A headache is not as simple as it sounds when it becomes as severe as a migraine. This severe headache affects nearly three-quarters of Indians, most of them youths. Of all visits to physicians and emergency rooms, a little over one per cent is for headache.
"Sufferers from severe headaches sometimes fear they have a brain tumor or hemorrhage. However, minor headaches can be just as intensely painful as those resulting from a malignant disease. Although tumor, hemorrhage and meningitis are only rare causes of chronic headache, the physician's first concern is to rule out these possibilities. A physical exam, neurological evaluation and a variety of tests are used to detect any underlying cause, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or fever and infection. Chronic headaches are seldom due to eye, sinus or dental problems, or to infection or allergies," says Dr R.K Gupta, MD. The rise of headaches among the youth is to be blamed on the current economic situation of the country.
"Around 10 cases of migraine came to me in the past week and the depression among the youth is apparently increasing. With lack of jobs and under-employment around, one can feel the pressure all the time," says Dr Jagdish Ghosh. According to research, migraine starts in adolescence and ends at the time of menopause. Tension-type headaches can happen at any time in a life cycle.
"As there are no clinical tests for diagnosing migraine and headaches of different types, any one remedy won't work eventually. One has to give break to high-intensity painkillers and adopt natural methods like meditation and yoga to stay fit and peaceful. Normal headaches can be avoided if one takes less stress and stays away from computers for atleast 6 to 8 hrs a day," says Dr Shyamal Chakraborty, retired doctor from Safdarjang Hospital.
"Migraine is on one side of the head and sometimes changes sides during the attack. For me it is precisely in the middle of forehead and it almost takes my life away for a moment. Tension-type headache can be on one or both sides of the head. I have been a victim of migraine for couple of years now but if you ask me about a proper medication, I won't be able to suggest," says Anusha Gyaney, a working woman.
"Loss of appetite and vomiting occur most commonly with migraine and these are sometimes more incapacitating than the headache itself. Neck stiffness or tenderness often occurs with other types of headache, redness or tearing of the eye and nasal congestion on the side with the headache are symptoms of cluster headache. Migraine sufferers may tend to have red, inflamed nasal passages, nosebleed or eye infections," says Dr Kakoli Deb.
Remedies to cure migraine and headaches:
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