If the answer is yes, Dr Madhuri Behari, reaffirms that you indeed are suffering from a migraine – the killer of all headaches. Dr Behari, Head of Department, Neurology at Fortis Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, New Delhi explains that a migraine is specific type of primary headache. It means that in a migraine, the headache is not caused by any other problem.
For example, severe headaches can be caused by several causes such as toothache, sinusitis, fever, cold and cough. It can also be caused by brain tumor, brain hemorrhage or infection in the brain like meningitis. But a migraine has no underlying cause.
Migraines are caused by genetic factors. Many a times those who suffer from migraines realise that they know someone in their family or extended family who also has the same problem.
A migraine is triggered by several factors, which vary from person to person. Some of the common ones are fasting, exposure to bright light, eating food containing mono sodium glutamate, eating coffee, tea or chocolate, or just before having periods. It is generally genetic in nature. There is no cure for it. Which means if a person is genetically inclined to get migraine, that person will get it. However, there are some medians which can be employed to reduce the frequency and severity of a migraine.
Some people get an aura before the start of a migraine headache attack. This aura consists of blanking of vision, seeing zigzag lines, seeing stars, seeing lightening like lines, not being able to see. These auras are followed by a headache, which increases slowly over a period of a few minutes. If the patient can recognise these symptoms, they can take the prescribed medicine without delay and the migraine headache can be aborted.
Usually, a person who has four or more migraine attacks in a month are prescribed some medicines which should be taken regularly every day. These medicines can reduce the number of attacks and severity of attacks.
Sometimes these patients also develop tension type headache along with migraine headache. In such patients, the practice of yoga and meditation is helpful. However, adopting yoga and meditation to treat a migraine has not been proved scientifically.
Women tend to get more affected by migraines with the ratio being able 1: 5. The reason behind this is female hormones due to which the migraine headache becomes more frequent and severe near the menstrual period. Also, some women do not get these attacks during pregnancy or they reduce in frequency.
The doctor’s advice? If you feel a migraine coming on, make sure you are in cool dark place which is not crowded and where you can lie down, close your eyes and take deep breaths. It’s important to have the medication prescribed handy. If the condition persists go to your doctor.