Migraine 101

By: malo

A confusing situation. A hard exam. A long, tedious talk. In situations like these, a person may normally feel like having a headache. But unfortunately, some people experience more than just a simple headache. Throbbing on an area in your head may be a sign of migraine. But what is migraine and how is it different from a headache?

A headache is described as the pain in the head located above the eyes and the ears, behind the head, or at the back of the upper neck. Migraine, on the other hand, refers to a much more painful headache. References with regards to migraine include the throbbing of one or both areas in the head (bilateral), sensitivity to light (photophobia), sounds (phonophobia), and smell, nausea, vomiting, sleep disruption, and even depression. Having these symptoms may lead into concluding that the person is experiencing migraine without aura, or common migraines. Having a migraine attack like this can make the person feel more tired and weak once the migraine has passed. The person's hand and feet may feel sweaty and cold, and sometimes there is the presence of a different intolerable odor. This is associated also with pain that interferes or becomes worse as the person goes through his daily activities. Other people occasionally experience the sight of flashing lights, wavy images, hallucinations, zigzag lines, or getting double vision, if not temporarily blind. This migraine episode is characterized as migraine with aura. Also called classic migraines, this would begin for about fifteen to thirty minutes before getting the headache itself.

Causes of migraines may include functional changes in the nervous system (trigeminal), which is a substantial pain road in your nervous system. C0hemical imbalances in the person's brain (including seratonin) that plays an important role for pain messages going through this specific pathway is also another cause of migraine. If experiencing a headache, the person's seratonin level will drop. In line with this, the trigeminal nerve releases a substance called neuropeptides, that travels to the brain's outer covering (meninges). This in turn will cause the blood vessels to be inflamed and dilated.

Because of this heightened intensity of the headache, migraines may not be relieved by simple pain killers such as paracetamol, diclofenac, ibuprofen, codeine or aspirin. They can temporarily relieve the person of the pain, but not strong enough to stop the migraine effectively. Some might experience relief, but these may often lead to immunity to the effects of the drug, resulting to long term usage. Side effects can also be experienced while taking such medications. Nausea, drowsiness, constipation, and indigestion are some examples of such side effects. Medications that are taken during a migraine attack, such as Zolmitriptan (Zomig) and Sumatriptan (Imigran), regulates the arteries and the seratonin activity in the brain. even if this ends the migraine itself, these medications are not recommended for long term use and can give out side effects which includes slow heartbeat, drowsiness, and dry mouth. Although most people turn to medications for cure, a health diet should do the trick. Think low carbohydrate, high fat diet, and diets that are rich with Vitamin B and Magnesium.

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