Have you ever felt a throbbing pain or pulsing sensation on one side of the head? Does sensitivity to light and sound accompany this sensation? Do you feel like vomiting when you get this headache? You may be suffering from a condition called migraines.
A study on the systematic analysis of migraine shows that the condition is more prevalent in Western countries like North and South America and Europe. Asian populations have a moderate to low level of migraine in the world.
What Is A Migraine?
Migraine is a neurological disease that manifests itself in the form of a throbbing and pulsating headache. The condition gets worse with light, sound and even smell. Physical activity can also worsen this condition. For some, the pain lasts only for a few hours, while for others, it can last for days, affecting their daily activities.
What Are The 6 Different Types Of Migraine?
Migraine with Aura
An aura is a warning signal before the onset of a migraine. This includes blind spots in the path of vision, seeing a flash of light, a tingling sensation on the skin, and changes in smell or taste. Though most people experience these symptoms before the real headache occurs, some experience this during and after a migraine.
Migraine without Aura
This is the most commonly found type of migraine and is called common migraine. This type of migraine can last for a few hours to a few days. It can occur several times a week or a few times a year. The symptoms of common migraine include pain in one side of the head, sensitivity to light and sound and nausea.
Chronic migraine is a condition in which you experience headaches at least 15 days a month for three months. This type of headache can occur with or without an aura and develops gradually over a period of time. The symptoms of chronic migraine are the same as common migraine, but the symptoms occur more frequently.
Migraine with brainstem aura
In this type of migraine, you will experience vertigo, double vision, ringing in the ear and loss of balance before the headache sets in. You will also experience pain in the back of the head.
This type of migraine occurs before or during menstruation and hence is found mostly in women. This type of migraine is less responsive to treatment and will subside on its own once the menstruation period is over.
This type of migraine is characterised by the partial or complete loss of vision in one eye. This will be accompanied by a dull ache behind the eye that spreads to the head. The vision loss can be temporary that lasts only a few minutes or can last for months.
What Are The Causes Of Migraines?
Cause of migraine with Aura
The main cause of migraine with aura is the slow wave of altered brain activity. This results in a change in blood flow, chemicals and nerves in the brain causing the aura sensation.
Cause of chronic migraine
Chronic migraine is caused by medical conditions like brain injury and brain infection like meningitis, stroke, or brain tumour. Other conditions like depression and anxiety can aggravate chronic migraines.
Cause of migraine with brainstem aura
Cortical spreading depression that occurs either in the base of the brain or on the surface of the brain is considered to be the main cause of this type of migraine.
Causes of menstrual migraine
The hormonal changes happening in a female body at the time of menstruation is considered to be the main cause of menstrual migraine.
What Are The Triggering Factors Of Migraine?
Hormones: Migraine triggered by hormonal changes is mostly found in women. Changes in hormone levels caused by menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, ovulation or birth control pill can trigger migraines. For some people, hormone replacement therapy can also trigger migraines.
Food: Some ingredients of food like monosodium glutamate, food additives found in hot dogs and pepperoni can trigger migraines. Drinking alcohol or consuming aged cheese can also trigger a migraine in some.
Stress: Stress results in the release of certain chemicals from the brain that causes changes in the blood vessels. This can trigger migraines in some people.
Strong senses: Strong senses like loud noise, strong smell or bright light can trigger migraines.
Change in sleep pattern: If there is a change in sleep patterns like too much or too little sleep, it can also trigger a migraine.
How Do I Deal With Migraine?
There is no specific treatment for migraines. All you can do is treat the symptoms. Additionally, you can also avoid the factors that trigger a migraine. Having a good night’s sleep, eating proper food and minimising stress help a lot in preventing the occurrence of migraines.
In most cases, migraines do not cause any lasting harm. Through pain-relieving medication and nausea medicine, you can keep the symptoms under control. However, if you experience a headache that is accompanied by stiffness in the neck or difficulty speaking, you should consult a doctor without fail. This helps to rule out any other serious conditions that can affect your overall health.