A throbbing headache pain that gets worse on just one side of the head is usually called migraine. The intense pain is so severe that it can easily hamper our daily life. The migraine headache can last anywhere from four hours to three days.
Many people have migraine headaches but are rarely diagnosed, instead they are told that they suffering from sinus or stress. Certain foods, stress and hormones can be the triggers for common migraine headaches.
Symptoms of migraine
The throbbing headache typically if felt on one side of the face near the temples, forehead and eyes. Migraine headaches can make you very sensitive to light, sound and mild exertions like climbing stairs.
Many people also experience nausea, vomiting or vision problems. The severity of the pain can make people miss out on work or other activities.
Many people who suffer from chronic migraine will feel an aura about 20 minutes to an hour before the pain. The person will see flashing lights, wavy lines, or dots or get blurry vision. These are the symptom of classic migraine disease.
A change in mood, excitability, irritability or depression is all signs of forthcoming migraine. Others may get a sort of funny smell or taste. The person will feel fatigued, yawn frequently and experience muscle tension. This signs may be seen even 24 hours before any head pain.
What causes migraine?
Though it is still difficult to pinpoint the cause for migraine, the problem is understood to be more neurological or related to the nervous system. It is believed that certain abnormalities in the brain chemicals, blood vessels and nerves together cause such pain and discomfort.
What are the common triggers?
The common triggers include flashing lights, anxiety and stress, lack of food, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, certain foods, beverages and caffeine. This can be varied in different people and may singularly or collectively cause the problem.
Who are at risk?
Women are more likely to get a migraine headache than men. It can also run in the family and pass from generation to generation. Researchers believe that migraines may be due to certain gene mutations that affect certain areas of the brain.
Migraines commonly affect people who have epilepsy, depression, asthma, stroke and some other neurological problems.
Migraine headaches are usually diagnosed from the regular symptoms but the doctor will confirm it only after certain tests like the brain scan. A brain scan will rule out the possibility of headaches due to tumours and bleeding in the brain. A cross sectional image of the brain is obtained using special CT scan and X-rays. An MRI scan also will give the necessary information to rule out other causes.
What are the treatments?
Over the counter medicines like pain relievers and anti inflammatory drugs can help. However over using they can further worsen the migraine. Triptans are the most common medicine prescribed for migraine and are effective when taken prior to an attack. Certain other medicines are given when Triptans are not that effective and these can be taken as tablets, nasal sprays or injection.