Migraine headaches can be debiliating, affecting a person’s lifestyle, work and relationships. An estimated 6% of men and 18% of women suffer from migraine.
Migraines are postulated to be arising from the contraction and dilatation of blood vessels within the brain. When low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, (5-hydroxytryptamine) occurs, small vessels in the scalp and brain contract and become hypersensitive.
Blood pressure then rises and that is when the throbbing starts. The pain can arise behind or above one eye and spread to one side of head.
Types of Migraine
- Migraine without an aura
- Migraine with an aura – different types of migraine
80% of patients do not have migraines.
Common triggers of migraine include
1. Hormonal changes- about 70% of migraine sufferers are women. This is because the fluctuations of hormonal levels during menses cycle may trigger migraine.
2. Stress and emotional tension
3. Bright light, loud noise and strong odour – womens’ perfume, jasmine
6. Certain foods like chocolate, citrus fruits, cheese, alcohol, MSG and caffeine
Management of Migraine involves a combination of factors
- Diagnosis with detail history and examination. When the diagnosis is in doubt, an MRI of brain is useful if the brain is structurally normal.
- Painkiller such as anti-inflammatories, Imigran maybe useful
- Identifying trigger factors and avoiding them is extremely useful.