What is migraine?
Migraine is a severe form of headache that occurs due to several different reasons. A migraine usually lasts from 4 hours and up to 3 days.
What are the symptoms?
The headache is mostly strong and feels pounding on one side of the head. Migraine is divided into two categories:
Migraine without aura:
This type is a powerful, pounding headache that mainly affects one side of the head. The condition is accompanied by nausea and possibly vomiting as well as sensitivity to light and sound. The condition can be triggered through tension headaches, and it is worsened by physical activity.
Migraine with aura:
This is a mild to severe headache preceded by aura. Aura is a short-term condition characterised by visual disturbances, sensory disturbances or disturbances in speech. The word ‘migraine’ actually originates from the word ‘migrate’, and it covers these aura symptoms which can move to different parts of the body. These auras usually develop over 5-20 minutes and rarely last longer than an hour. In between migraine attacks, there are no symptoms.
What are the causes?
Migraine, with or without aura, appears to be hereditary. A person with a family history of migraine without aura, doubles the risk of developing the illness, while the risk is four times as great if the relative has migraine with aura. In addition, the environment is also connected to the issue. What triggers a migraine attack with and without aura is still not clear. Several things – chocolate, citrus fruits, red wine, stress, lack of sleep, hunger and menstruation - are suspected but not scientifically proven to be the cause of migraine without aura.
In migraine with aura, researchers have discovered that the brain’s blood vessels contract during the ‘aura phase’ and expand during the phase of the headache.
What are the treatments?
The migraine attack itself can often be treated with medication, such as aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid or analgesics in general. In addition, you can consider treating the seizure with blood vessel contracting medicine if this is recommended by your doctor. Stronger medication also exists – drugs such as Triptane – which can be injected or taken as nasal spray or pills.
For the best effect, it is recommended that you take your medication early during an attack, rather than waiting to review the situation as a severe attack is more difficult to treat. Several alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, biofeedback therapy, chiropractic and physiotherapy have been proven preventive in some cases, thereby reducing the number of monthly migraine attacks.