Migraine is undoubtedly one of the most irritating and frustrating ailments that people suffer from. In fact, it is so common that more than 15 people out every 100 in UK suffer from the illness along with 12% of the total population in USA. Most patients live in the fear of suffering from an attack at the most inopportune moment, which often hinders their day to day tasks. To fight the ailment in an effective manner, it is important for the patients to be aware of what the illness is all about, including its symptoms and causes!
What Exactly Is Migraine?
Migraine is a health condition wherein the patients suffer from attacks of severe, excruciating pain in the head. The headaches occur as a result of specific psychological changes taking place within the brain, which tend to bring on the pain and other symptoms associated with the ailment.
A migraine attack can last anywhere between few hours to a few days. However, it is important to understand that not all headaches might be caused due to migraine. The best example of this is the cluster headache, which despite being almost as excruciating, if not more, is not a form of migraine.
The best way learn whether or not the headache suffered by a patient is truly migraine, is to learn about its symptoms.
Symptoms Of Migraine
In most patients, the symptoms of migraine often precede the actual pain and this stage is generally known as prodrome. Patients might experience a greater craving for food, a sense of fatigue or low energy, irritation, stiffness in the neck, frequent yawning, depression and even hyperactivity.
Many patients also experience a kind of aura once the prodrome stage has passed during which they might go through various motor, visual and speech distortions. This generally includes the inability to speak clearly, a prickling or tickling sensation in the limbs, flashes of light, seeing shapes or bright spots and even temporary loss of vision.
This stage is followed by the attack phase wherein the patients might suffer from a variety of symptoms including feeling dizzy or faint, suffering from nausea and vomiting and being overly sensitive to light and sound. Some patients might also feel intense pain on one or both sides of the head along with a deep pulsing or throbbing sensation in the head.
Causes Of Migraine
Having learnt about the symptoms of migraine, it is also important to understand the factors that might trigger a migraine attack. Despite the extensive research carried out in this field, medical experts have failed to identify any definitive causes for the ailment. However, they have been able to identify the various factors that might trigger an attack.
Although these factors might vary from individual to individual they most commonly include exposure to bright light or loud sounds, allergies or allergic reactions, stress or hypertension on both physical and emotional levels, alcoholism and smoking, dehydration, hormonal fluctuations, specific food items and even physical triggers such as excessive exercise or tiredness.
Once the symptoms and causes of migraine have been identifies, treating it becomes relatively easier. Medications are available to both prevent the onset of a migraine attack and to provide relief from the pain once the attack has commenced. However, it is highly advisable to engage in preventive technique to avoid the pain and suffering caused by the ailment. Patients should consider the causes that trigger their migraine attacks and avoid exposure to them as much as possible. In case of an attack, the patients should lie down in a dark and quiet room and gently massage their scalp and temples. They can also try placing a cold damp cloth over their forehead or behind their neck to get relief from the pain.