Migraine: Symptoms, Triggers, Types, and Treatment

Written by Nishant Garund
Medically Reviewed by Dr.Varuni Agarwal

Dr. Varuni Agarwal is an esteemed Ayurvedic physician specializing in
diagnosing diseases through Ayurvedic dosha imbalances and providing personalized treatments. She focuses on ahara (diet) and vihara (lifestyle) to manage and heal various ailments.

Migraine: Symptoms, Triggers, Types, and Treatment

A migraine is a form of headache that might linger for days or at least four hours. It could manifest with dizziness, nausea, or sensitivity to light and sound. A throbbing, pulsing ache is often only felt on one side of the head in most persons. According to research, migraine is the world's sixth most incapacitating illness. There are many remedies and treatments for treating migraines. While some people benefit from lifestyle changes and dietary supplements, others require medical attention. How to tell if your headache is a migraine, and how to find the best CBD for migraines? Keep reading to find out!

How to tell if your headache is a migraine?

Primary and secondary headaches are two categories in which more than 150 different forms of headaches are classified. A migraine is a primary headache not brought on by another illness. Primary headache disorders are clinically diagnosed, which means they cannot be identified with a blood test or imaging examination. Another medical condition may be the cause of a subsequent headache.

A migraine can induce crippling throbbing pain that can keep you in bed for days, making it far more than just a severe headache. A throbbing, pulsing headache on one side of the brain is one of the most prevalent symptoms of this neurological condition, which is sometimes made worse by physical activity, bright lights, loud noises, or certain odours. Movement, light, sound, and other triggers may result in symptoms including temporary loss of vision, irritation, difficulty speaking, pain, nausea, and visual abnormalities.

Types of Migraine

Migraines come in two basic types: those with and those without aura. Depending on the atmosphere, migraines are further categorised into four subcategories.

There are several types of migraines, including those with a conventional aura, brainstem auras, hemiplegic migraines, and retinal migraines. Additionally, several of these subtypes contain additional sub-subtypes. A person may have many headaches and multiple migraine types at once.

According to the number of days a person experiences symptoms within a given month, migraine can also be classified as chronic or episodic. A chronic migraine lasts for at least three months and causes discomfort on at least 15 days per month. Having migrainous symptoms for fewer than 15 days a month is considered episodic migraine. Like episodic migraine, chronic migraine affects up to three times as many females as males. Knowing what kind of migraine you have can help you and your doctor decide the best course of action.

Without Aura Migraine

A migraine without an aura, formerly known as a common migraine, is characterised by a headache that often affects one side of the head, has a pulsing nature, gets worse with movement, and is accompanied by nausea or light and sound sensitivity. The prodrome (warning phase) of migraine without aura may include symptoms including sadness, food cravings, difficulties concentrating, compulsive yawning, and others. Additionally, it can have a postdrome phase, during which the headache pain has subsided, but the sufferer is still tired, achy, and has difficulties focusing. Alternatively, when a migraine's headache phase has been reduced, a person may experience happiness and even euphoria.

Migraine with Aura

A migraine with aura is also known as classic migraine. Except for the headache phase of the migraine attack being preceded by neurologic disturbances that may include changes in vision, speech, or sensory perception, it often results in the same symptoms as a migraine without aura. Visual aura symptoms include tunnel vision, blurred vision, temporary blindness or colored patches, and seeing stars, zigzags, or flashing lights. Aura symptoms can occasionally appear without a headache preceding or following them.

What are the symptoms of a migraine?

Individual migraines range from mild to severe and are frequently accompanied by a throbbing or pounding sensation in the head, neck, face, or all over, even though they are typically one-sided. Sensations from migraines in the neck could be arthritis or a muscular spasm, while pains in the face could be sinus headaches.

The migraine headache pain in certain patients may be preceded by an aura, a transient neurological phenomenon that develops gradually before often going away just as the pain starts. While the most typical migraine aura consists of visual abnormalities, including flashing lights, zigzags, and blind patches, many sufferers also have numbness, confusion, difficulty speaking, vertigo, and other neurological symptoms resembling strokes. Auras may occur in certain patients but not headaches. The symptoms of migraine vary based on the person and type.

Stages of migraine

There are commonly four stages to migraine attacks, with slightly varied symptoms at each stage:

Prodrome: One or two days before aura symptoms or headaches start, there is a prodrome or warning period. Changes in mood, food cravings, tight muscles, memory loss, sensitivity to sound or light, exhaustion, problems sleeping, yawning, and frequent urination are just a few of the symptoms that might occur.

Aura - which can last from five minutes to an hour and get stronger over time, is experienced by certain people. The presence of bright spots or patterns of light, as well as numbness or tingling in various body parts, are symptoms.

Headache - The headache phase, which can persist for several hours or up to three days, is accompanied by pain. Along with nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, and sensitivity to specific stimuli like light and noise, the throbbing pain may begin on one side of the head and spread to both sides. You can manage it by avoiding triggers, in addition to using remedies such as CBD for headache.

Postdrome: Fatigue and body aches may appear in the final stages of a migraine attack after the headache pain has subsided. You could find focusing challenging and still overly sensitive to certain stimuli.

Not every migraine involves all four stages, and even those who experience migraine in stages might not go through them all at once.

What causes a migraine attack?

Unusual brain activity is the source of a migraine headache. Numerous factors may start this action. But it still needs to be clarified precisely how things happened. According to most medical professionals, the attack begins in the brain and involves neuronal pathways and chemicals. The alterations impact blood flow in the brain and adjacent tissues. They occasionally start earlier or later. Sometimes migraines run in families, and women experience migraines more than men. Not all women, but some do, experience fewer migraines during pregnancy.

Doctors still don't fully comprehend the origins of migraine. However, some medical professionals refer to the migraine brain as hyperactive or super sensitive, meaning that it responds more strongly than the brain of a person without a migraine to environmental stimuli like stress or sleep disruption, leading to known symptoms such as a migraine attack.

What triggers migraines?

Migraine attacks can strike suddenly and without warning or be brought on by specific known triggers, such as skipping meals, being around smoke or air pollution, or going through a menstrual cycle that causes a change in hormone levels. The average migraine episode lasts between four and seventy-two hours, though good therapy can cut that time in half. However, some migraine attacks can continue even longer than 72 hours, and various causes can bring them on.

These include:

  • Caffeine withdrawal
  • Hormonal changes
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Alcoholism consumption
  • Exercise or other physical stress
  • Loud noises
  • Bright lights
  • Erratic meal timings
  • Strong smells
  • Smoking or exposure to smoke
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Sugary foods such as chocolate
  • Dairy foods, especially certain cheeses
  • Certain Fruits and nuts
  • Processed, fermented, pickled, or marinated foods

CBD for migraine

Migraine Diagnosis and Treatment

Despite their severe symptoms, migraines nearly seldom have an underlying cause that can be detected through testing, including brain MRIs. As long as the patient's symptoms are typical of migraines and a complete neurological examination is routine, many doctors do not suggest brain imaging. For the great majority of patients, there are no available genetic tests. Because you cannot identify the problem with a scan or blood test, a skilled doctor must make the diagnosis.

How to treat migraines?

Although there is no known treatment for migraine, your doctor can help you manage attacks by arming you with the knowledge to deal with symptoms as they arise, which can result in fewer attacks overall. Treatment might also lessen the severity and frequency of your migraines. Your treatment strategy is based on various criteria, including your age, frequency, and kind of migraine attacks. It will also depend on if they involve side effects like nausea or vomiting, any other health issues you may be experiencing, and any additional medications you may be taking. Some people also use natural remedies for managing migraine pains. Neet CBD offers the best CBD for migraine.

Migraine treatment usually involves dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, vitamin supplements, and daily prescription drugs. Your treatment strategy might combine nutritional changes, over-the-counter pain relievers or migraine drugs, counselling, or alternative therapies like meditation, acupressure, or acupuncture. A migraine episode can be treated once it starts or prevented with medication. OTC medications can provide you with relief. But if over-the-counter drugs don't work, your doctor can decide to prescribe different medicines. You can also try supplements such as CBD for headaches. Which remedy is best for you depends on your severe migraines and whether you have any additional medical issues.

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