What is it?
A migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache on one side of the head. The pain is usually a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that gets worse when you move and prevents you from carrying out normal activities. In some cases, the pain can occur on both sides of your head and may affect your face or neck. ###Additional symptoms Other symptoms commonly associated with a migraine include: * nausea * vomiting * increased sensitivity to light and sound – which is why many people with a migraine want to rest in a quiet, dark room Some people also occasionally experience other symptoms, including: * sweating * poor concentration, * feeling very hot or very cold * abdominal (tummy) pain * diarrhoea Not everyone with a migraine experiences these additional symptoms and some people may experience them without having a headache. The symptoms of a migraine usually last between four hours and three days, although you may feel very tired for up to a week afterwards. ###Symptoms of aura About one in three people with migraines have temporary warning symptoms, known as aura, before a migraine. These include: * visual problems – such as seeing flashing lights, zig-zag patterns or blind spots * numbness or a tingling sensation like pins and needles – which usually starts in one hand and moves up your arm before affecting your face, lips and tongue * feeling dizzy or off balance * difficulty speaking * loss of consciousness – although this is unusual Aura symptoms typically develop over the course of about five minutes and last for up to an hour. Some people may experience aura followed by only a mild headache or no headache at all.
- Keep a diary to record when your headache occurs, its symptoms, what you had eaten before the headache started, food cravings during that period, sleep patterns, menstrual cycle and other factors. This will help you to find out what triggers your migraine, so that you can avoid those factors and prevent further attacks.
- During the attack, drink 3 glasses of very cold water (if this suits you) or warm water and lie down in a dark room with a cold pack on the head. Take complete bed rest.
- Get a regular massage around the neck and shoulders to relieve the tension in the muscles. Proper rest and sleep is needed for prevention of migraine attacks.
- Eat a proper balanced diet and maintain regular eating habits.
- Increase intake of omega 3 fatty acid-rich foods like flax seeds, walnuts, soybeans and tofu. They have anti-inflammatory properties and help tremendously to reduce the intensity and frequency of attacks.
- Limit intake of simple carbohydrates like sugar, all sugary foods, alcohol, soda, etc. Take a high-fiber diet- whole grains, bran, oat, green leafy vegetables, peas, beans, potatoes, raw vegetables, salads, dried fruits and fresh fruits.
- Don’t eat too many sweets or fat-rich items.
- Don’t eat at odd times.
- Don’t have long intervals between meals; eat healthy snacks at frequent intervals throughout the day, to maintain blood sugar levels.
- Don’t overexert yourself. Do regular moderate exercise.
- Avoid going out in sun; when unavoidable, carry an umbrella and wear dark glasses.
- Avoid taking pain killers and oral contraceptives.
- Avoid painkillers oral contraceptives.
- Avoid strong smelling perfumes, deodorants and detergents.
Things to watch out for
Migraine can be usually treated at home by using off the shelf painkillers. GP should be contacted if you have severe or frequent migraines (more than five days a month)