Migraines are a combination of symptoms, with various causes, that are experienced only by certain individuals. They are typically characterized by acutely painful headaches, often accompanied by painful light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting. The first time someone experiences a migraine can be extremely frightening as the pain can be unrelenting. Even those who have suffered from regular migraines over decades, feel afraid when they feel the onset of another migraine.
In the vast majority of cases, migraines are very debilitating. Sufferers usually have to lie still in a darkened, quiet room, for up to three days in order to avoid provoking further pain. As a result of this, migraines can have a profound effect on a person’s life, relationships and work.
Two people with migraines may not be experiencing the same symptoms, and they may not due to the same causes. Some migraines are classified as aura migraines, which can cause symptoms such as double vision, sudden loss of consciousness, dizziness, temporary paralysis loss of balance. It is thought that our susceptibility to migraines is determined by our genes, and that episodes can be triggered by various factors, including hormone changes (especially approaching and during menstruation), alcohol, stress and poor sleep.
Treatment of a migraine can be directed at different stages of the migraine. The first signs of a migraine include tiredness, thirst, a stiff neck and a craving for certain foods. The headache often starts at this stage, often being present on one side of the head only. As tiredness and hunger can be factors in provoking a migraine, now would be a good time to eat and take some rest. It is better to eat bland foods, such as wholegrain rice and bread, remembering to keep your fluids topped up. If the migraine progresses, you may lose fluids through vomiting.
Trying to sleep is important in all stages of the migraine. Even at this initial stage, some people report that taking a nap can actually halt the migraine and prevent the main attack.
In an aura migraine, the impending main phase of the attack is forewarned by the presence of an aura – sensory changes in vision, hearing, touch and speech, partial paralysis and a sense of foreboding. This stage can last up to an hour and is immediately followed by the main attack stage of the migraine. During this time, it is essential to remove yourself from any hazardous situations. Do not attempt to drive, have someone take you home and prepare your bed.
The worst stage of the attack can be unbearably painful. In addition to vomiting, the sufferer may cry. In some people, the act of crying actually helps to alleviate symptoms and can bring about the end of the main attack. Other people report that vomiting can suddenly end the migraine, although for most people this does not happen.
Most migraines are ended by sleep. The sufferer becomes exhausted from the pain and physical exertion that they eventually succumb to sleep. After as little as 20 minutes, the migraine may disappear. The hours and days after a migraine, it is common to feel tired and lethargic. At this point, it is important to ensure that you are getting enough sunlight, fresh air and nutrients. It is a good idea to use a juicer (http://www.juicercruiser.com/citrus-juicer-reviews/) to create your own juices and smoothies which provide you with a good balance of nutrients, without having to perform the chewing motion, which can leave your mouth and head feeling tense.
There are various treatments which can be used to reduce the effects of a migraine and help to prevent their reoccurrence. In women whose migraines are associated with menstruation, for example, it has been found that estrogen patches can alleviate the reduction in that hormone which is thought to precipitate migraines just before a period.
Massage of the lower back of the skull, hands and feet has been shown to alleviate symptoms, as has acupuncture.
Analgesic drugs reduce migraine pain and reduce associated inflammation in the body. These are usually taken in soluble liquids for faster absorption into the blood. Codeine is a popular analgesic which block pain receptors in the brain. It is recommended that sufferers consult with their medical practitioner before attempting to self-medicate.