Cure of migraine may be imminent

Keeping away from triggers way is the best bet

New Delhi : Migraine is still much of a mystery. But it is not to say that medical science has made no progress in decoding the migraine conundrum. Management regimen of the disorder has reached the stage which is as good as cure. Precise cure may not be round the corner but it has emerged that the medical condition is potentially curable.

Migraine is a baffling medical condition unlike normal headache. Though it can easily be diagnosed, it is a patho-physiologically complex disorder to tackle. Variations in weather, pressure and places can present trigger for it.

Talking to Medicare News, Dr. Atul Prasad, Director and HOD, Neurology, BLK Super speciality Hospital, says, ‘Surely medical science is yet to find its cure; its management has achieved optimum level after which only cure can follow. Doctors have almost tamed this puzzling disorder. Keeping triggers at bay is the only solution for now

If dizziness is killing your day’s charm; you are feeling nauseated; your head aching; this may not be a normal headache as you might think. You may be in for a spell of migraine. These symptoms are prelude to impending migraine attack. And it is no so very difficult to identify it, though management may be a little elaborate.

You can tell migraine from normal headache by the area it inflicts. Normal headache occurs on both sides of the head. The affected areas are temple, back of the neck and forehead. But in a migraine event, the pain is only behind one eye or ear, accompanied by nausea, temporary blurred vision and sound sensitivity. Unlike normal headaches, migraine are severe and makes it pretty difficult to allow the victim to follow hectic daily routine.

What is migraine?

Migraine headaches are classified into two types: Migraine with Aura and migraine without Aura. The sensations a person experiences before migraine attack is referred to as ‘Aura’. The time duration can be 10-30 minutes in advance. Some migraineurs may experience the ‘prodrome’ phase i.e. the symptoms arise a day or two in advance which includes irritation, stiffening of neck, constipation and frequent yawning.The sensations include dropping in mental alertness or difficulty in thinking; face or hands may become numb; unusual lights or lines flash in front of the eyes and unusual sense of taste, smell or touch.

Reasons that trigger migraine in the summers are as follow:

  1. 1. Change in weather : For some migraineur, summer may be a difficult season to cope with; others may find winter harder to endure. Precautions have to be customised accordingly.
  2. 2. Flying: Flight journeys can be avoided as air pressure variances can spike the migraine pain. For frequent flyers keeping a tab on the weather can be useful to be at least prepared.
  3. 3. Pollen and grass allergies: During summerespecially, pollens do linger. Thunderstorms spread the pollen in grass and trees. People allergic to pollen must keep the doors and windows closed during the peak time. The body temperature will be hotter in summer as it is hot outside. And when the body temperature changes, it escalates to migraine. Avoid heat while going out in the sun by wearing hat, using umbrellas.
  4. 4. Light sensitivity: migraineurs are light sensitive, so while going out they can use tinted sunglasses.
  5. 5. Humidity: Humidity contributes to headache for a migraineur and it is irritating.
  6. 6. Dehydration: Our brain is 85% water. During summers, fluids move out of the body at a faster rate leading to dehydration. Dehydration can slow the blood circulation, causing dizziness and headache. Keeping the body well hydrated can be a way to avoid migraine. Drink plenty of water in summers.
  7. 7. Overhydration: To maintain correct body electrolyte balance, drinking excess water is not as this may also spur headache.
  8. 8. Vacation: Everybody loves to go on vacations, but interestingly, this might be a reason causing migraine. When we let our stress go, headaches follow. First few days of a vacation or the first week off are marked as red flagged periods for migraine attack.
  9. 9. Changes: Migraineurs don’t adapt well to changes. During week off or leave, they lend themselves to oversleeping, unusual eating time, napping in the noon. Eating and sleeping schedule should never be disrupted in order to avoid migraine attack.
  10. 10. Alcohol: Excess use of alcohol can trigger headache, so while partying in summer, be it icy cool beer or wine, try not to consume.

Treating Migraines

Preventions tips

  • 8. Avoid food like caffeine and alcohol that triggers headache
  • 9. Take prescribed medications that include antidepressants, BP lowering medicines and antiepileptic medications
  • 10. Take measures to reduce stress and tension.

Medications

Medications prove to be more effective and quick healer for migraineur who are affected less frequently. The medicines are: Antinausea medicines, such as promethazine (Phenergan), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), or prochlorperazine (Compazine).

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as acetaminophen, aspirin,naproxen sodium, or ibuprofen.
  • Triptans, such as almotriptan (Axert), rizatriptan (Maxalt), or sumatriptan (Alsuma, Imitrex, and Zecuity).

Over dosage of medicines can lead to rebound headaches. Instead of helping in cure, this will worsen the situation. It is advised not to take the medication for more than 10 days a month.

More than one in ten people experience a migraine at some time, with women three times more likely to suffer. Why, it is not clear. Patients have different triggers, ranging from stress and specific foods, to bright lights and noise. Migraines can begin in childhood or may not occur until early adulthood. Family history is one of the most common risk factors for having migraines.

The disorder stems from some kind of neurovascular disturbance. One can even inherit this dysfunction in brain that in some individuals becomes chronic. At various stages of the pain, it has been shown to bring about some functional neuro-imaging changes too.

Dr. Prasad says, ‘On further analysis, it has emerged that it may be potentially curable disorder or disease. At least it would be possible to manage it to such an extent that acute genesis or chronic progression could be prevented. It might no longer become clinically symptomatic. There are many present and potential targets to mitigate the migraine attack, and therefore, a potential cure might exist in the future. It would then reduce the expression of paroxysmal symptoms and signs, which then will fall within or near the spectrum of normal brain functions.’

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