Have you ever seen a person who hasn’t experienced a headache in his or her lifetime? The answer would definitely be a big NO. Headache is quite a common phenomenon. There are many different types of headaches such as cluster, neck, sinus, and much more. But one of the most common types of headache that affects the vast number of people is Migraine. Also, most victims of migraine are women over men.
What is Migraine?
It happens at a very young age. It starts at 10 years for boys and at 15 years for girls. It can even start at 50 years for men. Most often it has a genetic background. When migraine happens the person would experience pain in either one or both the sides of the head. It can last for few minutes to nearly 3 hours time span. A person with migraine may experience this headache once or twice a week or once a month.
What are the Signs?
Migraine is expressed in four stages.
In the first stage, there will be little changes in sensation before a migraine occurs. For example, the person might feel little drowsy, tired, feel frustrated for no reason, nausea, longing for a particular food item, frequent urination, excessive thirst before they start to experience the headache.
Second Stage of the migraine is called Aura. In this stage the person will start to see a circular light forming in front of them, they will also start to notice waves of colors. Some people might experience dimness in eyesight, loss of sensation in tongue, hands, and legs, an experience of a strange smell, and hear weird sounds.
Third Stage is when the pain starts to happen. The pain starts to occur just behind the eyes on the front side of the head, and beings to spread to other regions. Pain can sometimes become very severe and lead to vomiting. The person will start to feel frustrated just at the sight of someone nearby. So they will want to take rest at a dark and peaceful place.
In the fourth and the last stage, the pain will gradually start to diminish and it will spread to the neck region. The person will start to feel exhausted at this stage. After this, the person might feel little confused and may experience little problems with their thinking ability.
What are the reasons?
- Excessive stress and depression
- Working for long hours without rest
- Lack of proper sleep
- Roaming around in midday sunlight
- Exposure to excessive noise pollution
- Working without proper food intake
These are some of the reasons for migraine. Additionally, even some food items can trigger migraine as well. This includes chocolate, egg, ice cream, cool drinks, artificially flavored drinks, some types of fish, a journey without proper rest, and drinking alcohol.
For some, working in a particular environment, or performing a specific task can trigger migraine. They could experience headache while watching tv without any rest. Some women might experience it during their periods. Perfumes, the aroma from flowers, smell of petrol and diesel, tobacco smell, even consuming some drugs could lead to migraine as well.
What is the treatment?
The first step of the treatment would be to avoid the triggering factor. For example, some people might experience headache after having an ice cream. These people should definitely avoid consuming it. If it occurs due to stress and depression, they should better look for a way to reduce it. Yoga and meditation can help them in a great way.
There are several drugs available now to treat migraines, this includes beta blockers, anti-stress drugs, calcium channel blocker, triptans and much more. But these drugs should be consumed only with Doctor’s direction and advice. As the reason for migraine differs from person to person, so does the medications.
Apart from medication, lifestyle changes, relaxation therapies, acupuncture, meditation, yoga are some alternatives that not only cures migraine but also prevents it from happening in future.
Food items like chocolate, milk, liver, meat, soy sauce are rich in tyramine. Monoamine oxidase is the enzyme present in our body that is responsible for breaking down tyramine. But this enzyme is secreted in lesser quantities in some people. This leaves some amount of tyramine untouched and it gets mixed in our bloodstream. This could lead to increased levels of blood pressure and migraine. Similarly, many soup items, fast foods make use of a salt called as Monosodium Glutamate to enhance the food taste. This salt will expand the blood vessels and lead to headache.
Changes in blood vessels that are attached to our brain and lack of proper secretion of chemicals such as serotonin and substance B are considered as the primary reason for migraine.
What is the modern treatment?
Neuromodulation is the most modern treatment available for treating migraine. This treatment makes use of a small matchbox-sized device known as the neurostimulator. Neurostimulator contains a little battery, a small electronic circuit, protective casing and lead wires.
This little device will be surgically implanted in the patient in the abdomen or buttock region. Leads or wires from this device will be buried under the skin and taken to the back of the neck area. Two ends of the wires will be placed at the back of the head region and the other two ends of the wires will be placed in the front part of the head, slightly above the eyelids. The ends of these wires will be connected to nerves that travel through the head region. As the device is buried under the skin, it won’t be visible on the outside. The patient will be given a remote control to operate this device. With the help of the remote, the device can be switched on and off whenever there is a sensation or signs of a headache. Once the device starts to function it will gradually reduce the pain and leave a little tingling feeling, even the tingling feel will only last for a few minutes and disappear.
What is the Science Behind Neurostimulator?
Whenever there is a sensation of pain in any part of the body, the nerves will carry the message to the brain. When we block this information carried by the nerves to the brain, we will not experience any pain. Neurostimulator works on this principle. Neurostimulator is a device that generates electrical impulses. The level of electrical impulses that need to be given to the nerves in order to stop the pain differs from person to person. This level can either be increased or decreased through the provided remote control. Whenever the person starts to feel headache, he or she can switch on the device through the remote, control the level of impulses that need to be sent to the nerves in order to make it inactive temporarily. So the person will feel no sensation of pain in his head. This is the magic behind the working of this device.