It is hard to find anybody who has not experienced a migraine attack in a lifetime.
The searing pain, usually on one side of the brain, is quiet unbearable and irritating.
Migraine, physicians point out, are common among women who undergo frequent hormonal changes at various stages of their lives.
There are certain precipitating factors that can trigger migraines and doctors suggest taking precautions to avoid them.
For persons who have chronic migraine condition, long-term treatment modalities, under the care of a general physician or a neurosurgeon, is suggested.
There are instances where migraine runs in the family. “Such cases are rare but they do exist. Lifestyle modifications and avoiding factors that trigger migraine attack is vital. Usually, patients who have migraine attacks often describe a pulsing or a throbbing pain at one half of the head,” says former Superintendant, Gandhi Hospital, and consultant general physician, Yashoda Hospitals, Dr. B. Balraju.
Most common symptoms, in addition to headache, during migraine attacks are vomiting, nausea and sensitivity to light.
“Just before a migraine attack, persons start having flashes known as luminous hallucinations. These are the indicators for an impending bout of a bad migraine attack,” Dr. Balraju explains.
There are a host of several triggering factors for migraine. They include sudden emotional disturbance like heated arguments, physical stress, lack or excessive sleep, certain kinds of food, bright lights, alcohol, anxiety, odours or perfumes, missed meals and hormonal changes among women during menstrual cycle and while on birth control pills.
“There are long-term medicines available for management of migraine. But such drugs should be taken only after consulting a physician. The best way to avoid migraine attacks is to control precipitating factors,” Dr. Balraju says.
Once the migraine symptoms set in, physicians advise patients to keep body hydrated, use a water-soaked cloth on the head and avoid bright light.
“There are antidepressants that can reduce stress levels or medicines like propanolol to reduce anxiety. But these should taken only on a doctor's prescription,” Dr. Balraju advised.