Migraine Types, Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Migraine is a disorder followed by repeated attacks of severe & painful headache. It causes pulsating pain, frequently on one side or both sides of the head. It is linked with nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light & sound. The excruciating pain that migraines bring can last for hours or even days. This headache may interfere with sleep, work, and other daily activities. It may occur several times per week or once or twice a year.

What are the types of Migraine?

  • Common Migraine – It is also called a migraine with no aura, common migraine is the most common type of migraine, and auras are not linked with headaches in this type of migraine. Fatigue, mood changes, anxiety, and mental uncertainty are the symptoms.
  • Classic Migraine – It is also called migraine with aura. Visual & Sensory symptoms called auras most often occur before a headache but can also appear during or after a headache. It includes flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots. Auras can also include feelings of numbness or tingling, speaking difficulty, ringing in the ears, smelling a strange odour & having an odd taste in the mouth.
  • Menstrual Migraine – It is related to fluctuating levels in estrogen during a woman’s menstrual cycle.
  • Abdominal Migraine – It is a moderate to severe abdominal pain, consisting of nausea & vomiting. It is typically seen in children, particularly those with a family history of migraine. Children who suffer from abdominal migraines usually suffer from classic migraine headaches as adults.
  • Retinal Migraine – It is also called ocular migraine. Retinal migraine involves temporary partial or total loss of vision in one eye that lasts for an hour or less and is not always accompanied by headache.
  • Familial Hemiplegic Migraine – It is a very rare hereditary condition caused by one of several chromosomes. In this, one side of the body may have some temporary motor paralysis during a migraine headache.
  • Basilar Artery Migraine – It presents itself as a headache, frequently in the back of the head, and is associated with an aura that includes dizziness, confusion, problems in speaking, hearing changes & visual disturbances. It is related to hormonal changes and most often affects young adults. 
  • Ophthalmologic Migraine – It is a rare type of migraine that requires emergency treatment. Patients develop a partial or complete paralysis in nerves required for eye movement. 
  • Status Migrainosus – It is a rare condition characterized by a very severe headache. Hospitalization is often required to relieve symptoms.
  • Transformed or Chronic Migraine – It is a form of chronic daily headache. It occurs when a migraine becomes a continuous background headache with severe migraine symptoms. It is also called coexisting migraine and tension-type headache, it is difficult to treat.

What causes Migraines?

There is no specific cause of migraine. But there may be fluctuations in certain neurotransmitters & chemicals that send messages between brain cells, which lead some people to develop migraine headaches.

What influences Migraine Headaches?

  • Allergic Reactions & Allergies
  • Intense lights, loud noises, flickering lights, smoky rooms, temperature changes, strong smells and certain odours or perfumes
  • Stress, tension, anxiety, depression, excitement
  • Tiredness, over exercise, jet lag
  • Irregular sleep
  • Smoking or exposure to smoke
  • Fasting & skipping meals
  • Dehydration
  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Hormonal triggers such as Menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills, menopause
  • Foods containing tyramine, monosodium glutamate(MSG) & nitrates
  • Medication such as sleeping tablets, the contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy.
  • These do not always cause migraines and avoiding these does not always prevent

What are the Sign & Symptoms of Migraine?

  • Symptoms before Migraine begins are:
    • Unhappy or irritable
    • Very happy or full of energy
    • Restless or nervous
    • Very sleepy
    • Dehydrated or hungry
  • Symptoms of an Aura Migraine:
    • See spots or flashing lights
    • Pinch of pins-and-needles’ feeling in hands, arms, or face
  • Symptoms during Migraine:
    • Throbbing pain on one side of the head or on both sides
    • Pain behind one of your eyes
    • Temperate to very bad pain
    • Pain that gets worse with routine physical activity
    • Nausea, vomiting, or both
    • Pain that gets worse around light, noise, and smells
  • Symptoms after the headache
    • Muscle aches & Tiredness

Is there any prevention of Migraine?

All migraine headaches cannot be prevented. But headache influencers can help to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. It Includes:

  • Caffeine should be reduced on regular basis.
  • Foods and beverages that contain tyramine, sulfites and monosodium glutamate should be avoided.
  • Should minimize stress
  • Avoiding hormone-containing medications such as birth control pills or estrogen
  • Taking regular & atleast eight hours sleep.
  • Avoiding overuse of pain-relieving medications
  • Doing regular aerobics exercise, yoga & meditation; as they help in reducing migraine.

What Is the treatment for Migraine?

Migraines treatment depends on the severity of attacks. There are two types of medications to treat migraines:

  • Abortive medications – Drugs that are taken when a headache starts
  • Preventive medications – Drugs that are taken every day to prevent migraines.

These both are prescribed by the Doctor.

Other Therapies may include:

  • Acupuncture – In this a practitioner inserts many thin, disposable needles into several areas of your skin at defined points. Clinical trials have found that acupuncture may be helpful for headache pain.
  • Biofeedback – This is a relaxation technique in which special equipment is used to teach how to monitor and control certain physical responses related to stress, such as muscle tension.
  • Massage therapy – This therapy may help reduce the frequency of migraines.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy – Cognitive behavioral therapy may benefit some people with migraines.
  • Herbs, vitamins and minerals – The herb butterbur may prevent migraines or reduce their severity.

So people be preventive & take care of your health as we all know “the greatest wealth is health”.