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Migraine Tips

Migraine is a throbbing headache, usually on one side of the head that gets worse by light and noise and is usually followed by nausea and vomiting.

Migraine usually affects people 18 and older. It tends to recur periodi­cally but what really causes migraines is not well under­stood. The attack lasts couple of hours to several days and has a tendency to relapse. Even after the pain is gone, mild sensation could lasts for weeks. In some cases, attacks can dis­appear for weeks, months, or even years.

TRIGGERING FACTORS

Some women have migraines just before, during, or just after menstrual periods.

Stress, insomnia, over sleeping, and hunger may also trigger migraines.

Cheese (pizza) is also a triggering factor in some people, while in others it only aggravates an already existing condition.

Usually Migraine is preceded by a sensation such as salty taste in the tongue, aura, nausea, flashing lights and blind spots.

MOST COMMON CAUSES OF MIGRAINE

  • Heat
  • Bright light
  • Blinking light
  • Foggy weather (High Ozone level)
  • Hunger
  • Tension and stress
  • Cheese (mozzarella)
  • Alcohol
  • Too much Caffeine
  • Lack of Caffeine
  • Hard pillow
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of sleep
  • Over sleeping
  • Change in sleep pattern

Diagnosis

Migraines are diagnosed based on symptoms. No procedure can determine the di­agnosis.

In a migraine, throbbing pain is felt on one side of the head. The pain may be mild but could become severe. Physical activity, light, sounds, or smells may make the headache worse. The headache is often followed by nausea, and vomiting.

A migraine attack often involves more than just a headache. A number of people also experience an aura preceding an attack. They see uneven, glittering, or flashing lights. The aura occurs within the hour before the attack and ends as the mi­graine begins.

Prevention

People can avoid exacerbating aspects of Migraine by paying more attention to the triggering cause of the pain. Since the cause varies from person to person, it is imperative that the patient keeps track of all the things that happened before the attack to see if there is a trend involved. Avoiding that cause would definitely relieve the frequency of the occurrence. For instance, in some people caffeine may be a factor while in others over-sleeping is. Some may get the attack only after they have eaten pizza or any other product containing cheese. Avoiding that may help prevent the attack in future.

Treatment

The key is to take the medicine right at the onset of the attack.

Patient should close the eyes and lie down in a dark and quite room during an attack.

Most commonly used drugs are regular analgesics available over the counter like Tylenol, Aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil).

Preventive drugs include the beta-blockers like Atenolol or Calcium channel blockers.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) may help reduce the intensity and the frequency of migraine attack. This because people who get migraine are believed to have abnormally low levels of energy reserves in their brains, and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) enhances the energy supplies.

Herbs such as Ginkgo and Feverfew helps in lowering the intensity of the pain.

Submitted by:

Dr. Faiyaz Hakim

Dr Faiyaz Hakim, is a physician at the UMass affiliate Wing Memorial Hospital at Palmer,MA. He also conducts weekly meditation classes at the Wing Memorial and is a consultant for http://www.themedicine.net.





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