Migraine symptoms and cure for all. Migraine is a disease whose main symptom is severe paroxysmal headaches. They are localized in one half of the head, which is why migraine is called hemicrania in Latin. Click To Tweet Migraine differs from the usual headache accompanying fatigue or being a symptom of any disease in the nature of the pain and the absence of any organic causes that cause it.
Migraine: causes of occurrence
The causes of hemicrania are still being studied, but scientists have found that the predisposition to the disease is inherited, along the female line. That is why migraine in women is recorded much more often than in men. The peculiarities of the functioning of the nervous system are inherited, which cause the appearance of headaches under certain circumstances. But the predisposition itself may not manifest itself in any way without the influence of certain factors, the so-called triggers. These can be divided into 4 groups:
The mechanism of development of pain during migraine is associated with the activation of the trigeminal nerve nucleus, which leads first to spasm, and then to the expansion of the arteries of the brain, the development of perivascular edema, which causes the appearance of migraine. Participation in the formation of migraine pains of disorders of serotonin metabolism in the central nervous system has been proven.
Causes of migraine in women
- The cause of migraine during menstruation is a change in vascular tone under the influence of hormones, the ratio of which changes during the cycle. In some women, headaches appear during ovulation, in others – with premenstrual syndrome or the bleeding itself. In some cases, hormonal contraceptives help get rid of menstrual migraines.
- Migraine and pregnancy are combined quite often, which is associated not only with hormonal changes, but also with an increase in the load on the circulatory system due to the inclusion of the fetus in the bloodstream.
- Migraine and menopause are also often associated, since with the onset of menopause, the ratio of hormones in a woman’s body changes again.
Causes of migraine in children
In children, migraines are usually associated with overwork, which occurs when the school is busy. Another common cause of migraines is hormonal changes that occur during puberty, which is why adolescent migraines are so often recorded.
Migraine symptoms in children are more difficult to identify, especially at an early age when the child cannot clearly articulate complaints. The symptoms of migraine in adolescents usually correspond to those in adults, so the diagnosis of the disease is straightforward.
The main symptom of a migraine is a severe throbbing headache. Usually it is unilateral and localized in the front temporal region, but there may be a different location of the focus of pain. In addition to pain, there are other symptoms of hemicrania:
- Nausea or vomiting, decreased appetite;
- Hypersensitivity to light, sounds, tastes, smells;
- Irritability up to aggression.
The symptoms of the disease are determined by the form of migraine, of which there are several. The duration of the attack is individual: it can last from 2 to 72 hours. The symptoms of migraine in men and women do not differ significantly. The difference is only in the frequency of attacks – in women, they are usually more frequent.
Distinguish between migraines with and without aura. Aura is a complex of neuro psychological symptoms that anticipate the onset of pain, becoming the first signs of migraine, or develop simultaneously with pain syndrome. They are caused by spasm of the cerebral vessels, which occurs at the initial stage of the development of an attack.
Types of migraine aura:
- Visual – flashes, “fog”, glare, distortion, loss of visual fields;
- Auditory – tinnitus, auditory hallucinations;
- Sensory – change in taste, smell;
- Aphatic – speech impairment;
- Motor – difficulty in limb movements, including walking;
- Vestibular – dizziness, may fall due to loss of balance.
Types of migraines
There is a simple (classical) form of migraine and migraine with focal neurological symptoms, which in turn can be of several types.
- Migraine without aura is an episodic headache, there are no symptoms of aura, neurological deficit.
- Migraine with aura is accompanied by the characteristic neuro psychological symptoms of various types described above.
- Cervical migraine is a symptom of impaired blood flow through the vertebral artery. With this condition, very severe headaches develop.
- Chronic paroxysmal hemicrania is characterized by episodic short-term symptoms of migraine (usually lasting no more than half an hour), which are repeated several times a day.
- Basilar migraine is a rare form, the symptoms of which significantly impair well-being. It is characterized by dizziness, discoordination, dysarthria, paresthesia in the extremities, tinnitus, visual impairment, and in some cases, loss of consciousness. The main symptom is severe headache, which can last up to several hours. After the attack, the patient falls asleep. Basilar migraine usually occurs in girls during adolescence, during puberty.
- Eye (ophthalmic) migraine is a form of the disease, a mandatory symptom of which is the loss of images in certain fields of vision, flickering, glare. The attack lasts no more than half an hour. The cause of ocular migraine is circulatory disorders in the occipital cortex of the cerebral hemispheres.
- Ophthalmoplegic migraine is characterized by oculomotor disorders (diplopia, ptosis, mydriasis) on the pain side. They are associated with compression of the oculomotor nerve by edematous vessels (cavernous sinus, carotid artery) and spasm of the artery feeding this nerve.
- Retinal migraine – headache is accompanied by transient blindness associated with retinal vasospasm.
- Hemiplegic migraine – accompanied by weakness in the body and limbs, paresthesias on the side opposite to the headache focus, which is associated with impaired cerebral circulation. Usually the attack lasts no more than an hour.
- Aphatic migraine – speech disorders occur at the height of pain.
- Abdominal migraines are accompanied by severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This form is typical for childhood.
- A “decapitated” migraine is an aura without a headache, most often a visual one. It is very rare, even less often diagnosed.
The diagnosis of migraine is usually made on the basis of complaints, after talking with the patient and examining him. A description of the nature of the pain and accompanying symptoms is sufficient. Nevertheless, patients complain of headaches quite often, and their causes can be very diverse, therefore, to clarify the diagnosis, an instrumental examination is often carried out. To exclude organic pathology of the central nervous system, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and cervical spine is performed. Changes in the state of the vessels of the head and neck, circulatory disorders in them can be detected using Doppler ultrasound (USG). An ophthalmologist’s consultation is mandatory, especially if there is a suspicion of ocular migraine. The study of the fundus allows you to indirectly assess the state of the vessels of the brain.
How is migraine treated?
Migraine treatment includes two approaches:
- help during an attack;
- preventive measures to reduce the intensity and frequency of attacks.
How to relieve pain during a migraine attack?
When the first signs of migraine appear, it is necessary to exclude, if possible, all external influences that provoke pain. A universal recommendation is to place the patient in a quiet, dark room with open windows. You can reduce pain with the help of non-drug means: acupressure of active points, cold compresses on the forehead, acupuncture, massage of the cervical-collar zone. Sometimes a cool or, conversely, warm shower, bath, shampooing helps patients well.
Migraine pills can be taken at the first sign of aura or pain. There are several groups of drugs that are prescribed for migraines. The choice depends on the form of the disease, the characteristics of its course.
If the pain syndrome is mild, the attack lasts less than 1 day, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually recommended. This group includes paracetamol, acetylsalicyclic acid, analgin, ibuprofen, naproxen.
What to drink with a migraine, if analgesics do not help or cannot be used due to the need for frequent use? In this case, triptans, which are derivatives of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine), which plays an important role in the pathogenesis of migraine, become the drug of choice. They have a vasoconstrictor effect, which can reduce perivascular edema and compression of brain tissue. Triptans for migraine should not be combined with other vasoconstrictor drugs.
Triptans are available in the form of tablets, nasal sprays. The latter option allows you to quickly deliver the active substance to the vessels of the brain, spraying it onto the nasal mucosa, and to avoid a decrease in the activity of the drug when passing through the liver. On sale you can find the following names under which triptans are produced: eletriptan, frovatriptan, sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, almotriptan, naratriptan, risotriptan.
Sometimes doctors recommend alternating the intake of drugs of different groups, depending on the severity of the attack. This scheme reduces the risk of complications and addiction. Ergot alkaloids are highly specific for migraine, which have a pronounced vaso-constrictor effect. In very severe cases, when all of the listed groups of drugs for migraine do not help, gluco corticosteroids can be prescribed.
Fighting a migraine is necessary not only by suppressing pain – its other symptoms also require attention. For example, prokinetics ( motilium, cerucal ) help well with nausea and vomiting . They make you feel better and allow you to take your migraine medication by mouth. If the attack is severe, accompanied by repeated vomiting, then the parenteral route of drug administration is preferred.
* based on the opinions of experts:
Ali Z. et al. Research Opinion in Medical Curriculum, 2007; 23 (4): 841-851.
Renner B. et al. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2007; 47: 715-726.
Preventive treatment for migraines
In severe forms of migraine with frequent, poorly controlled attacks, preventive therapy with medication can be prescribed. This approach does not completely get rid of migraines, but it significantly improves the quality of life. As well as for relieving pain during an attack, drugs with a different mechanism of action are used, which can be combined with each other.
- NSAIDs (long-term use is not recommended due to side effects);
- Antidepressants, which, according to the mechanism of action, are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. In addition to affecting serotonin metabolism, which is an important point in the development of migraine, antidepressants neutralize stress and other psychoemotional conditions that can cause migraine attacks.
Lifestyle also plays an important role. All trigger foods should be excluded from the diet, and bad habits should be abandoned. If possible, you need to normalize the amount of sleep and rest, avoid physical and emotional stress. Medical prophylactic treatment of migraine during pregnancy is contraindicated, as it can have a negative effect on the fetus.
How to treat migraines at home?
In folk medicine, there are many recipes with which you can fight migraines. Some of them are based on the ingestion of various infusions and solutions that help to cope with pain and normalize vascular tone. Another part of home treatment methods is based on local effects. Here are some recipes that have proven to be effective.
- To alleviate the course of an attack, you can drink at the first sign of an infusion of chamomile, willow roots, raspberry leaves, or a collection of lavender, peppermint and chamomile.
- Oregano infusion is well suited for preventive treatment . If you drink it in a glass three times a day, you can significantly reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.
- Mummy also helps to reduce the frequency of attacks, which in the form of a solution should be drunk before bedtime for 2 weeks.
- Cold compresses on the scalp, which can be replaced with cabbage leaves, are effective in soothing pain.
- You can relieve pain by putting a piece of lemon peel without peel on the temple on the sore side or putting mustard plasters on the skin of the calves. The principle of these methods is to create a distracting stimulus.
- Rubbing essential oils into the temple area is good for mild migraine attacks.
What should not be eaten with migraines?
In case of migraine, it is recommended to exclude from the diet all foods containing amines (tyramine, histamine, serotonin), as they can provoke the development of seizures. Strict restrictions apply to the following products:
- fatty meat (especially pork);
- smoked meats (salami, jerky, sausages, fish);
- cheeses, especially aged varieties (cheddar, brie, swiss, roquefort);
It is recommended to limit:
- sausages and sausages, ham;
- meat broths, jellied dishes;
- cream, sour cream;
- pastries and fresh bread;
- citrus and various exotic fruits;
- onions, garlic, horseradish, radish.
Migraine is a chronic disease that cannot be completely cured, but if certain rules are followed and preventive treatment is taken, attacks can be very rare and do not significantly affect the quality of life.
- Psychological causes of migraine: mental, emotional stress, stress.
- Physiological: sleep disturbances, fatigue, hormonal changes.
- Nutritional: Tyramine, which is found in many foods (coffee, chocolate, nuts, cheese, cocoa, smoked meats, citrus fruits), has been shown to trigger migraine pain. Migraines and alcohol are also closely related. Wine, champagne and other low alcohol drinks are often the cause of migraines.
- External factors: strong odors, bright light, loud sounds, changes in atmospheric pressure, being in stuffy rooms.
The causes of migraine in men and women can be associated with the characteristics of the hormonal background. Women are much more likely to experience situations that provoke the development of pain, many scientists explain the higher frequency of migraines in women by this fact.