Migraine is a throbbing, intense headache in one half of the head. migraine headache are unilateral, majority of times in the temporal region. It usually affects people of middle age and migraine is three times more common in females than males. It may occur with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or sensitivity to light in many people, a throbbing pain is felt only on one side of head. Some people who get migraines have warming symptoms, called as Aura, before the actual headache begins (An aura is a group of symptoms, including vision changes and it is a warming sign that a bad headache is coming).
Migraine is one of the common causes of recurrent headache according to International headache society (IHS) it constitutes 16 % of the primary headache and affects 10 to 20% of general population. Now, it is recognized as chronic illness, not simply as headache. The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranks migraine among the world’s most disabling medical illnesses.
As per Ayurveda concepts, migraine can be correlated with Ardhavabhedka ( a disease of head ) is a Shiroroga having symptoms such as paroxymal unilateral headache which is sometime associated with Vertigo, nausea, photophobia, phonophobia. Although migraine headaches can results from a Vatta , Pitta or kapha imbalance, they most frequently occurs when systemic Pitta moves into the cardiovascular system, circulated, and affects the blood vessels around the brain. The hot sharp quality of Pitta dilates the blood vessels and create pressure on the nerves causing the painful condition.
What are the symptoms of migraine?
Migraine headache symptoms vary and may occur with or without an aura; see spets ,wavy lines or flashing lights. Aura begins within 30 minutes before headache. Some people have numbless or pins and needles sensation in their hands, arms or face during aura. The patience may present with one or more of the following symptoms in decreasing frequency- half sided headache, nausea, photophobia, lightheadedness, scalp tenderness, vomiting, visual disturbances, Vertigo, confusion etc.
The headache usually-
- A typical migraine headache is unilateral and pulsating in nature
- Start as a dull ache and get worsen within minutes to hours
- Are throbbing, pounding or pulsating
- Are worse on one side of the head with pain behind the eye or in the back of the head and neck
- Last 6 to 48 hours
Increased sensitivity to light
Increased sensitivity to sound
International Headache Society ( IHS) classifies headache as-
1. Migraine without aura
It is commonest type and very commonly seen during menstruation. More than 50% of female experience this only during menstruation, this is diagnosed if there have been more than five attacks with two or more of the following features;
- Unilateral pain
- Pulsating pain
- Moderate to severe pain
- Hindrance with daily routine and during attack of the nausea, vomiting or phonophobia or both should be there
2.Migraine with aura
It is diagnosed when a patient develops some reversible focal neurological symptoms within 5 to 20 minutes and last for less than an hour followed by simple migraine. At least 2 attacks confirm migraine.
3.Childhood periodic syndrome
This is a condition of children presenting dull pain in abdomen with migraine attack.
4. Retinal migraine
Retinal migraine is diagnosed when patient has scotoma, that is patchy loss of vision in one eye, surrounded by normal vision, for less than one hours. Then vision become normal.
5. Migraine with seizures
6. Migraine with complications
7. Migraine like disorders
Migraine can be triggered by following factors-
- Prolonged fasting causing low blood sugar
- Flashing light
- Red wine
Migraine can also be triggered by certain foods-
- Baked goods, chocolate and Dairy Foods
- Foods with monosodium glutamate
- Foods with tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish,chicken livers, figs and certainand Beans)
- Fruits (avocado, banana,citrus fruits)
- Meats containing nitrates ( bacon,hot dogs, Cured meats)
- Peanuts and other nuts and seeds
- Processed, fermented, pickles or marinaded food
What are possible treatment modalities?
There is no specific cure for migraine headache. We need to prevent symptoms by avoiding triggers. A number of pain killer available in western medicine in market to subside migraine headache, but Ayurveda plays a great role to minimize the migraine treatment. It could be possible through various treatment modalities in ayurveda like Panchakarma, Agnikarma, Drug therapy, Marma therapy and some preventive measure may also help:
Agnikarma is a local cauterization process with red hot shalaka(rode) made out of iron, silver or Gold having penetrating potency. According to Ayurveda, pain can’t be occur without involvement of Vata therefore, agnikarma may help to pacify aggravated vata and thus Angnikarma can be beneficial in migraine. It is quick, instant pain reliving and easy procedure to perform and it is effective too.
- Auttarabhaktika sneha with Brahmi ghrit with warm water
- Nadi sweda
- Nasya with Brihat dashmoola tail, Ksheera Bala tail
3. Marma therapy
Stimulation of the following Marma could be a beneficial and instant therapy to relieve migraine headache but it should be always performed by Marma therapy expert only, others wise it can cause complications;
- Stimulation of Adhipati marma
- Apanaga marma
- Sthapani marma
- Seemanta marma
- Vidhura marma
- Pacify the aggravated Pitta by having a mixture of Shatavari, Brahmi, jatamansi and Musta.
- Soothing nasal drop with Brahmi ghee, cephagraine nasal drops
- Shirashooladi vajra rasa
- Sarpagandha Ghan vati
- Pathyadi qwath ( decoction)
- Sutashekhara rasa
5. Yoga and Pranayam
- Moon salutations ( Surya Namaskar)
- Hidden lotus posture
- Boat pose, Bow pose
- Spinal twist
- Palm tree pose
- Standing on toes
- Anuloma- Viloma
- Cooling breathing exercises
- Meditation, Om mantra chanting
When you have migraine –
- Gently squeeze your earlobes, pulling the ear down and do the act of yawning.
- Begin rest in quient, dark room
- Drink more fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Also avoid pitta aggravating diet such as hot, spicy food, fermented foods sour and citrous foods.
Written by: Dr. Ranjeet Singh