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Migraine: Everything To Know About The Condition!

With 17.9 million cases, India ranks number one worldwide for migraine incidents. 

A term commonly heard by you and me, Migraine has become a household condition. Living with it is pretty tricky as it presents a myriad of challenges. These difficulties extend from pulsating discomfort to throbbing pain in your head. The ones who suffer from this condition face numerous obstacles. These roadblocks impact their daily lives as the migraine attacks are unpredictable. These attacks even take a toll on one's emotional well-being as it comes with a series of risks. As a result, the struggle to manage this condition is not merely physical. It also affects the sufferer's professional and social spheres. 


Merely understanding Migraine's meaning is not enough. Understanding everything about it in detail is essential to cope with migraines. With deep insights, a person can identify triggers and adopt coping mechanisms. This blog will reflect on the details of the condition. We will learn what Migraine is, what causes it, what are its several symptoms, and what treatment options you have at your immediate disposal. This post will offer powerful insights into the condition. The knowledge can help patients mitigate the challenges migraine causes. 


Let's dive straight into it!


Migraine Meaning

A neurological condition that typically results in strong headache attacks is known as Migraine. However, migraines are not limited to headaches. It also involves several other issues like sensitivity to sound, light, touch, and smell. This condition is usually categorized as severe headaches. But it can also be identified by symptoms like speech difficulty, vomiting, tingling, numbness, and nausea.


Migraine can affect people of any age, and it often runs in families. However, several pieces of research show that it is more common in females than males. People with migraines feel a throbbing, pulsating, debilitating, perforating, or pounding pain in their head. In some cases, these headaches can be severe, dull, and steady. Initially, they start as mild pain but become moderate to severe if left untreated. 


Usually, migraine pain is felt around the forehead area. It typically occurs on one side, but some people might even experience it on both sides of their heads. Mostly, migraine attacks last for around 4 hours to 72 hours. However, one might experience them for even a week if not treated or the treatment is ineffective.


A migraine attack occurs in four different phases.

  • The first is called Prodrome, which shows symptoms one or two days before the attack. Its symptoms include fluid retention, constipation, food cravings, increased urination, and several others.

  • The second phase is the Aura that might occur before or during Migraine. It shows symptoms like vision loss, speech difficulty, and a few more.

  • The third phase is called Attack when the headache occurs for 4 to 72 hours. It is characterized by a pulsating or throbbing pain in one or both sides of the head.

  • The last phase is known as Postdrome. It results in making a person feel fatigued, washed out, or confused. 


The above section explained Migraine meaning in detail. Moving forward in this guide, you will be introduced to the causes of this neurological condition. 


What are the causes of Migraine?

Migraine causes are not yet fully understood. However, researchers suggest that several genetic and environmental factors contribute to causing it. Below are the most common causes of this condition. 




  • Drinks- A few drinks like coffee or other caffeinated beverages and alcohol can cause migraine attacks. 

  • Foods- Skipping meals is another factor that might cause Migraine. It can also be caused by salty and processed food or aged cheese. 

  • Weather changes- Pressure or temperature changes can trigger migraine attacks. 

  • Food additives- Food additives including preservative monosodium glutamate and sweeteners like aspartame can cause it. 

  • Medications- Vasodilators like nitroglycerine and oral contraceptives can cause migraines. 

  • Stress- Stress is one of the most common causes of triggering migraine attacks. 

  • Sleep changes- Lacking enough or excessive sleeping hours can also aggravate migraines. 

  • Sensory stimuli- Migraine causes also include flashing or bright light, loud sounds, and strong smells.

  • Physical strain- Exertion or other intense physical stress also results in Migraine.



Migraine symptoms

Migraine symptoms vary depending upon the phase of this condition being faced. Below are the most common ones faced in each phase. 



Prodrome

  • Neck stiffness

  • Food cravings

  • Increased urination

  • Fluid Retention

  • Mood changes

  • Frequent yawning

  • Constipation


Aura

  • Speech difficulty

  • Visual phenomena 

  • Vision impairment 

  • Feeling sensations of pins and needles, especially in arms and legs

  • Face numbness

  • Body weakness


Attack

  • Headache from one or both sides

  • Vomiting

  • Nausea

  • Light sensitivity

  • Sound and smell sensitivity

  • Throbbing or pulsating pain


Postdrome

  • Fatigue

  • Washed out feeling

  • Confused


The last section of this guide highlights the treatment options available for Migraine. We will learn about medicines used for it and prevention measures.


Migraine medicine, treatment & prevention

To date, no solid cure for migraines is present. However, healthcare providers help manage its symptoms in the following ways-

  • Medications to stop and prevent it

  • Avoiding triggers

  • Using alternative migraine remedies 


Medications to stop Migraine symptoms-

  • Antiemetic drugs (metoclopramide)

  • Gepants (rimegepant and ubrogepant)

  • Triptans (5-hydroxytryptamine)

  • Dihydroergotamine (prochlorperazine)

  • Ditans (lasmiditan)


Medications to prevent Migraine symptoms -

  • Monoclonal antibodies (galcanezumab, erenumab, fremanezumab)

  • Beta-blockers (nadolol, atenolol, propranolol)

  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (venlafaxine, duloxetine)

  • Calcium channel blockers (verapamil)

  • Anti Seizure medications (valproic acid, topiramate)

  • Beta-blockers (atenolol, propranolol, nadolol)

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline, nortriptyline, doxepin)


Prevention

Preventing migraines is not possible. One can consult their healthcare provider to learn about the ways available for their specific condition. They can also consult to learn ways to avoid the triggers. For this, observing the triggers and finding ways to prevent them is essential.


Final thoughts

The above guide is a detailed look into the neurological condition of migraines. Being a pervasive disorder in India, it is essential to be aware of it. Understanding Migraine meaning helps the patients manage it better and lead a healthy life. It will also help the surrounding people understand the challenges of migraine sufferers and support them. 


I genuinely hope my blog helped you get a better grasp of this condition and will add to your understanding of it.


 

The Author : Dr. Sunil Khattri 

+91 9811618704


Dr. Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.

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