Migraine is a condition marked by recurring moderate to severe headache with throbbing pain that usually lasts from four hours to three days. It typically begins on one side of the head but may spread to both sides and is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound and sometimes preceded by an aura and is often followed by fatigue.
The exact cause of migraine headaches is not clearly understood, though experts believe they are due to a combination of the expansion of blood vessels and the release of certain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin which have been found to expand blood vessels which causing inflammation and pain.
these triggers are thought to bring about migraine in certain people prone to developing the condition although it affects people differently. They include:
- Certain foods, especially chocolate, cheese, nuts, alcohol
- Missing a meal
- Stress and tension
- Birth control pills are a common trigger
- Smoking may cause migraines or interfere with their treatment.
Types of Migraine Headaches
- Migraine without aura: A common migraine that doesn’t begin with an aura.This type of migraine causes a throbbing pain on one side of the head. The headache lasts 4 to 72 hours if it is not treated. The pain is moderate to severe and gets worse with normal physical activity.
- Migraine with aura: Some people with migraines get an aura up to 30 minutes before they have a migraine. Symptoms of the aura include seeing wavy lines, flashing lights, or objects that look distorted. Other symptoms include tingling or a “pins-and-needles” feeling.
- Menstrual migraine: Many women have migraines around their menstrual cycle. These occur a few days before, during, or right after their period.
- Migraine equivalent: Migraine equivalent is a migraine aura that is not followed by a headache. This form of migraine often happens after age 50 if you had migraines with aura when you were younger. The symptoms may include streaks or points of light moving across your field of vision.
- Complicated migraine: These are migraines that cause symptoms such as numbness and tingling, trouble speaking or understanding speech, or not being able to move an arm or leg. These symptoms go on after the headache goes away.
- Abdominal migraine: These migraines usually occur in children. The symptoms include vomiting or dizziness. The symptoms may occur about once a month.
Symptoms of migraines
Symptoms of migraine can start a while before the headache, immediately before the headache, during the headache, and after the headache.
- Moderate to severe pain, usually confined to one side of the head, but can occur on either side of the head.
- The pain is can be throbbing, pulsing pain.
- Increasing pain during physical activity or when straining.
- Inability to perform regular activities due to pain.
- Feeling sick and physically vomiting.
- Increased sensitivity to light and sound, relieved by lying quietly in a darkened room.
- Some people experience other symptoms such as sweating, temperature changes, stomach ache, and diarrhoea.
If you have migraines or a family history of migraines, a doctor trained in treating headaches (neurologist) will likely diagnose migraines based on your medical history, symptoms, and a physical and neurological examination.
Your doctor may also recommend the following tests.
- Blood tests:Your doctor may order these to test for blood vessel problems, infections in your spinal cord or brain, and toxins in your system.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): It can also help to detect tumors bleeding in the brain and other neurological conditions using radio waves..
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan: This helps doctors diagnose tumors and other problems in the brain.
- Spinal tap (lumbar puncture):Your doctor may recommend a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) if he or she suspects infections or another underlying condition in the brain
Some lifestyle alterations might help reduce migraine frequency, there is currently no single cure for migraine
- Getting enough sleep
- Reducing stress
- Drinking plenty of water
- Avoiding certain foods
- Regular physical exercise
If the above changes do not alleviate the symptoms or frequency of migraines, then treatment and prevention focus on avoiding triggers, controlling symptoms, and taking medicines.
Treatment of migraine
Painkillers should be taken early rather than allowing the headache to develop. Over-the-counter medications like naproxen, ibuprofen and acetaminophen
- Nausea treating (antiemetic) drugs
Metoclopramide may be used to control symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.
Surgical decompression of the extra cranial sensory branches of the trigeminal and cervical spinal nerves have been shown to reduce or eliminate migraines in patients who don’t respond to traditional medical management.