Do you sometimes feel a throbbing sensation and a pulsating pain on one side of your head? Does that pain disable you from doing your daily activities? Then, there is a high chance that your pain is not just a simple tension type headache or sinus headache, but migraine. Migraine headache is one of the most debilitating pain that one would ever suffer from. This pain, at times, can become so difficult to cope with that one loses his ability to think.
Why does migraine occur?
Before you delve deep into all causes and impacts of this headache type, it is a must that you know about migraine headache a little. In simple terms, migraines occur when there is a change in the brain chemical levels. As the trigeminal nerves interact with the brain stem, they produce chemicals that are called neuropeptides. It is these neuropeptides that lead to the pain sensation, as they travel across the outer covering of the brain, known as meninges. What is important about this is that the chemical Serotonin, which regulates or reduces this pain in your brain or head, significantly drops in levels. Hence, the pain sensation is extreme.
Triggers of migraine:
Now that the mechanism of the migraine headaches is known, it needs to be stated that the exact cause of migraine is not clearly known. However, there are a few factors that act as triggers, contributing in the migraine attacks. These include –
- Hormonal changes in women
- Foods like aged cheese, salty and processed foods, packaged and processed meat
- Alcohol and other caffeinated drinks
- Food additives like MSG
- Barometric pressure
- Strong smell, loud sound and bright light.
Though these are the most common migraine triggers, these may vary from person to person. However, since knowing the trigger may help in preventing the migraine attack, it is must that you keep a track of your triggers. A migraine diary can help a lot in noting these triggers.
Symptoms of migraine headaches:
Knowing about the symptoms of migraine headache is quite helpful for those, who do not have a clear idea of their headache types. Though the symptoms differ in different stages of this pain, the most common signs are –
- Throbbing and pulsating pain in one side of the head
- Bilateral pain in case of children
- Sensitivity to light, sound and smell
- Blurred vision
Many migraine sufferers also encounter constipation, food cravings and mood swings along with these symptoms. Once the attack subsides, there will be dizziness, confusion and weakness due to the extreme exhaustion of the attack. What is most significant about the symptoms of migraine headaches is the aura.
Auras are sensory, motor and verbal disturbances that are found in some, but not all migraine sufferers. These cause temporary loss of vision, seeing spots of light, flashes of light, zigzag lines or blind spots in front of eyes. Even movement of arms and legs may be temporarily affected. Some may also feel difficulty in speaking. The auras last for 20 to 60 minutes before the attack. But the attack may last for 4 to 72 hours. It cannot be predetermined. But, seeing a doctor without delay will make sure that migraine headaches are minimized and prevented well.