Migraine means recurrent attacks of headache, varied in intensity, frequency and duration; commonly unilateral (one side) in onset, and usually associated with anorexia and sometimes with nausea and vomiting. Some are associated with conspicuous sensory, motor and mood disturbances.
Causes of migraine:
Age: Typical migraine appears in adolescence and continues at intervals until the sixth decade.
Sex: More common in women.
- Prolonged fasting causing low blood sugar.
- Prolonged exposure to bright light.
- Particular foods, especially cheese, chocolates, citrus fruits, coffee.
- Mild associated with head injury e.g. heading a football.
- Changes in the degree of stress.
Conditions associated with migraine:
Tension headache, the periodic syndrome (recurrent bilious attacks of childhood), epilepsy, allergy
Types of migraine:
- Common migraine: Attacks are more often related to factors such as menstruation and relaxation after stress.
- Vertebro-basilar migraine: Due to spasm of vertebra basilar artery. Usually a start in third decade and headache is commonly occipital region.
- Hemiplegic migraine: This is often familiar. Patient may have several attacks affecting one side of the body, whereas the next attacks may affect the opposite side.
- Migrainous neuralgia (Cluster headache): Occur mainly in men. Headache associated with at least one of the following on the painful side namely conjunctival injection, lacrimation, and nasal congestion, running nose, forehead and facial flushing, miosis, ptosis, eyelid oedema.
- Post-traumatic migraine: A minor head injury or heading the ball in soccer players (footballer’s migraine) may result in a migrainous type of headache, accompanied by vertigo and occasionally vomiting.
- Opthalmoplegic migraine: Headache is commonly around the eye and is accompanied by weakness of movement of one eye which may outlast the headache by some days. Children are more commonly affected.
- Facial migraine: Unilateral episodic facial pain associated with symptoms suggestive of either migraine or cluster headache.
- Retinal migraine: Loss of vision limited to one eye.
- Complicated migraine: Patient is left with a persistent neurological deficit after a migraine attack. This occurs most commonly after hemiplegic migraine.
- Symptomatic migraine: The term is used when symptoms suggest diagnosis of migraine but where a structural lesion is found such as angiomatous malformation or arterial aneurysm.
- Migraine equivalents: Prodromal symptoms occur without headache or vomiting.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Migraine
- According to Charaka (School of Ayurvedic Medicine), ‘Udavarta’ is the root cause of disturbance of the three vital organs e.g. heart, kidney (with bladder) and brain. Due to suppression of 13 natural urges (e.g. flatus, faeces, urine, sneezing, thirst, hunger, sleep, cough, breath, yawning, vomiting and semen and flow of tears) repeatedly and for long time; ‘Vata dosh’ gets vitiated which leads to ‘Udavarta’. This process of ‘Udavarta’is the root cause of all type of migraines. So one should avoid suppressing his natural urges especially the urge of faeces, urine, sleep, thirst and hunger.
- Adopt healthy lifestyle- One should follow the ‘Ayurvedic lifestyle’ (including daily routine, seasonal routine, diet plan and Ayurvedic dietetics) given on the home page.
- During acute attack of migraine, one should use Ayurvedic analgesic tablets such as Tab. Vishtindukadi Vati (Ganga Ayurvedic Pharmacy, Bombay) or Tab. Navjivan Ras (Baidhyanath Pharmacy) with warm milk adding of one tablespoonful of castor oil. (Dose: 1-2 tablets with the duration of every hour until the pain of migraine subside.)
- General- Lying in a darkened and quiet room and ice pack to the head may help.
- Elimination of trigger factors- e.g. sleeping late night, irregular and hurried meals, certain foods especially chocolate and fried food or missing of meals, psychological stress, contraceptive pills.
- Relaxation exercises- which may include biofeedback from a temporalis electromyogram.
- Yoga exercises- Appropriate yoga exercises under the guidance of a yoga teacher including of ‘pranayam’ (breathing exercises) can give dramatic result in migraine.
- Avoid excessive smoking and habit of consuming alcohol.
- Avoid unnecessary stress- Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed. You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.
Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you’re close to reaching them. Taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress.
Avoid people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or end the relationship entirely.
Take control of your environment – If the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off. If traffic’s got you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.
Avoid hot-button topics – If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.
Pare down your to-do list – Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “should” and the “musts.” Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.
- Healthy ways to relax and recharge yourself-
- Go for a walk.
- Spend time in nature.
- Call a good friend.
- Sweat out tension with a good workout.
- Write in your journal.
- Take a long bath.
- Light scented candles.
- Savour a warm cup of coffee or tea.
- Play with a pet.
- Work in your garden.
- Get a massage.
- Curl up with a good book.
- Listen to music.
- Watch a comedy.
- Some of the famous Ayurvedic medicines for migraine treatment are-
- Kwath (Home-made decoction): e.g. Dashmool Kwath (Petlad Mahal Ayurved Pharma, Nadiad)
Method of preparing the Kwath (Home-made decoction)- Take around two tablespoonfuls of Herbal decoction and mix it well with around one cup of water (Around 70-80 ml water) and one cup of milk. Keep the mixture for around half an hour. Then boil this mixture on light to medium flame. Shake it well during boiling. Gradually the water will start to get evaporating. When around one cup of milk remains in the mixture during boiling, take it down. Strain the liquid into a glass or ceramic container using a sieve or a cloth such as a jelly bag or muslin cloth. Drink the freshly prepared liquid decoction after 4-5 minutes.
- Kadha (Ready-made decoction in Syrup base) - e.g. Dashmool Kadha; Pathyaadi Kadha
- Churna (Ayurvedic herbal powders) - e.g. ‘Sunthi Churna’ (Dry ginger Powder) along with ‘Arandbhrishta Haritaki Churna’ in equal parts. Dose- One tablespoonful of Churna, 2-3 times a day with warm water during empty stomach/ before meal.
- Vati (Tablets/ Capsules)- e.g. Reliz Capsule (Siddham Ayurveda’s), Tab. Vishtindukadi Vati (Ganga Ayurveda Pharmacy), Tab. Arandbhrishta Haritaki (Balark Pharmacy), Tab. Navjivan Ras (Baidhyanath Pharmacy)
- 'Ayurvedic Panchkarma Treatment' (i.e. Nasya Therapy) can be beneficial for migraine cure permanently.