There are triggers and warning signs that one notices through the battle with migraine, but there is no known definitive cause. All you can do is understand what triggers your migraine and avoid them.
It might seem like a losing battle, but there are some tricks to stay ahead of the pain.
Understanding A Migraine
A migraine is a prevalent neurological condition that manifests through various symptoms, with the most notable being a throbbing, pulsating headache typically affecting one side of the head. Physical activity, and exposure to lights, sounds, or smells can exacerbate the intensity of the migraine.
These episodes last for a minimum of four hours, and in some cases, persist for days. Migraines are often accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and heightened sensitivity to light and sound. The intensity of the pain can be so severe that it significantly hinders normal daily activities.
Causes for Migraine
While headache is the common factor, no two people experience a migraine the same way. This is probably because researchers are yet to find the root cause of migraines. There are triggers and warning signs that one notices through the battle with migraine, but there is no known definitive cause. All you can do is understand what triggers your migraine and avoid them.
Migraine triggers can vary from person to person, but here are some common triggers that can potentially induce migraines:
Emotional or physical stress can trigger migraines in many individuals. This includes stress from work, relationships, or major life events.
Fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly in women, can contribute to migraines. This includes hormonal changes during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or menopause.
Certain foods and beverages are known to trigger migraines in some individuals, such as aged cheeses, chocolate, alcohol (especially red wine), processed meats, and foods containing additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Irregular meal patterns, fasting, or skipping meals can trigger migraines due to changes in blood sugar levels
Sensitivity to environmental factors like strong smells (perfumes, smoke, chemicals), bright or flickering lights, loud noises, or changes in weather patterns (barometric pressure changes) can function as triggers for migraines.
Lack of sleep, irregular sleep schedules, or excessive sleep can trigger migraines in some people.
Strenuous physical activity or intense exercise, especially if it is sudden or not part of the regular routine, can trigger migraines.
While caffeine can provide temporary relief for some individuals, excessive consumption or sudden withdrawal can trigger migraines in others.
Certain medications, such as vasodilators or hormonal medications, can contribute to migraines as a side effect.
It is important to note that triggers can be individualized, and not everyone will experience migraines from the same triggers. Identifying and avoiding personal triggers can be helpful in managing migraines and reducing their frequency or severity.
The Migraine Aura
In certain individuals, migraines may be preceded or accompanied by what is known as an Aura, which is a temporary symptom that affects the nervous system and can last up to 60 minutes. While they commonly manifest as visual disturbances, they can also encompass other sensory disruptions.
Here are some examples of migraine auras:
– Vision Distortion or Loss
These may involve perceiving various shapes, bright spots, or flashes of light in the visual field. In extreme cases, some individuals may experience temporary loss of vision or partial blindness during an aura.
– Tingling sensation
Some people experience “pins and needles” sensations in their arms or leg, often on one side of the body.
– Weakness or numbness
Auras can cause weakness or numbness, typically affecting the face or one side of the body.
– Difficulty speaking
Some people may experience challenges with speech or language such as stuttering or confusion, during a migraine aura.
Migraines can manifest through a range of symptoms that can vary from person to person. Here are some common migraine symptoms:
The hallmark symptom of a migraine is a moderate to severe headache, often pulsating or throbbing, typically on one side of the head. However, some individuals may experience headaches on both sides or throughout the head.
Migraine sufferers often become sensitive to external stimuli, such as bright lights (photophobia), loud sounds (phonophobia), or strong odours (osmophobia).
Many people with migraines experience nausea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting or an upset stomach.
As mentioned earlier, some individuals may experience visual disturbances or other sensory changes known as auras before or during a migraine. These can include seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, blind spots, or experiencing tingling sensations in the limbs.
Migraines can leave individuals feeling drained, tired, and lacking energy even after the headache subsides.
Referred to as “brain fog,” migraines can cause difficulties with concentration, memory, and overall cognitive function.
Some people experience stiffness and tension in the neck and shoulder muscles during a migraine episode.
Some individuals may notice increased thirst and more frequent trips to the bathroom during a migraine attack.
The Silent Attack
A Silent Migraine is when you can have any of the above-mentioned symptoms, often more than one, but you do not feel pain! While a throbbing headache is the classic symptom of a migraine, some individuals have migraine episodes without pain at all. However, this does not mean it is an altogether pleasant experience.
Here are some ways silent migraines can affect the body:
An ocular migraine, also known as a retinal migraine or visual migraine, is a specific type of migraine that primarily affects vision. It is characterized by temporary visual disturbances or changes that typically occur in one eye. These visual symptoms can be alarming but usually resolve on their own within a short period, typically less than an hour. Here are some key features of an ocular migraine:
The treatment of migraines typically involves a combination of lifestyle changes, preventive measures, and symptom management. The specific approach may vary depending on the severity and frequency of migraines as well as individual factors. Here are some common treatment options:
CONSULTANT – NEUROLOGY
MBBS, MD (GENERAL MEDICINE), DM (NEUROLOGY), PH.D