What Is Migraine? A migraine is a terrible headache that tends to recur and is often accompanied by a feeling of nausea. The pain is usually felt on one side of the head.
One may experience flashing lights, zigzag lines, bright spots, partial loss of vision, or numbness or tingling in the hand, tongue, or side of the face. Moving around makes the headache worse.
While no medical tests confirm migraine, the diagnosis is based mainly on the above-mentioned symptoms.
Many scientists think migraine is a vascular disorder caused by a tightening (constriction) and sudden opening (dilation) of the blood vessels in the head, neck, or scalp.
Others believe that an abnormal release of neuro-chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin or noradrenaline may cause the throbbing pain of migraine.
Activities: In most individuals, the following activities may possibly trigger a migraine.
- Stress and time pressure, major hassles, major losses, anger, frustration, depression, and conflict.
- Excessive relaxation and positive feelings such as excitement.
- Smells and fumes, tobacco smoke, light glare or dazzle, weather changes, and high altitude.
- The onset of puberty in girls, monthly period, birth control pills, pregnancy, delivery, estrogen therapy, and menopause.
- Motion and travel.
- Too much, too little, or interrupted sleep.
- Hunger or fasting.
- Excessive activity (especially if you are not in good health).
Food Items To Avoid
The food items that are known to trigger migraine are:
- Beer, wine, and ‘hot’ liquor.
- Caffeine in coffee, tea, and cola drinks and some over-the-counter medicines.
- Dairy products such as ice-cream, milk, curd, cheese, butter, and milk cream.
- Fermented foods, such as dosa and pickled foods.
- Grapes, lemons, bananas, figs, and raisins.
- Processed meats.
- Chinese food containing monosodium glutamate (MSG).
- Saccharin in diet foods or diet drinks.
- Onions and beans.
- Yeast-containing products, such as fresh slices of bread and doughnuts.
- Nuts and peanuts.
Medicines that might trigger migraine are:
- Blood vessel dilating drugs such as nitroglycerine.
- Drugs for high blood pressure such as reserpine, nifedipine; diuretics.
- Anti-asthma medications like aminophylline.
- Oestrogens including birth control pills.
- Painkillers in general—either overuse or withdrawal from them.
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Remedies For Migraine
- Spread your workload evenly during the day to avoid highs and lows of stress at work or at home.
- Do not sleep excessively, especially during Sunday mornings and holidays.
- Do not get too tired.
- Eat at regular times, and do not skip meals.
- Do not eat or drink anything, you think brings on a headache.
- Limit the amount of tea, coffee, and painkillers you use.
- Watch your posture. Try to keep your neck straight. Keep your muscles relaxed when you are not physically active. Try not to frown or tighten your jaw.
- Restrict your physical activities in hot weather.
There are three factors that, when used in synergy, prevent migraine. The first is to stop rebounding. The second is to reduce your exposure to avoidable migraine triggers. The third is to take preventive medication.
Rebounding occurs when you rely on painkillers and other quick fixes for temporary relief. Each time this type of medication wears off, the underlying problem—migraine—is magnified.
Rebounding also blocks your ability to respond to the next two steps in preventing migraine: reducing your exposure to avoidable trigger factors and, if necessary, taking preventive medication.
Reducing exposure to trigger factors is difficult because these factors from many sources are all mixed together at any given moment.
This is the reason why people sometimes notice headaches after eating or drinking certain things, such as chocolate or wine, but sometimes don’t get headaches despite exposure to these items.
Therefore, it requires observation and patience on the part of the patient to make sure that any addition in the diet does not trigger a headache.
This may mean experimentally adding dietary items, one at a time, gradually reducing the dosage of preventive medication, or eventually, both. In this way, the level of preventive treatment required to maintain long-term headache control can be determined.
However, in the long run, it’s the elimination of dietary triggers that is a crucial step in preventing migraines.
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- Hold an ice-pack to your forehead or temples to reduce your pain.
- Lie down in a quiet, darkroom.
- Take the juice of Tinospora cordifolia (giloy), in doses of 10 ml with honey.
- Apply a paste made of black pepper and rice with the juice of bhringaraaja to the forehead. Alternately, you can apply the paste of sandalwood also.
- Drop some ghee, medicated with saffron flowers (Kesar) into each nostril and inhale deeply.
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