It is estimated that nearly 11 out of 100 people suffer from migraine headaches. In fact, Nearly 3 out of 4 people who have migraines are women. Typically women in the age group of 35 - 45 complain of migraine headache - attributing it to factors such as hormonal changes, family and social commitments and stress. An episode of migraine can last from 3 - 72 hours. Recurrent migraine headaches can be tiresome and severely restrict your activities. There is loss of productivity and considerable discomfort from the symptoms of migraine headaches. Relief from migraine headaches can come from medication to lifestyle changes.
Nearly everyone gets headaches. But while some are tension headaches or headaches caused by a cold. Or flue, migraine headaches tend to rather severe. Migraine headaches tend to be severe and recurrent and are often accompanied by nausea. What begins as a pain on one side of the head may spread to both sides and can be a severe impediment in your daily routine. Some persons get warning signs before a migraine attack. These are called 'aura' - throbbing pulsating pain or flashes of bright lights or blind spots. It is thought that migraine headaches are caused by a change in the blood flow pattern to the brain.
Triggered by stress or other factors, arteries supplying blood to the brain may constrict. Serotonin, a chemical may also have a role to play since it is released from nerve fibers that coil around the blood vessels. To tackle this, certain arteries within the brain may dilate to accommodate better oxygen supply. This dilation may result in migraine headaches. While anyone can get migraine headaches, they are more common in women .
Migraine Headache Symptom
Migraine headache symptoms may vary in type and intensity from person to person. Migraines can be inherited and thus run in families. Some typical symptoms noticed in most migraine headache sufferers are:
- Throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stiff neck
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Visual hallucinations such as zigzag lines and flashing lights
- Tiredness, irritability and confusion
- Mood swings
- Sensitivity to cold
- Diarrhea and increased urination
Cause of Migraine Headache
Often changes in weather or altitude can cause migraine headaches. If you have irregular sleeping patterns (too much or too little), it may be the cause for migraine headaches. An interruption of your regular sleep pattern may bring on a headache. Strong odors, bright lights and loud noises are known to be triggers for a migraine attack. Fasting is yet another triggering factor for migraine headache. Women may experience migraine headaches on account of their menstrual cycle, birth control pills or hormones. Women who are on oral contraceptive pills are more likely to develop migraine headaches as a side effect.
Migraine Headache Relief
Relief from migraine is a multi-pronged approach. Effective medication along with suitable lifestyle changes can provide relief from migraine headaches.
Medication - Medication to treat migraines can range from ergots like ergotamine or triptans like sumatriptan and rizatriptan. Sometimes isometheptenes are also prescribed. Ergotamines narrow the blood vessels to reduce the throbbing pain. Triptans perform the dual function of narrowing the blood vessels as well as balancing the chemicals in the brain. You can resort to migraine prevention medication or pain relief medicines. Preventive medicines are taken daily so as to reduce the frequency of headache attacks. Pain relief medication is taken at the start of a headache episode and include aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Hormone therapy may provide relief to women whose migraine attacks are linked to their menstrual cycles.
Lifestyle Changes - Eat a healthy diet and keep your weight under check. Obese people are more likely to suffer migraine headaches. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can bring on severe migraines. While you cannot wish away stress from your life, learn to tackle it better. Learn relaxation techniques and sleep better. Regular exercise, walking or swimming can help reduce instances of migraine headache. If some foods act as triggers to a migraine headache, eliminate them from your diet.
If you have a migraine headache, try and take a shower and rest in a cool dark room. A cold compress on your forehead may alleviate some of the discomfort. A nutritious drink can do you some good. Massage and relax the muscles of your neck and base of the skull.
Bibliography / Reference: