Migraine: Causes, symptoms, and Treatment
by MedPlus Team, October 7, 2019
Overview of Migraine:
Migraine/Migraine headache is a neurological condition that causes severe, recurring painful headaches or throbbing pain is felt on one side of the head accompanied by nausea, vomiting, numbness or tingling, difficulty speaking, and sensitivity to light and sound. It affects all ages of people. These are typically last from 4-72 hours.
Migraine is diagnosed based on medical history, reported symptoms, and by ruling out other causes. There is no cure for migraine headaches but few drugs can help to manage the symptoms or prevent migraine headaches. Women are more likely than men to have migraines. For some people, migraines may begin in childhood or may not occur until adulthood.
What triggers Migraine?
The exact cause of migraine is unknown. It is believed that migraine is the result of abnormal activity of brain cells; other reasons include:
a. Emotional triggers:
Depression, anxiety, stress, excitement, and shocks may result in migraine headaches.
b. Hormonal Changes:
During menstruation, women may experience migraine headaches due to hormonal changes.
Tiredness and insomnia or insufficient sleep, alcohol use, shoulder or neck tension, poor posture, and stress. All these may also lead to migraines.
Alcohol and caffeine may lead to migraine headaches in a few people. Some foods such as chocolates, cheese, citrus fruits, etc. Skipped meals and poor rehydration habits can contribute to migraines.
e. Use of Medicines:
Sleeping pills, medicines used for hormonal imbalance and combined contraceptive pills are also the triggers of migraines.
Flickering screens, strong odors, Passive smoking, and sound pollution may lead to migraine headaches. Stuffy rooms, change in temperature and bright lights are also possible triggers of migraines.
Currently, no treatment is available for migraines. Treatment can be given to manage the symptoms. Simple lifestyle changes that may help reduce the frequent attack of migraine headaches which includes:
a. Getting sound sleep
b. Avoid stress
c. Drinking plenty of water
d. Avoid food that triggers migraine headaches
f. Physical exercise (regular)
How To Treat at Home?
Just follow the simple tips below:
a. Sleep in a quiet dark room
b. Massage on your scalp or temples
c. Keep a cold cloth over the forehead or behind the neck
Some times migraine is treated with over the counter medicines. There are many painkillers to reduce the pain which include:
Other drugs include aspirin with caffeine, and acetaminophen, this combination can help reduce the intensity of the pain. However, all these drugs are available in pharmacies and online but consider taking the medication by physician’s advice.
Drugs to Treat Symptoms of Migraine:
Some people may experience nausea during migraine headaches. Metoclopramide may be used to control nausea and vomiting as well. Sumatriptan is another drug prescribed for severe migraines or migraines which never respond to OTC drugs.
a. Identify your migraine triggers and avoid those conditions
b. Drink lots of water
c. Do not skip your meals
d. Get sound sleep
e. Quit smoking
f. Reduce stressful conditions
g. Learn relaxation skills
Do follow the above changes if they are the reason for your migraine headaches. If the intensity of the headaches remains the same or attacks you frequently, promptly seek medical advice.