Everyone of us have experienced headache at least once in our lifetimes . It may a brief episode for many of us. But for some patients it can be very incapacitating, intense and recurring . Headaches have many causes and triggers which may be different for different individuals (thus the need for individualization).There are many different types of headaches experienced by the patients . Tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches, exertion headaches, eyestrain headaches, sinus headaches are some of the commonest types of headaches.
Most of the chronic and recurrent headaches are not often associated with serious medical problems, but still it is advisable to evaluate for for any underlying medical conditions by use of different diagnostic and imaging techniques.
Migraine is a symptom complex of periodic headaches which are usually unilateral (one sided) and often associated with nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to noise and light. These are vascular headaches and the attack of migraine is usually preceded by constriction (narrowing) of the cranial vessels (blood vessels supplying the brain and skull) and the headache commences with dilatation of these blood vessels. The attacks of migraine are recurrent and usually precipitated by some triggers which are different for different individuals.
Some common symptoms of migraine
- Headache which is mostly unilateral (on one side only, but it can also be bilateral ) .
- Type of pain can be throbbing, bursting, hammering, splitting type , congestive, fullness, dull aching .
- Can be associated with acidity, nausea, vomiting, photophobia, dizziness, intolernce to light and sound
Some common triggers of migraine
- Stress (mental or physical)
- Lack of sleep
- Sun exposure (sun headaches )
- Premenstrual headache
- Emotinal disturbances
- Change of routine
- Extremes of temperature
- Gastric disturbances .
There are two main types of migraine:
Classical Migraine ( Migraine With Aura)
Aura is the neurological phenomenon that is experienced 10 to 30 minutes before the headache begins. Patient may experience visual disturbances (like blurring of vision), hallucinations or even temporary loss of vision before the headache. Less commonly patient may also experience giddiness, vertigo, tingling numbness in various parts of the body, weakness etc.
Common Migraine (Migraine With Aura)
This is a common presentation and the patient does not present with any aura(neurological phenomena) before the headache. Nausea and vomiting frequently accompany this kind of migraine.