Migraine

What is a Migraine?

Migraine headache is resulted by some specific changes within the brain. Causing severe head pain accompanied by sensitivity to light, sound, or smells.

How it triggers?

Migraines are caused by changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway.

Brain chemicals imbalance — including serotonin, which regulates pain in your nervous system.

During migraine attacks Serotonin level drops are observed. This may cause your trigeminal nerve to release neuropeptides,travelling to your brain’s outer covering (meninges), resulting in migraine pain. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) may also play a role in migraine pain.

Migraine triggers

Factors that trigger migraines include:

Hormonal changes in women. Headaches in women are sometimes triggered due to fluctuations in estrogen. Women with history of migraines during their periods often report headaches immediately or before, when major drop in estrogen occurs.
Increased tendencies to develop migraines during pregnancy or menopause.
Hormonal medications, like oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy,worsen the migraines. Some find their migraines occur lessen taking these medications.
Foods. Aged cheeses, salty foods and processed foods might trigger migraines. Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger migraine attacks.
Food additives. The sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG) triggers migraines.
Drinks. Alcohol, especially wine and highly caffeinated beverages may trigger migraines.
Stress. Stress can cause migraines.
Sensory stimuli. Migraines can be induced by bright lights and sun glare ,as can loud sounds. Strong smells like perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke trigger migraines in some.
Changes in wake-sleep pattern. Migraines trigger in some people who miss sleep or get too much sleep, as can jet lag.
Physical factors. Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, may provoke migraines.
Changes in the environment. A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
Medications. Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can increase migraines.

Symptoms

Migraines progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome, though all stages may not be experienced.Migraines can begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood.

Prodrome

Warnings include o that one or two days before a migraine, you notice subtle changes of upcoming migraine like:

Constipation.
Mood changes, from depression to euphoria.
Food cravings.
Neck stiffness.
Increased thirst and urination.
Frequent yawning.

Symptoms of the nervous system known as Aura are usually visual disturbances, such as flashes of light or wavy, zigzag vision.

Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light.
Vision loss.
Pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg.
Weakness or numbness in the face or one side of the body.
Difficulty speaking.
Hearing noises or music.
Uncontrollable jerking or other movements.

During a migraine, you may experience:

Pain on one side or both sides of your head.
Pain that feels throbbing or pulsing.
Blurred vision.
Nausea and vomiting.
Sensitivity to light, sounds, and sometimes smells and touch.
Lightheadedness, sometimes followed by fainting.

Post-drome occurs after a migraine attack:

Sensitivity to light and sound.
Confusion.
Moodiness.
Dizziness.
Weakness.
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