A migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head.
Many people also have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound. Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around one in every five women and around one in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood.
Types Of Migraine
There are several types of migraine, including:
Migraine With Aura-
Where there are specific warning signs just before the migraine begins, such as seeing flashing lights.
Migraine Without Aura-
The most common type, where the migraine occurs without the specific warning signs.
Migraine Aura Without Headache-
Also known as silent migraine – where an aura or other migraine symptoms are experienced, but a headache doesn't develop.
Some people have migraines frequently, up to several times a week. Other people only have a migraine occasionally. It's possible for years to pass between migraine attacks.
Symptoms Of Migraine-
* The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache on one side of the head
Stages Of Migraine-
Migraines often develop in distinct stages, although not everyone goes through all of these:
Prodromal (Pre-headache) Stage-
Changes in mood, energy levels, behavior and appetite that can occur several hours or days before an attack.
About one in three people with migraines have temporary warning symptoms, known as the aura, before a migraine. These include:
* visual problems – such as seeing flashing lights, zig-zag patterns or blind spots
* numbness or a tingling sensation like pins and needles. which usually starts in one hand and moves up your arm before affecting your face, lips and tongue
Aura symptoms typically develop over the course of about five minutes and last for up to an hour. Some people may experience aura followed by only a mild headache or no headache at all.
Usually, pulsating or throbbing pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and/or extreme sensitivity to bright light and loud sounds, which can last for four to 72 hours.
When the headache and other symptoms gradually fade away, although you may feel tired for a few days afterward.
Causes Of Migraine
Though migraine causes aren't understood, genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role. Migraines may be caused by changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway. Imbalances in brain chemicals — including serotonin, which helps regulate pain in your nervous system — also may be involved. Researchers are still studying the role of serotonin in migraines.
Serotonin levels drop during migraine attacks. This may cause your trigeminal nerve to release substances called neuropeptides, which travel to your brain's outer covering (meninges). The result is migraine pain. Other neurotransmitters play a role in the pain of migraine, including calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP).
A number of factors may trigger migraines, including:
Hormonal Changes In Women-
Fluctuations in estrogen seem to trigger headaches in many women. Women with a history of migraines often report headaches immediately before or during their periods, when they have a major drop in estrogen. Others have an increased tendency to develop migraines during pregnancy or menopause. Hormonal medications, such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, also may worsen migraines. Some women, however, find their migraines occur less often when taking these medications.
Aged cheeses, salty foods and processed foods may trigger migraines. Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger attacks.
Alcohol, especially wine, and highly caffeinated beverages may trigger migraines.
Stress at work or home can cause migraines.
Bright lights and sun glare can induce migraines, as can loud sounds. Strong smells — including perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke and others — can trigger migraines in some people.
Changes In Wake-Sleep Pattern-
Missing sleep or getting too much sleep may trigger migraines in some people, as can jet lag.
Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, may provoke migraines.
Changes In The Environment-
A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can aggravate migraines.
Diagnosis Of Migraine
If you have migraines or a family history of migraines, a doctor trained in treating headaches will likely diagnose migraines based on medical history, symptoms, and a physical and neurological examination. The doctor may also recommend more tests to rule out other possible causes for pain in head as: