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A Guide to Migraines

A Guide to Migraines

A Guide to Migraines

From the advancement of scientific knowledge and discovery, the world and modern-day lifestyles have become increasingly fast-paced. The constant race of getting ahead has taken a lot from humanity. The diminishing health and wellness of humans these days is a prime example. There are many other common health problems prevailing amongst us nowadays which our ancestors probably could not have even though about many decades ago. One of them is what we refer to today as the migraine.

What is Migraine?

Migraines are an extreme type of headache with feelings of hammering pain and palpitations, usually on just one side of the head.

Causes of Migraine:

1- Stress: Physical or psychological stress, tension or anxiety can cause migraines

2- Hormonal Changes: Shifts in hormonal levels during pregnancy and menstrual cycles can often trigger migraine pain.

3- Medications: Certain contraceptives and vasodilators can provoke migraine pain.

4- Sensory Stimuli: Beaming and bright lights, loud sound and some strong smells can also cause aggravate pain.

5- Foods: Additives in food and some food items like old cheese and processed food items also increase pain.

6- Physical Exertion: Physical stress like intense activity, workouts and sexual activity can increase migraine pain.

7- Weather and Pressure: Atmospheric pressure and changes in weather can also trigger migraine pain.

8- Caffeine: Having too much coffee and tea can also prompt severe pain.

9- Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can aggravate migraine pain to an extreme.

10- Sleep: Sleeping too much or not sleeping enough both can trigger migraines.

Symptoms of Migraine:

Did you know? Migraine symptoms have 4 stages.

1- Prodrome: This is the point of warning that signals an upcoming migraine, and the symptoms of this stage can start some days or hours before the actual migraine pain. Common symptoms you may notice include:

  • Fluid retention
  • Neck stiffness
  • Frequent yawning
  • Constipation
  • Changes in mood like euphoria, depression etc.
  • Frequent urination

2- Aura: The symptoms of this stage are present for a shorter duration of time, usually a few minutes to an hour. They can occur before or during migraine attack and are mostly related to vision.

They are as follows:

  • Loss of vision
  • Seeing flashy, bright spots of light and different shapes.
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Numbness in one side of the body
  • Needle or pin-like sensations in the legs and/or arms.

3- During Migraine Attack: The duration of the migraine attack varies from person to person, however it can usually last from 4 to 72 hours if left untreated.

During the actual attack, you might suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Throbbing pain
  • Pain on or both sides of the head

4- Postdrome: This stage occurs after the migraine attack. You might feel as if you are exhausted and drained, and the severe pain can cause weakness and confusion.

Types of Migraine: There are two main types of migraines:

1- Common Migraine

2- Classic Migraine

Common Migraine

Classic Migraine

Mostly prevalent type

Less prevalent type

Palpitating pain on one side of head.

Before the attack of classic migraine, people may get an aura for about thirty minutes.

Intensity of the pain is moderate to severe however; intensity can increase after even normal levels of physical activity.

Other symptoms of aura include blurring of vision, and feelings of pins and needles.

Duration of headache is about 4 to 72 hours if you are not seeking any treatment.

Duration of symptoms is shorter than common migraine.

 

Other types of migraines include:

  • Menstrual Migraine: Some women experience this type of migraine, before, during or after menstruation.
  • Abdominal Migraine: Symptoms of this migraine do not include headache, but vomiting and weakness. Mostly children suffer from this type of migraine.
  • Migraine Equivalent: This type of migraine occurs in people after 50 years of age. Headache is not a symptom of migraine equivalent.
  • Complicated Migraine: In this type of migraine, further symptoms continue or start after the main headache finishes. These include slurred speech, tingling feeling, numbness, and difficulty in moving the legs and/or arms.

Management of Migraine Through Medicines:

Symptoms of migraines can be managed and relieved by taking certain medications, however, there are also drugs that prevent migraines in the first place, which should be prioritized. Don’t forget however, that no medicine should be used without the advice of a doctor and/or pharmacist.

 Let’s go through examples of both types.

Drugs for Preventing Headache:

Classes of Medicines

Generic Names

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug

Diclofenac, Ibuprofen, Naproxen Sodium etc.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Amitriptyline

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors

Venlafaxine, Duloxetine etc.

Calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibitors

Eptinezumab, Galcanezumab, Erenumab etc.

Anticonvulsants

Valproate, Topiramate etc.

Botulinum toxin type A

Onabotulinumtoxin A

Beta blockers

Atenolol, Propranolol, Metoprolol etc.

 

Drugs for Treating Headache:

Categories

Generic Names

Over the counter drugs

Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Naproxen etc.

Triptans

Almotriptan, Zolmitriptan, Sumatriptan succinate etc.

Ergot

Dihydroergotamine

Ditan

Lasmiditan

 

Drugs for the Treatment of Nausea:

Categories

Generic Names

Promethazine Hydrochloride

Phenergan

Chlorpromazine

Thorazine

Metoclopramide

Reglan

Prochlorperazine

Compazine

 

Some of the above listed medicines are available only in tablets, while others are as injections or tablets or suppositories. The route of administration is determined by the condition of a patient, according to the advice of a doctor.

 

Manage Migraine with Home Remedies:

Here are some home remedies that will surely help you to get rid of the extreme symptoms of migraine.

1- Keep yourself hydrated as much as possible. Drinking adequate amounts of water can help in reducing headaches.

2- Smell or apply essential oils like peppermint or lavender oil. It will soothe you and reduce pain.

3- Apply bags of ice on your head or neck to reduce the intensity of migraine pain. You can also achieve similar results by soaking your hands in ice cold water.

4- Make ginger tea by boiling a piece of ginger in water. Drink this to reduce inflammation and treat nausea, vomiting and headache. Ginger is a great antioxidant as well.

5- Eat a magnesium rich diet that includes food like eggs, almonds, peanut butter, and sunflower seeds.

Verdict

The management of migraines is not as difficult as it seems to be, as the information in this blog demonstrates. First of all, you should be familiar with the condition you are suffering from. Then, try to manage symptoms through a healthy diet and lifestyle. However, when needed, do take medicines as prescribed by the doctor for further relief. Most importantly, stay in discussion with your doctor and pharmacist throughout the process and don’t forget to go in for checkups and consultations when necessary.

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