Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Migraine

2 Etiology of the disease

Currently, studies are continuing that are aimed at finding the main cause of migraine. The pathogenesis of this disease remains unknown. There are many hypotheses that describe the causes of migraine. The most probable of them is the theory, which speaks of the presence of a primary neuronal disruption( canalopathy), consisting in the improper functioning of ion channels in the cerebral cortex, neurons that regulate cerebral blood flow. Assumptions are made that the causes of the disease are vascular, metabolic and genetic disorders.

Despite the fact that it has not been possible to determine the exact cause of migraine until now, numerous factors are known which can provoke an attack of the disease.

Factors are endogenous, that is, acting on the body from within. These include sleep disorders( lack of sleep, like its excessive amount), fatigue and irregular eating( in particular, too long breaks between meals).

Hormonal factors, where a significant role is played by female sex hormones. It is believed that hormonal imbalances are one of the immediate causes that cause migraine symptoms in women. A large role is attributed to an increase in the level of estrogen and seizures occur during puberty, when the girls appear menstruation and in their body there are important hormonal changes. In addition, the importance of hormonal factors is indicated by the fact that in the first trimester of pregnancy the number of migraine attacks increases, which can be explained by a jump in the level of estrogens and progesterone.

A similar situation applies to women taking oral contraceptives. They have an increase in attacks of headache, often there is angina( a severe form of migraine, which can lead to even partial blindness).In turn, together with the decrease in the number of female hormones, for example, during menopause, most women experience the disappearance of symptoms of the headache or their relief.

Mental factors - the main trigger of the pathological process is prolonged stress, mental stress, as well as anxiety disorders. People suffering from depression, who are subject to chronic stress, often have migraine symptoms.

Nutritional factors and chemicals - this group includes mainly food, beverages, medicines and narcotic drugs. If a person often has migraine symptoms, he should avoid consuming chocolate, yellow ripened cheeses, nuts and legumes( such as peas, beans, beans), wheat, seafood, alcohol( mainly red wine), coffee and tea, citrus fruits,fried and fatty meat.

Chemicals used in the food industry, for example tartrazine, benzoic acid( preservatives of many products, present in margarine, chewing gum), or sodium nitrate( present in canned meat) can also have an adverse effect. In addition, the headache may be caused by some drugs, for example estrogens( used in hormone replacement therapy), Indomethacin( non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), Nifedipine( a drug used in coronary heart disease) or overdose with Ergotamine. Some patients also have an increased sensitivity to strong odors, which can become trigger factors( eg, perfume, paint, gasoline);

Environmental factors - these include weather changes, light intensity, stay at high altitudes and changes in atmospheric pressure.


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Other factors - high physical activity, sex life, head trauma and arteriography of carotid arteries. Head trauma can cause chronic headaches. Intensive physical activity is not recommended for people suffering from migraine, as it often causes her attacks. However, this does not mean that patients should stop playing sports or have contraindications for performing physical exercises. Physical load must be adapted to the capabilities of the patient to avoid injury to the body.

1 Characteristics of the disease

Migraine refers to primary headaches. It is defined as a severe headache with concomitant symptoms, autonomic, in some patients - with an aura associated with neurologic symptoms. Currently, such a headache is considered a genetic disease.

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3 Clinical manifestations of the disease

Migraine-induced symptoms are a spontaneous, recurring headache with a paroxysmal character, usually lasting from 4 to 72 hours in adults( in children up to 15 years it can last approximately 1 hour).Typical features of a migraine attack, mainly, are unilateral headaches. They are defined by the patient as pulsating pain of medium or severe severity. Discomfort and pain is aggravated by normal physical activity, accompanied by nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light, noise and odors.

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Some patients experience the appearance of the so-called prodromal migraine symptoms( preventive) even before the onset of pain. As a rule, they arise a few hours before the pain increases. These include feelings of fatigue or excitement, thirst, stiff neck, yawning or appetite for sweets.

Given the peculiarity of the migraine attack, two main types of the disease can be identified:

  • migraine without aura, develops much more often( 80-90% of all migraine attacks);
  • migraine with aura. A significant feature of the second type of migraine, is the emergence of focal neurological symptoms( symptoms of irritation from the nervous system), preceding heart attacks and lasting up to 60 minutes - this is the so-called aura.

A disease without an aura can take many forms. Some patients wake up already with a fully developed team of migraine symptoms( the so-called morning migraine), while in the second half of the people the headache grows gradually and has a pulsating character. As a rule, the pain is localized in the field of the temple and the eyeball, expanding to half the face, less likely to extend over the entire head or begin in the nape of the neck.

In addition to pain, patients suffer during attacks from nausea or are disgusted with food, phonophobia( noise intolerance), photophobia( photosensitivity) and osmophobia( intolerance to smells).Many patients experience other autonomic symptoms, such as chills, diarrhea, sweating, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, yawning, polyuria, and even fever. Sometimes it comes to fainting, and dizziness often arises. The appearance of the patients is very peculiar: a suffering facial expression, poor facial expression, pallor of the skin.

4 Treatment measures

Migraine, the causes of which are different, is not a disease that directly threatens your life. Unfortunately, migraine attacks and symptoms( hypersensitivity to light, sound and smells, nausea, vomiting) that accompany them make it difficult to function normally. Migraines appear and remain for life. The first attacks, usually, appear up to 30 years. Women suffer from migraines during adolescence. The disease often appears simultaneously with menstruation. It was noted that migraine passes, in the second and third trimester of pregnancy, but returns after childbirth. The disease is worse when taking birth control pills.

Symptoms and treatment of the disease is revealed by the doctor on the basis of a thorough questioning of the patient.

Treatment of migraine prevents and relieves symptoms, but can not stop the attack of the disease.

Medications for migraine - triptans, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and simple and complex analgesics, sedatives. The most popular drugs for migraine are tryptans, which treat the disease at any time of occurrence. They are used only as directed by a doctor. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are available without a prescription and act as an anesthetic. Pharmacological drugs for headache should be selected individually according to the needs of the patient.

Headache and herbs - the best are extracts of valerian, yarrow, primrose. You can use vitamins and minerals, for example, calcium preparations, vitamin B2.

Other ways of getting headaches are changing your lifestyle, eating habits, avoiding stress, using relaxation techniques and psychotherapy. It is worth taking care of enough sleep and physical activity. It is necessary to avoid factors that cause migraine attacks.

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