Everything You Need to Know About Migraine & Its Symptoms

Best Neurologist in Delhi NCR, Dr. Rohit Gupta Explains Everything About Migraine

Most certainly, you would have experienced the distress of a headache, sometime in your life. Remember the throbbing, sharp pain that disrupts your routine and does not seem to get any better? Now double the intensity and time of that pain and what you get is a headache disorder called migraine. Migraine headache affects nearly 1 billion people across the globe. It is a condition characterized by repetitive debilitating headaches, scaling from moderate to severe. Migraine headache is the third most common illness in the world. Despite such high incidence, there is little understanding of migraine symptoms, causes and treatment.  In this article, Dr. Rohit Gupta, Migraine Specialist and the best Neurologist in Delhi NCR, explores what is a migraine and what are the migraine symptoms?

What is a migraine? 

Migraine is a very common disorder. It is a neurological condition that causes extreme pain and a pulsing sensation at one side of the head may last for several hours and may extend up to days.

A migraine is more than just a headache as it generally follows after an aura of sensory disturbances. These aura disturbances include:

  • Nausea
  • Difficulty in speaking difficulty
  • Hyperactivity
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light, sound or smell

The pain is known to worsen if the patient is involved in any type of physical exertion. Migraine tends to affect people aged between 15 to 55 years.

What are the different types of migraines?

Migraine meaning can be classified into two main types which depend on whether the patient suffers from sensory impairment or disturbances. These disturbances are known as aura. Hence, the types of migraine include:

  • Chronic Migraine: When migraine attacks occur over 15 days of a month.
  • Menstrual Migraine: When the migraine attack is somehow related to the pattern of the menstrual cycle.
  • Hemiplegic Migraine: When migraine temporarily weakens one side of the body.
  • Abdominal Migraine: This is a syndrome that connects a migraine attack to dysfunction of gut and abdomen.
  • Migraine with brainstem aura:  A very rare type of migraine that can cause severe neurological symptoms.
  • Acephalgic Migraine: Also referred to as silent migraines, this type of migraine occurs with headaches. However, symptoms like Aura still prevail.

While it is important to learn about the symptoms, you should not self-diagnose your condition. It is highly recommended to see a doctor if the headaches follow a migraine pattern.

What are the common migraine symptoms?

The common migraine symptoms include:

  • Food craving
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Frequent yawns
  • Neck stiffness
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • The illusion of seeing shapes bright spots or flashes
  • Tingling sensation
  • Temporary loss of vision (severe symptom and should not be ignored)
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Pulsing head pain
  • Vomiting
  • Pain on one side of the head, either left, right, front, back or in temples

After the attack, the patient generally experiences what is called the postdrome phase. Changes in mood and feelings are experienced during this phase. This can range from elated and happy to fatigued and apathetic with a mild and dull headache.

The duration and degree of these phases vary from person to person. It is not unusual for a phase to skip and it is completely possible that an attack may occur without any headache.

What are migraine causes?

The migraine causes are not fully understood yet. But apparently, the cause is a mix of genetics and environmental factors that play a major role and can be considered reasons for migraine, says best Neurologist in Delhi NCR – Dr. Rohit Gupta.

Abnormal brain activities may result in migraine pain. This affects the way nerves communicate and may cause a chemical imbalance. This imbalance includes a decrease in brain chemical known as serotonin. Genetics and allergies also seem to play a big role. In the above two-third of the cases, migraine runs through the family.

What are the triggers for a migraine attack?

A migraine trigger is any environmental change, external stimulus or physical act that results in a migraine headache. Many triggers are responsible and reasons for migraine attack which includes:

  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes act as a trigger in women. Fluctuations in estrogen levels due to menstrual periods, pregnancy and/or menopause transitions seem to trigger acute headaches. It may worsen due to the use of hormonal medications, such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy.
  • Drinks: Certain beverages, especially the one which contain alcohol or caffeine, like wine, coffee or energy drinks can trigger a migraine in men and women.
  • Foods: Certain food items are known to trigger migraines like aged cheese and salty processed food. Using some artificial sweeteners or even skipping meals can trigger migraines.
  • Stress: One of the most popular triggers of migraines is stress. Stress and tension at home or workplace are widely known factors that can cause migraines.
  • Medications: Oral contraceptives can cause hormonal imbalance and vasodilators
  • Physical factors: Involvement in intense physical exertion might trigger a headache. And so, can change in sleep patterns or missing sleep. Sometimes too much sleep and jet lag can also trigger migraines.
  • Sensory stimuli: Exposure to bright light such as sun glare, loud sound or a strong smell can trigger a migraine.

What is migraine treatment?

There is no single cure for migraines and the treatment may vary from person to person. It is highly recommended to see a doctor if you see any of the symptoms mentioned above or if your headache follows a migraine pattern.

Migraine treatment helps in preventing a full-blown attack. Sometimes migraine may alleviate merely with some changes in lifestyle and daily habits but sometimes it may need surgery to cure. The best way to deal with migraine is to consult a doctor and get it diagnosed.

How to cure migraine permanently?

Medical treatment and lifestyle modifications, combined can help in getting rid of a migraine. Some lifestyle changes may help with a migraine which includes:

  • Getting enough and good quality sleep
  • Reducing stress
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Regular mild exercise
  • Eating gluten-free

Generally, migraine medication is also advised as a course of treatment. Always consult a doctor before starting any kind of migraine medication, says best Neurologist in Delhi NCR – Dr. Rohit Gupta.

What is the difference between headache and migraine? 

The primary difference is the fact that migraine is a headache disorder. It is one of the many types of headache. Generally, a headache is felt in the head, face or upper neck area. While migraine headache is felt mostly at one side of the head.

The concluding note 

A migraine headache can be a draining experience and consume several hours or even days of your life. It is important to educate yourself about the fundamentals of migraine to seek effective migraine treatment.

For more information, book an appointment with the best Neurologist in Delhi NCR – Dr. Rohit Gupta or call us at +91-9718044428.