For those who suffer from migraine, Ayurveda can be a boon in curing this order.
Migraine headache is not an easy disease to do away with. Even with Ayurveda, moderate to severe form of migraine headaches take a while to get totally cured and usually gradually get better in a phased out manner; they usually do not disappear in one go. Usually whenever patient experiences such a headache they themselves often start off with paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen or other analgesics. OTC drugs may provide some relief, although they are typically not effective for most sufferers, and therefore is a very dangerous and harmful practice.
In allopathy treatment, patients who have been diagnosed with reccuring migraines, migraine abortive medications are prescribed. It means treating the attack at the onset can often abort it before it becomes serious. Similarly many NSAIDs are prescribed for a long time like paracetamol, naproxyn, excedrin, metoclopramide, megraleve, analgesics combines with caffeine and antiemetics. In short they treat the symptoms and not the person suffering from migraine headaches. These medicines are made up of synthetic products and are non organic. So, in one way they might be relieving your symptoms for an hour or so but the other way they are making you face other problems which we call side effects. Most of the pain killers are toxic to kidneys and liver which are vital organs.
Moreover allopathic pain killers are just a temporary solution. They have the same type of medicine for every migraine sufferer. Allopathy just works superficially and does not treat the root cause of migraine headaches.
Studies show that the constant use of pain killers may have a rebound effect - actually causing headaches. Dependence on pain killers may also hamper the effectiveness of endorphins, the body's natural pain killers.
On the other hand, Ayurvedais different; Ayurveda treats the whole person and tailor made treatment is devised for each different patient. For example 5 different patients of migraine headache may be given 5 different kind of remedies depending upon their physical and mental makeup, aggravating and ammeliorating factors. There are 253 remedies to choose from for migraine headaches in Ayurveda. This is one reason an experienced and knowledgeable homeopathy doctor is required to work on the disease. Ayurveda also helps and transforms people mentally, emotionally and physically.
Ayurveda treatment of migraine headaches depends totally upon the symptoms presented including the psycho-physical makeup of the patient. The character and the modalities associated and also the symptoms associated with the migraine headaches like aura, vomiting, nausea and the trigger factors decide the choice of Ayurveda medicine that would help that particular case.
What is Migraine or Paroxysmal Headache?
It is very common for each one of us to suffer from headaches couple of times in our lifetime; but for some, headaches are far too common and their recurrences become a major hindrance in leading a normal life. One such type of recurrent headaches is called Migraine headaches. Migraine headaches show a typical pattern of recurrence and are characterized by severe to moderate head pain, involving both sides or one sided which may or may not be present with nausea and vomiting.
Causes of Migraine or Paroxysmal Headache
Although the actual cause of migraine is not very clear, but the researchers believe that migraine headache is caused by a drop in the level of a chemical serotonin in the brain which leads to the inflammation and dilatation in the blood vessels of the brain leading to a headache.
Migraine is often pyschosomatic in origin. There are migraine personalities and most migraine sufferers show one or may of the following behavioral pattern : conscientiousness, fastidiousness, rigidity of views, constant conflict between the environment and self, high level of expectation.
Migraine headache sufferers are more females than males. However, we are observing a shift. Often it is observed to be running in the family, showing heriditary links.
Due to some triggering factors, varying from person to person, there is some kind of vasoconstriction and vasodilatation of the branches of the carotid artery which leads to typical throbbing and congestive attack of headaches. Migraine headache attacks may be triggered by :
Bright lights, loud noises, odors or perfumes.
Physical or emational stress.
Changes in sleep patterns.
Smoking or exposure to smoke.
Menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills, hormone fluctuations during the menopause transition.
Foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG) or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs, and salami).
Other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products and fermented or pickeled foods.
Symptoms of Migraine Headaches
The signs and symptoms of migraine headaches vary among patients. Therefore, what a patient experiences before, during and after an attack can't be defined exactly. The four phases of a migraine headache attack are common but not necessarily experienced by all migraine headache sufferers :
The PRODROME, includes symptoms experienced by patients hours or days before the headaches. These may include irritability, depression, tiredness, yawning, constipation, stiffness of neck and so on.
The AURA, immediately preceeds the headache. The symptoms may include foggy vision, colored vision, bright lines in front of eyes, sensation of pins or numbness on body, vertigo, loss of smelling power, nausea / vomiting and photophobia.
The PAIN phase, also known as HEADACHE phase : Usually the headache is in one half of the body. It increases gradually and lasts from 4 to 72 hours. However the intensity, duration and frequency of pain varies from person to person. The headache can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, vertigo, pallor of face, loss of appetite, sensitivity to smells, noise and light and so on.
The POSTDROME phase, the symptoms occuring after an attack of migraine. These include mood changes, depression, tiredness, letharginess, loss of appetite and so on.
Defining Severity of Migraine Headache Pain
The International Headache Society defines intensity of pain on a verbal 4 point scale :
Â Â Does not interfere with usual activities
Â Â Inhibits but does not wholly prevent usual activities
Â Â Prevents all activities
How are Migraine Headaches Diagnosed?
Migraine headaches are usually underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. The diagnosis of migraine without aura, according ot International Headache Society, can be made on the basis of the following criteria, the '5, 4, 3, 2, 1 criteria'.
5 or more attacks.
4 hours to 3 days in duration.
2 or more of - unilateral location, pulsating quality, moderate to severe pain, aggravation by or avoidance of routine physical activity.
1 or more accompanying symptoms - nausea and or vomiting, photophobia, phonophobia.
For migraine with aura, only two attacks are required to justify the diagnosis. POUNDING (Pulsating, duration of 4 to 72 hOurs, Unilateral, Nausea, Disabling) can help diagnose migraine. If 4 of the 5 criteria are met, then the positive likelihood of diagnosing migraine headache is very high.
Lab Investigations in Migraine Headaches
To rule out possible organic causes of headaches - for example, an aneurysm, tumor, or structural abnormality - a doctor may employ vision tests, x-rays, a CT scan, a lumbar puncture, or an EEG.
Home Remedies for Migraine Headaches
It is very important for those suffering from migraines to realize that lifestyle modifications like regular excercise and reducing stress in their life are very essential in curing migraine headaches.
Regular excercise can release endorphins, the body's natural painkilling agents. Excercise may also help to dilate blood vessels, which increases blood flow and may counteract the constricting action that occurs a the onset of most migraines.
Identifying trigger factors and avoiding these factors can be very helpful in controlling the recurrence of migrain headaches. Holding an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables against your forehead while soaking your feet in hot water may stop a migraine headache if fone right away.
Economic Impact of Migraine Headaches
In addition to being a major cause of pain and suffering, recurrent migraine headache attacks are a significant source of both medical costs and lost productivity. Medical costs per migraine sufferer averaged USD 107 over 6 months in one 1988 study with total costs including lost productivity averaging USD 313. Annual employer cost of lost productivity due to migraine headaches in USA amounted to one billion dollors in 1994, in addition to lost productivity estimated at 13 to 17 billion dollors per year.
The workplace model of 9 to 5, 5 days a week may not be viable for a migraine sufferer. With education and understanding an employer could compromise with an employee to create a workable solution for both.
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