Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How To Treat Migraine

Migraine is a chronic neurological disorder characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches often in association with a number of autonomic nervous system symptoms. The word derives from the Greek ἡμικρανία (hemikrania), "pain on one side of the head",from ἡμι- (hemi-), "half", and κρανίον (kranion), "skull".
Typically the headache is unilateral (affecting one half of the head) and pulsating in nature, lasting from 2 to 72 hours. Associated symptoms may include nauseavomiting,photophobia (increased sensitivity to light), phonophobia (increased sensitivity to sound) and the pain is generally aggravated by physical activity.
 Up to one-third of people with migraine headaches perceive an aura: a transient visual, sensory, language, or motor disturbance which signals that the headache will soon occur. Occasionally an aura can occur with little or no headache following it.
Migraines are believed to be due to a mixture of environmental and genetic factors.About two-thirds of cases run in families. Fluctuating hormone levels may also play a role: migraine affects slightly more boys than girls before puberty, but about two to three times more women than men.
 Propensity for migraines usually decreases during pregnancy. The exact mechanisms of migraine are not known. It is, however, believed to be a neurovascular disorder.The primary theory is related to increased excitability of the cerebral cortex and abnormal control of pain neurons in the trigeminal nucleus of the brain stem.

About two thirds of migraine sufferers cannot function at a normal level when they get a migraine attack. You should see a doctor if your headaches interfere with work or family life, if headaches are getting worse, or if you take medication on a daily basis for headache.

Below are simple solutions to ease your migraine pain, but are not intended as substitutes for the advice of a doctor.

Get Some Rest

  1. 1
    Get a good night's sleep. Changes in sleep patterns, changing work schedules and jet lag can affect the quality of sleep cycles and trigger migraines. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day if possible.
  2. 2
    Keep the room dark. Be sure to rest in a dark room. Light sometimes aggravates migraine symptoms.
  3. 3
    Try not to sleep late. Though it might seem like a reward to relax and sleep in, giving yourself that letdown after stress is a common trigger because it affects your sleep patterns. If you really must sleep late on the weekends, try sleeping with a tiny bit of your window open to let air in.

Food And Drink

  1. 1
    Take caffeine. It's a paradox of headaches: ingest too much caffeine and you may get a headache, but take a little bit and it can help make the pain disappear. Studies have shown that aspirin and ibuprofen are more effective when combined with caffeine. So if you take aspirin or ibuprofen at the onset of a migraine, wash it down with a cup of coffee.
  2. 2
    Don't skip meals. Skipping meals can trigger a migraine attack. If you can, eat smaller meals throughout the day or be sure to eat three meals.
  3. 3
    Take note of what you eat. Certain foods and drinks triggers a migraine attack in about 10 percent of migraine sufferers. It can take from 30 minutes to 12 hours for a food to cause a reaction. If you get a migraine, think back to what you ate in that time frame and try eliminating some of those foods from your diet. Some examples of common triggers include chocolate and red wine.
  4. 4
    Spice it up. The hot ingredient in red pepper, capsaicin, is a terrific painkiller and may help those who have migraines feel better during an attack. You do not need to include red pepper in all your meals. You can buy cayenne pepper capsules in health food stores.
  5. 5
    Use chicken broth. This is a great tool if you suffer from vomiting symptoms during your migraines. Take out the can, turn it right-side up, open it and pour out the broth. Chicken broth replaces needed electrolytes and helps relieve the vomiting symptoms and general weakness associated with migraines.

Other Treatments

  1. 1
    Ice packs. Lie down and put an ice pack or cold compress on your head. Close your eyes while doing that.
  2. 2
    Ice water. Soak one or both of your hands in ice water for as long as you can tolerate it.While your hands are in the water, ball them into fists and open and close them repeatedly. It can have the same effect as a compress on your head.
  3. 3
    Take riboflavin. Studies have shown that taking 400 milligrams a day of riboflavin can help eliminate migraines.
  4. 4
    Take a bath with the lights off. Soak yourself face down (don't forget to come up for air) and just try and relax your body.
  5. 5
    Over the counter medications. Tylenol and Ibuprofen may often be effective in treating low-level migraines. It often helps if you're able to sleep directly after taking these medications.
  6. 6
    Check your progesterone levels. In some cases, low levels of the hormone progesterone appear to increase the frequency and severity of migraines. If you are a woman, and your migraines occur more often in the 2 weeks before menses, ask your doctor to check your progesterone levels (note: many doctors are unaware of this link, but if your levels are found to be low, they may be willing to prescribe supplementation).
  7. 7
    Use acupressure to momentarily relieve pain. tap three times on your temple, your shoulder and then the inside of your wrist. Repeat.
  8. 8
    See your doctor. If your symptoms remain the same or get increasingly worse, your doctor may want to give you a prescription migraine medication or try other forms of treatment.



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