Causes, Symptoms and Management of Migraines

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One of the most common problems in this stressful world that some people face is that of a migraine. A migraine is a severe headache that might be triggered by some environmental factors or through heredity. Migraine headaches mostly affect half of the head and are generally pulsating in nature and it can cause lasting pain for hours. Carrying out any physical activity during sudden migraine attacks can worsen the situation of the person. This can be highly discomforting for a working professional. Early diagnosis of a migraine can help the patient find a viable solution to the problem of pain.

Symptoms of Migraine


In order to take preventive action before, it becomes very important to identify some of the basic symptoms of a migraine. These symptoms can start a little while ahead of an actual headache.

Although not all migraines are identical, common symptoms include: 

  • Moderate to extreme pain, usually on one side of your head which randomly happens on either side of the head.
  • Increasing headache while doing some physical activity.
  • Having an increased sensitivity to sound and smell during a headache.
  • Feeling unwell, having an urge to vomit and the inability to perform your regular activities. Relief from the pain is only achieved by laying down for a while.

Some people also experience other symptoms such as stomach ache, diarrhoea, sudden body temperature changes, as well as sweating.


Causes of Migraines

While there are not many causes of a migraine known to doctors, genetics and dietary factors are some of the factors responsible for migraines.

Dietary factors

Some processed foods like cheese, alcohol and additives like nitrates play a vital role in triggering a migraine attack. Consumption of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is responsible for about 30 percent of the migraine cases.


Health and Environmental factors

Exhaustion and change in sleeping habits actually contribute towards a migraine, sudden changes in weather conditions and skipping meals especially contribute towards a migraine.


Physiological factors

Common triggers cited for migraines range from stress, hunger and fatigue. Psychological stress has been described as a factor by 50 to 80% of the people suffering from migraines. Migraines have also been correlated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In women, hormonal changes during pregnancy, pre-menopause, and menopause, also play a role in migraines.


Management of Migraines

Management of a migraine pain or its treatment can be very simple or very complicated depending upon the severity of the headaches: 

  • Get decent hours of sleep
  • Focus on reducing unnecessary stress from your life.
  • Drink a good quantity of water to keep yourself hydrated
  • Focus on regular physical exercises to be fit.
  • Avoid foods containing gluten and MSGs.
  • Aspirin with caffeine can often help reduce the pain or stop a headache.

If these lifestyle changes aren’t able to help you cope up with the troubles of a migraine, consider seeking medical help. Patients are prescribed medications by the doctors in order to prevent a full-blown attack and provide relief from the extreme symptoms.

Painkillers should be taken early if you feel a migraine coming,  rather than allowing the migraine  to develop.

In case of sudden extreme pain, some Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers are really effective for treating migraines like: 

  • Naproxen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Acetaminophen

During the initial diagnosis of migraines, the doctor might suggest a range of medical tests to eliminate any other cause for a headache. These can include electroencephalography (EEG), CT Scans or MRI Scans.

Before starting any medications, please consult a doctor.

Image Source: Pixabay

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