Migraine headache symptoms: What can you do?


You experience headaches and migraines when the blood supply to the brain is reduced. This headache is due to a clot in the blood vessels. A migraine is a throbbing pain felt on both sides and often only on one side. The primary symptom is a ‘migraine headache.’ A ‘migraine aura’- disruptions in vision accompanies the onset of symptoms, making it evident that you are going to have a migraine attack.

Excitatory electrical neural activity results in visual perceptions causing a migraine aura. The depression of excitation is a result of depolarization at one end of the neuron. The current research focuses on the electrical attack on the region to revert the condition for a healthy brain. It should be treated in early stages to prevent the risk of a more intense attack in the later stages.

Your symptoms tell you if you are having a headache or a migraine.

Commonly, you tend to confuse headaches and migraines. A one-sided headache is the primary symptom of a migraine. Headache can only last for about 30 minutes to a week. It is never prolonged, i.e., headache-free periods follow in between the attack. But migraine is a severe condition. All the symptoms of a headache are rigorous and intense in a migraine.

A person before a migraine can also experience the feeling of getting one. This effect is ‘migraine aura.’ Visions, blind spots, loss of balance, numbness, flashing sights all characterize the condition. A headache is a mild, dull pressure felt through your scalp. An intense throbbing pain characterizes a migraine, along with nausea and dizziness.

How do migraine symptoms progress?

Migraine progresses through four stages- Onset, aura, attack, post-attack.

  • Onset: You start experiencing external and internal changes. Mood swings, hormonal changes, stress, constipation, frequent yawning characterize the stage. Dietary factors also play a role.
  • Aura: In this stage, the neurons are hypersensitive and influence the sense of vision. Temporary loss of vision, vision disruptions, weakness, and jerks characterize the stage. It is a clear indication that you are going to have a migraine attack soon and should consult your doctor.
  • Attack: This is when you experience a migraine attack. The alterations in the concentrations of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides contribute to the intense effects. It can last from four hours to a couple of days if left untreated. Severe pain on one or both sides and increased sensitivity to light characterize the condition.
  • Post attack: After the symptoms of a migraine reduce, your brain feels relaxed. It seems like your mind is ‘shut off.’ This is a ‘migraine hangover.’ You have trouble doing things that you typically do on your own. You fail to work efficiently for a few days until your mind gets over the hangover.

Hormonal fluctuation are responsible for migraine headaches.

Though the primary cause of migraine is the clotting of blood vessels that reach the brain, it doesn’t initiate the pain of a migraine. Other neurotransmitters and hormones like Serotonin and Estrogen play an essential role in explaining the phenomenon behind migraine pain.

The activity of specific neural cells triggers the release of Serotonin. This increased concentration is responsible for euphoria experienced during the stages of migraine. It also plays a vital role in regulating synapses.

Moreover, the concentration also contributes to the constricted blood vessels blocking the pathway of oxygen to the brain. Whereas, the low levels cause the vessels to dilate. Serotonin affects both the sexes.

In contrast, Estrogen affects only females. It helps release the constriction. But, since the Estrogen levels fluctuate over time, it leads to frequent compressions and release, eventually resulting in throbbing pain. The fluctuations are frequent in pregnancy and during menstrual periods.

What should you do to reduce migraine headaches?

Medication

  • Pain relievers: like aspirin or ibuprofen
  • Opioid: When no other treatment works
  • Anti-nausea: To reduce nauseousness
  • Beta-blockers: to control blood pressure

Management and lifestyle

  • Try relaxation and stress-reducing techniques to reduce the frequency of migraines. Yoga, deep breathing exercise, and regular exercise help you relax.
  • Take a nap when symptoms appear.
  • Develop an eating and sleep routine. Make sure you eat at the correct time with low processed foods and no food additives.
  • Stay hydrated. Try to avoid more caffeine and alcohol.
  • If you frequently face a migraine with aura, avoid stress and bright lights.
  • Avoid migraine triggers in vulnerable conditions like menstruation.

How is the brain affected by a migraine headache?

When people are aware that migraine is a result of reduced blood supply to the brain, it is also evident that chronic migraines can harm the brain. Sufferers have a few enlarged regions and few shallow ones, unlike the non-sufferers. The cerebral cortex in our brain is responsible for creating new neural connections in response to external stimuli.

Since the primary symptom of a migraine is a frequent headache, the brain can eventually adapt to the pain.

Although the brain learns about these headache pains, it starts perceiving pain as usual. The negative impacts won’t stop there– it can damage the most critical regions of the brain over time. Complications include a brain stroke due to reduced blood supply to the brain for prolonged periods.

However, with treatment, you can manipulate your brain to unlearn pain. It can also help reorganize brain connections. How the brain reacts in response to certain created-situations, gives your doctor the perfect glimpse of your present situation.

Your doctor can now give you an ideal remedy and the correct dose of medication to treat your condition. MRI scans help your doctor study the changes. Although home-remedy can help you get rid of the symptoms, in events of severe signs, you should always consult a doctor. Talk to a therapist who can give you a professional remedy for your problem.

Related: Anxiety attack signs: What should you do to combat anxiety?

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