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A migraine headache is the pain, which is very severe throbbing or a pulsing sensation, usually on just one side of the head. The pain gets worse by any physical activity. The migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and can be so severe that the pain disables the individual from doing productive or daily tasks. Not all headaches are migraines as other headaches can also cause severe pain. Some patients tell that the pain of cluster headaches as the worst pain they have experienced. The exact cause of migraine is not known but changes in neurotransmitter levels within the brain are thought to play a role. The typical clinical signs and symptoms help in making the diagnosis of migraine.

Migraines often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. Migraines may progress through four stages: Prodrome, Aura, Headache and Post-drome, though it is not necessary to experience all the stages.

  1. Prodrome

One or two days before migraine, subtle changes are noticed that warn of an upcoming migraine. This includes constipation, mood changes, from depression to euphoria, food cravings, neck stiffness, increased thirst and urination andfrequent yawning.

  1. Aura

Aura may occur before or during migraines. Most people experience migraines without aura. Auras are symptoms of the nervous system. They are usually visual disturbances, such as flashes of light or wavy, zig-zag vision.

  1. Attack

A migraine usually lasts from 4 to 72 hours if untreated. The frequency with which headaches occur varies from person to person. Migraines may be rare, or strike several times a month. During a migraine, throbbing or pulsating pain on one side or both sides of the head, sensitivity to light, sounds, and sometimes smells and touch, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision and lightheadedness, sometimes followed by fainting.

  1. Post-drome

The final phase, known as post-drome phase, occurs after a migraine attack. Feeling of drained and washed out, with small percentage of people feel elated. For about 24 hours, confusion, moodiness, dizziness, weakness are experienced.

Ayurvedic Description Of Migraine :

The traditional science of Ayurveda does not regard migraine as a case of prolonged headaches. On the contrary, it considers this condition to be caused by deep-rooted problems, including a sensitive nervous system and impaired digestion. Improper diet and lifestyle causes aggravation of Pitta in the body. In this aggravated state, Pitta impairs digestion, leading to the production of digestive impurities or toxins (known as Ama). This Ama gets stored in the Manovahi Strotas (mind channels), thereby becoming the cause for migraine.

Signs & Symptoms

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  • Severe pain in one side of head
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light and sound

Causes and Risk Factors

Hormonal

Fluctuations in estrogen level seem to trigger headaches in many women, women with the history of migraine often report headaches immediately before or during their periods, when there is a major drop in estrogen. Some women also have an increased tendency to develop migraines during pregnancy or menopause.

Foods

Aged cheese, excessive salt, spicy and processed foods may trigger migraines. Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger the attack.

Food additives

The sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG), found in many foods are the trigging agents.

Beverages

Alcohol and highly caffeinated beverages may act as triggers.

Psychological

Stress at work or home can cause migraines.

Sensory stimuli

Bright lights and sun glare can induce migraines, as can loud sounds. Strong smells including perfumes, paint thinner, smoke trigger migraines in some people.

Physical factors

Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, may provoke migraines.

Changes in the environment

A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.

Medications

Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can aggravate migraines.

Family history

The chances of getting migraine increase by 2/3 if it runs in the family.

Age

Migraines can begin at any age, though the first often occurs during adolescence. Migraines tend to peak during the productive years of 30s, and gradually become less severe and less frequent afterwards.

Sex

Women are 3 times more likely to have migraines. In adolescence, headaches tend to affect boys more than girls, but by the time of puberty and beyond, it becomes reverse.

Self Care Tips

  • Avoid painkillers as much as possible. Opt for balms/ointments/ essential oils to ease out the pain.
  • If there is a burning sensation with migraine headache, apply a paste of ground clay or sandalwood powder mixed with rose water. This will have a soothing result.
  • In case of migraine headache due to inflamed sinuses, inhale steam with vinegar added to the water.
  • Mix ¼ teaspoon of clove powder with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon oil. Apply this paste on the affected area for 20-30 minutes.
  • Dietary changes are highly recommended, the patient needs to give up the food items that trigger the attack.
  • Foods that aggravate Pitta need to be restricted, this includes pickles, spices, and sour items.
  • Using relaxation and meditation techniques are very beneficial to counter the negative effect of migraine phase that usually have an impact on all the domains of life from social to personal and professional.
  • Changes in lifestyle are very important, following a simple life devoid of any stress and anxiety naturally helps in combating this condition.

AAS Ayurveda targets migraine with specialized treatment for the problem of migraine. With its treatment, the migraine is completely curable. The patients need to follow the dietary and lifestyle regimen whole-heartedly for long lasting relief.

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