Migraine is the condition normally referred to as a throbbing pain in the head

What is Migraine?

Migraine is the condition normally referred to as a throbbing pain in the head. The pain may be on one side of the head or both the sides. Migraine may last for 2- 72 hours. Sometimes there may be a warning signal known as ‘Aura’ to let you know the onset of Migraine.

What is the difference between Migraine with Aura and Migraine without Aura?

In Migraine the headache is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, throbbing pain on one side or both the sides of the head and the most significant sign of Migraine is ‘Aura’.

Migraine without ‘Aura’ is normal headache which is not accompanied by the above signs.

Migraine without Aura lasts for relatively shorter periods.

What are the causes of Migraine?

The scientific cause of Migraine is the enlargement of blood vessels in the skull and the subsequent release of certain chemicals due to pressure on the nerve fibres that are wrapped around these vessels. During a headache if an artery or blood vessel is enlarged then it pressurizes the nerve fibres which then release chemicals which cause inflammation, pain and further enlargement of the blood vessels causing more throbbing pain.

Other factors may act as triggers of Migraine.

What are the triggers of Migraine?

Likely triggers of Migraine are:

  • Allergy or allergic reactions
  • Stress
  • Bright lights, perfumes & odours, harsh sounds and smoke
  • Irregular sleep pattern
  • Fasting
  • Alcohol
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Birth control pills and hormonal changes
  • Certain foods like wine, cheese, fish, peanuts, citrus fruits and pickles

Headache caused by tension

What are the signs and symptoms of Migraine?

Onset of Migraine is characterized by “Aura”. An aura is a visual disturbance where you see flashes of light, zigzag lines travelling in your line of vision, blind spots in front of your eyes, pricking sensation in the skin and weakness. This is known as Migraine with Aura.

Other symptoms include:

Nausea, vomiting, yawning, irritability, low blood pressure, sensitivity to lights, sound and motion, dark circles under the eyes.

How is Migraine with Aura diagnosed?

After some physical examinations your doctor may ask you questions about your family and medical history, any stress, any other medications, triggers like allergens and other factors like sinus.

The condition of Migraine will be determined if all or most of the signs and symptoms are present and if there are some other underlying conditions then further tests may be advised by your doctor.

Your General practitioner may help you with treatment and sometimes the advice of a Neurologist may be necessary.

Can Migraine be prevented?

There is no cure for Migraine. But Migraine is not infectious or contagious nor life threatening. Most of the Migraine cases are gene related. Migraines may develop later on due to exposure to factors or triggers. More women than men suffer from Migraine. Even children are affected by this condition.

Migraine is a throbbing pain which can affect your physical work for some time, but if one takes care to avoid the triggers by noting down in a diary about what triggered a Migraine attack then it can be managed.

The factors cannot be controlled but the response can be by self relaxation and self hypnosis.

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