A migraine is primarily a severe debilitating headache often accompanied by a number of other symptoms. There are different types of migraine:
where there is a warning(aura), eyesight changes( bright spots etc.), double vision, partial blindness, tingling of the lips, face, and hands, limb weakness,dizzyness, drowsiness and slurred specch. Symptoms last a few minutes or longer and disappear as a throbbing, one sided headache with possible nausea, vomitting and light/noise sensitivity, abdomunal pain which improves after vomitting.
– Common Migraine
which consists of a sudden throbbing headache, nausea, vomitting, and light sensitivity.
with temporary paralysis on one side of the body, and possibly vertigo.
where there is pain around the eye and double vision. -Basilar Migraine which consists of a disturbance of a major brain artery, pre-headache symptoms such as vertigo, double vision, and poor co-ordination. This occurs mainly in adolescents and young adults, and women where it is usually associated with the menstrual cycle.
– Benign Exertional Migraine
which usually only last a few minutes and brought on by running, lifting, coughing etc.
a rare type that can last over 3 days, and often includes extreme pain, and nausea. The severety of syptoms can often lead to hospitalisation; it is often drug induced.
– Headache-free Migraine
involves visual symptoms, nausea, constipation, and/or diarrhoea.
Migraine appears to be genetic in nature. The latest scientific theory is that sufferers are born with a fault in the mechanism in cell membranes(ion channels) which regulate the passage of ions which may alter the rate of blood flow in the brain and brain stem, which in turn may affect the flow of natural chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine.
There are a number of well recognised triggers for migraines:
-certain foods such as chocolate, cheese, alcohol and caffeine,
-over exersion with exercise,
-hormonal changes in women,
-certain drugs(eg. contraceptive pill),
-lack of sleep,
this varies depending on the type and severity of the case but include basic painkillers such as Nurofen, if nausea is present then an anti emetic can be added (Migraleve for example is a combination drug); in more severe cases the Triptan group of drugs such as Imigran are used to contract the blood vessels around the brain. In some patients migraines can come at regular intervals, and in these cases ongoing preventative medication such as Sanomigran can be taken on a daily basis.Surgical procedures can be used in extreme cases: Dr. Guyuron, chairman of Plastic Surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Centre, has helped sufferers by removing the corrugator supercilii(the muscle group in the forehead), or a small part of the trigeminal nerve, or a small part of a muscle at the back of the head, or part of the nose septum depending on the location of the headache.
HOMEOPATHY & MIGRAINES:
When a patient consults about migraine attacks, we look at two main things: the possibility of an internal functional disorder and evidence of sensitivities to foods and/or environmental substances. We then use varying combinations of homeopathic remedies, dietary advice and lists of allergens to avoid.