relatively stress-free lifestyle, as it is one of the most common factors that can trigger an attack. In addition, regular sleep that involves a sufficient amount of sleep is very important for those who have a history of migraine.

5. How long does Migraine take to recover?

Prevention of migraine does not always ensure complete independence from the disease; It is more targeted towards reducing the frequency and severity of the attack. The person suffering from the attack may take about 4 hours to about 72 hours in the worst cases to recover.

6. What is the cost of treating Migraine in India?

The cost of treatment varies depending on the particular form of treatment of the patient. Traditional medicines are not much costlier. The price of the newly introduced Botox treatment is about Rs. 19,200 to Rs. 38,400.

7. Are the results of treatment of Migraine permanent?

Migraine is often a chronic condition in adults. Prevention can reduce the frequency, severity and longevity of medical attacks, but sometimes the headache does not occur daily.

Bottom Line.

Migraine is a type of headache that causes severe pain on both or one side of the head. It lasts from 2 hours to several days. Migraine headaches are higher than other headaches. It is basically a neurological problem.

A proper care should be taken in order to get relief from it, like avoid stress, a healthy eating habits, taking adequate sleep etc.

If the pain becomes more severe it will be better to consult your doctor.

Nebadita - Author

Nebadita - Author

Earned M.Sc in Applied Nutrition Degree from National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, ICMR. 8 years of experience in the field of nutrition, health and fitness. Currently serving in the Eastern branch of ICMR.

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