What is Migraine?
A migraine is a severe, painful headache that is accompanied by sensory warning signs such as flashes of light, blind spots, tingling in arms and legs, nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity towards light and sound. The acute pain (migraine) can last for hours or even for days.
Migraine headaches results from the combination of blood vessel enlargement and the release of the chemicals from nerve fibers that coil around these blood vessels. During the headache, an artery enlarges that is located on the outside of the skull under the skin of temporal artery. The artery enlargement releases chemicals that cause inflammation, a pain and the further enlargement of the artery.
A migraine headache causes a sympathetic nervous system to responds with feeling of nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. The response also delays the emptying of the stomach into small intestine which decreases blood circulation and increases sensitivity to light and sound.
Causes of Migraine:
• Allergies and allergic reaction
• Bright light, loud noise, smell or odors or perfumes
• Emotional and physical stress
• Irregular sleep or changes in the sleeping pattern
• Smoking or smoke exposure
• Skipping meals or fasting( hunger)
• Alcohol, especially red wine and beer
• Irregular menstrual cycle, birth control pills, change in hormone during menopause
• Tension headaches
• Foods containing tyramine (aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, beans), monosodium glutamate(MSG) or nitrates like bacon, hot dogs and salami.
• Caffeine, chocolates, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onion, dairy products and fermented foods and pickles.
Symptoms of migraine:
The symptoms depend on person to person. General symptoms of migraine are:
• Moderate to severe pain, at one side of the head.
• Pulsing and throbbing head pain( explosive pressure in the head)
• Increase in pain while doing a physical activity
• Inability to perform regular activities due to pain.
• Nausea, vomiting
Migraine with aura-
• Aura is a perceptual disturbance experienced by some people along with migraine or before the headache.
• The person gets sensitive towards strange light, unpleasant smell or confusing thoughts or experiences, blind spots, sensation of pins and needles in an arm or leg.
• The person feels stiffness in the shoulders, neck or limbs.
Who gets migraine?
According to the latest study women are more prone to migraine. It starts in childhood or as a young adult. Some people have frequent attacks and others experience less number of pain. In sometimes the pain stops later in adulthood. However, in some cases the pain is lifelong.
• After looking family history and symptoms experienced by the person physician diagnose migraine.
• Tests- Tests such as electroencephalography(EEG),computed tomography( CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spinal tap can also be performed to check:
-Bleeding within the skull
– Blood clot within the membrane that covers the brain
-Dilated blood vessel in the brain
– Cerebrospinal fluid
– Inflammation of the membrane of the brain or spinal cord
– Nasal sinus blockage
Treatment of Migraine
• Regular physical exercise
• Therapies- Abortive therapy and prophylactic therapies focus on avoiding triggers, control symptoms.
• Medication- Medicines such as Paracetamol and anti-inflammatory painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen helps in relieving the pain. Painkillers reduce the severity of pain. So the person should consume medicine at the onset of the pain.
• Injection- Injections like Occipital nerve block and Sphenopalatine ganglion block are given in chronic migraines. BOTOXR injections are FDA-approved preventive treatment to reduce migraine and headaches monthly.
Migraine treatment exclusive in India at our clinic
• BOTOX injection
• Occipital nerve block
• Sphenopalatine ganglion block