A headache definitely makes you feel helpless to perform your daily life activities as affects whole of your body. A severe headache like a migraine appears in the form of attacks. it starts suddenly with sharp intense pain that is increasing in intensity with time until it reaches its peak. It is not only troublesome but also brings a frightening element of continuously increasing severity and disability. People having headache of typical migraine type explain their pain as following
- Pain is pulsatile in nature and often starts at a focal point near the eye, front and temple or anywhere in the head.
- It is one sided initially and it is increased in intensity in 1 to 2 hours and then becomes a diffuse headache with neck and shoulder stiffness sometimes.
- Pain intensity is increased with movement and physical activity.
- Nausea and vomiting are sometimes associated with a headache.
- Pain usually subsided gradually in a day or two or after a sleep episode.
- Pain severity increases with light and noise.
This typical pain is associated with some other symptoms that occur hours or days before migraine attack and it may include
- Decreased appetite or food cravings
- Weakness and fatigue
- Mood changes
- Constipation and diarrhea
What triggers the migraine attack?
A migraine has sometimes family history but there are certain environmental and behavioral factors that can trigger a migraine attack. Triggering factors of a migraine vary from person to person and can be observed by the sufferer after experiencing some episodes of the migraine attack. Common triggers are here as
- Dietary triggers : Some of the dietary triggers include Wine and Beer, Coffee, tea, and caffeine-containing beverages, Chocolates, Citrus fruits, dry fruits and some nuts, Old cheese, Frozen food containing Monosodium glutamate, Preserved food accumulates a product, Tyramine (pickles, meat, and old cheese) and Artificial sweeteners.
- Lack of exercise
- Excessive sleep or lack of sleep
- Bright light, Strong odors, perfumes
- Hormonal changes ( pregnancy)
- Motion sickness
- Weather changes and cold stimulus like ice cream headache.
- Skipping of meals frequently
How to prevent the migraine attack?
- Drugs treatment: Medications are helpful for relief of migraine attacks. It includes
- Analgesics (NSAIDS e.g. Acetaminophen, aspirin, diclofenac sodium, naproxen)
- Narcotic analgesics
- Ergot alkaloids
- Antiemetic (chlorpromazine, promethazine) in combination with diphenhydramine.
- Avoidance of the triggering factor: A person can identify the possible triggering stimulus for a migraine after experiencing one or two episodes of a headache. Avoiding such stimulus definitely help in preventing the initiation of the attack.
- Natural herbs: Butterbur and feverfew are used commonly for relieving migraine pain. Peppermint oil and lavender oil also relieves a headache. These herbal remedies are very effective treatment for those who experience the migraine pain very often.
- Vitamin & supplements: Use of vitamin B 2 (riboflavin) in high doses 400mg for 3 months effectively reduces the number of attacks. Magnesium in the diet also improves a headache.
- Liquids: Drink adequate amount of liquids like juices and salads and keep yourself hydrated it not only relieves stress but also the headache.
- Massage: Massage relieves the muscle tension and lightens the body.
- Light stretching exercise, aerobics, and yoga relaxes muscle tone and strengthens your nerves to overcome in stressful situations.
- Cold sponging with ice bag is also helpful in decreasing pulsatile severity of pain
- A soothing bath also reduces tension and exhaustion and refresh your body and mind that helps in headaches.
- Acupressure and acupuncture are the alternative treatments in those who are having frequent episodes of migraine attack and tired of taking medications for such attacks.