A mild to severe throbbing pain in one side of the head is what a migraine feels like. It is often accompanied by an increased sensitivity to sound and light. Migraine is more common than you think as it affects 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 15 men. As you can see it affects women more than men, due to hormonal influences, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO). Migraine symptoms usually start showing in early adulthood, and those from the ages of 35 to 45 are the most affected. Also, it is recurring in nature, and a person might suffer migraine attacks throughout her/his life. Also, some experience migraines frequently, even several times a week, while some get it occasionally, with years lapsing between two migraine attacks.
Types of Migraine
As per the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), migraine is of the following types:
- Migraine With Aura: In this, the person experiences certain warning signs, such as seeing flashes of light, before migraine pain shoots up.
- Migraine Without Aura: In this, there is no warning sign before the pain.
- Silent Migraine: In this, the person experiences migraine symptoms, but no headache.
What Are The Possible Reasons Behind Migraine?
The exact cause of migraines is not known. However, it is believed that it results from certain changes in the brain, such as certain chemical levels, nerves, or blood vessels. For many people, there are certain trigger points that cause migraines:
- Hormonal Changes: Many women experience migraine pain before they get their period, due to the change in estrogen levels. Similar is the case during pregnancy and menopause.
- Foods such as salty and processed ones. Food additives such as MSG (monosodium glutamate) and the sweetener aspartame can also trigger migraines in some people.
- Drinks such as alcohol, as well as too much caffeine
- Sleeping Pattern: Both lack of it and too much of it
- Sensory stimuli such as bright or a flash of light, loud sound, and strong smell trigger migraine attacks in some people.
- Weather is another triggering factor for migraines.
Risk Factors For Migraine
The exact cause behind migraine is presently unknown, hence it is difficult to figure out who will get it and who will not. However, there are certain risk factors that can make you more prone to get the disease:
- Genetics: Those suffering from migraines generally have a close relative suffering from it too. Hence, genetics is believed to be a risk factor for this disease.
- Gender: Women are almost twice as likely as men to get migraines. Hormones are generally at play here.
- Age: Starting mostly in early adulthood, migraine attacks generally peak from the mid-30s to mid-40s.
- Stress: Those suffering from high-level stress are more likely to suffer from migraines.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Migraine?
Migraine displays the following symptoms:
- A shooting pain generally in one half of the head is the primary symptom for migraine, although many suffer from silent migraine, in which there is no headache at all. Also, in some cases, there is a pain in both sides of the head.
- The person might feel sick or actually falls sick.
- Increased sensitivity to bright light and loud sound.
These are the primary symptoms. Migraine also has some additional symptoms:
- Poor Concentration
- Abdominal Pain
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Fever, although this is rare
The symptoms of migraine can last from a few hours to even 2-3 days.
Home Remedies To Ease Migraine Symptoms
If you have a migraine, you know that it isn’t like the normal headache, which eases as you down a cuppa chai. When hit with the pain, you’ll do anything to ease it. If you have an aversion to popping a pill, here are some home-based remedies that might help ease the symptoms:
- Diet: As we saw that certain foods and drinks act as triggers for migraine attacks. So avoid them as much as you can. Keeping a log will help you to determine which foods and drinks trigger a migraine attack in you.
- As those suffering from migraines become increasingly sensitive to light and sound, lying down in a dark and quiet room might help with the pain.
- Inhaling lavender oil might help. As per a study, people who inhaled the essential oil for 15 minutes during a migraine attack felt their pain eased as compared to those who inhaled a placebo. You can either inhale the oil or apply some of it to your temples.
- Applying peppermint oil is believed to be another remedy for migraine attacks as menthol in it helps ease the shooting pain.
- Ginger eases nausea, which is one of the symptoms of migraine. Also, as per research, this herb also reduces migraine severity and duration.
- Acupressure is another home remedy for migraines. It is an alternative therapy in which you apply pressure using your fingers to certain points. Several studies have shown that this therapy helps in easing chronic pains.
- Yoga, which is an exercise of body, mind, and soul, might reduce migraine severity, duration, and frequency, as per research. Although more research is needed into this, one thing is sure that Yoga relieves stress, which is one of the reasons for migraines.
- You have another reason to go for a massage. As per a 2006 study, massage reduces the frequency of migraine attacks and improves sleep quality. It also relieves stress, thus improving migraine symptoms.
Yoga Poses For Migraine Pain
As we saw, Yoga relieves stress, which is one of the causes of migraines. It is believed that some Yoga poses (yogasanas) ease the shooting pain one experiences during a migraine attack. Here are the Yoga poses that you can try:
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)
This is an inverted pose, which increases the flow of blood in the brain, thus helping with the headache.
- To do this pose, come in a tabletop position, with your hands under your shoulders, and knees under your hips.
- Stretch your hands a few inches forward, tuck your toes and gently rise.
- Once in this pose, you should resemble an inverted ‘V’.
- Stay in this pose for a couple of seconds and gently breathe.
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
Another inverted pose, this improves blood circulation in the brain.
- Stand tall with your feet hips distance apart.
- Gently bend down from your waist and bring your hands to touch the floor.
- Stay in this pose for a couple of breaths.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
This is believed to reduce anxiety and calm the mind.
- Lie down with your back on the floor.
- Bend your knees to bring your feet flat on the floor.
- Bring your hands close to the heels, and gently rise with your belly reaching towards the ceiling.
- Stay in this pose for a couple of breaths and then gently come down.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
A calming pose, balasana helps in reducing stress and anxiety.
- Come in a tabletop pose.
- Spread your thighs so that your knees are as wide as the shorter edge of the Yoga pat.
- Gently fold down so that your belly rests in between your thighs.
- Your forehead should rest on the floor, and stretch your arms as far as you can.
- Stay in this pose for as long as you want.
Yoga might relieve the symptoms, however, if you experience severe symptoms, it is better to consult a medical expert.
What Is The Treatment For Migraine?
Currently, there are no treatments available for migraines. However, there are remedies that might help. Many take painkillers to ease the pain. If you get severe migraine attacks, it is better to consult a doctor.