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Everything You Need To Know About Migraine Headaches & How To Deal With Them

Everything You Need To Know About Migraine Headaches & How To Deal With Them

If you’ve ever had intense, splitting headaches that come out of nowhere, then you’ve probably experienced a migraine. Migraine is a neurological condition that causes headaches of varying intensity, often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. In many people, a throbbing pain is felt only on one side of the head. If you’re struggling with migraines and want to know how to deal with them, read on.

Symptoms Of Migraines


Migraine headaches can have varying symptoms in people. Sometimes, the symptoms start manifesting in your body as early as two days before the actual headache. This is known as the prodrome stage, and symptoms can include:

  • hyperactivity
  • irritability
  • depression
  • fatigue or low energy
  • neck stiffness
  • food cravings
  • frequent yawning

A specific type of migraine, called migraine with aura, is a recurring headache that strikes after or at the same time as sensory disturbances called ‘aura’. When you have such a migraine, the aura occurs after the prodrome stage. During this stage, it is possible for people to have issues with their vision, sensation, movement, and speech. People could experience the following symptoms:

  • impaired speech
  • tingling sensation in your body, especially your face, arms, or legs
  • seeing flashes of light, bright spots or shapes
  • temporary loss of vision

When you are in the middle of experiencing a migraine, it is called the ‘attack phase’. This is when the symptoms of a migraine feel the most severe, and can last between hours to days. Most people experience at least one of the following symptoms during an attack:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • feeling faint
  • pain on one side of your head, either on the left side, right side, front, or back, or in your -temples
  • pulsing and throbbing head pain
  • increased sensitivity to light and sound

What Causes Migraines?


Despite ample research, doctors are unable to ascertain what exactly causes a migraine headache. Studies suggest that they seem to be related to changes in the brain as well as to genetics. In fact, it is also possible to inherit the triggers that give you migraine headaches, like fatigue, bright lights, weather changes, and others. So while it may be hard to figure out the cause, you can watch out for triggers, which can include:

  • Changes in your sleep cycle
  • Stress
  • Menstruation or premenstrual syndrome
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Changes in weather
  • Stress
  • Certain foods
  • Fatigue
  • Hunger

Types Of Migraines


While people can experience several types of migraines, there are two types that are the most common ones. These include migraine with aura and migraine without aura. It isn’t necessary that you’ll have one or the other–sometimes people can suffer from both types of migraines. 

Migraine Without Aura

This type of migraine is also referred to as ‘common migraine’. In fact, most people who suffer from migraines don’t experience an aura.
The International Headache Society has found that people who have migraines without an aura have had at least five attacks that have the following characteristics:

1. Headache attack usually lasting 4 to 72 hours if it’s not treated or if treatment doesn’t work

2. Headache has at least two of these traits:

  • it occurs only on one side of the head (unilateral)
  • pain is pulsating or throbbing
  • pain level is moderate or severe
  • pain gets worse when you move, like when walking or climbing stairs

3. Headache has at least one of these traits:

  • it makes you sensitive to light (photophobia)
  • it makes you sensitive to sound (phonophobia)
  • you experience nausea with or without vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Headache isn’t caused by another health problem or diagnosis

Migraine With Aura

A migraine with aura is also sometimes called a classic migraine, complicated migraine, and hemiplegic migraine. Approximately 25 per cent of people who suffer from migraine headaches experience migraines with aura. An aura usually occurs before the headache pain begins, but it can continue once the headache starts. Alternatively, an aura may start at the same time as the headache does.

According to the International Headache Society, you must have at least two migraine attacks that have the following characteristics:

1. An aura that goes away, and includes at least one of these symptoms:

  • problems with your vision (the most common aura symptom)
  • sensory problems of the body, face, or tongue, such as numbness, tingling, or dizziness
  • speech or language impairments
  • problems with mobility or weakness, which may last up to 72 hours
  • brainstem symptoms, which includes:
        -difficulty talking or dysarthria (unclear speech)
        -vertigo (a spinning feeling)
        -tinnitus or ringing in the ears
        -hyperacusis (hearing problems)
        -diplopia (double vision)
        -ataxia or an inability to control body movements
        -decreased consciousness
  • eye problems in only one eye, including flashes of light, blind spots, or temporary blindness (when these symptoms occur they’re called retinal migraines)

2. An aura that has at least two of these traits:

  • at least one symptom spread gradually over five or more
  • each symptom of the aura lasts between five minutes and one hour (if you have three symptoms, they may last up to three hours)
  • at least one symptom of the aura is only on one side of the head, including vision, speech, or language problems
  • aura occurs with the headache or one hour before the headache begins

3. Headache isn’t caused by another health problem and the transient ischemic attack has been excluded as a cause.

How To Treat A Migraine



To treat a migraine, you need to recognise the symptoms that you are experiencing. So observe your symptoms, and follow our guide on how to treat a migraine headache.



Before you go about treating your migraine, you should learn how to prevent it altogether. After all, prevention is better than cure, isn’t it? Adopt these measures if you want to prevent having a migraine headache in the first place: 

  • Understand what triggers your migraines, and try to avoid them as much as possible
  • Make sure you exercise on a daily basis
  • Drink adequate amount of water
  • Learn how to manage your stress
  • Eat healthy food, and don’t skip meals
  • Get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep



Because it is difficult to figure out what causes a migraine headache, there is no one specific way to treat it. The first step would be to recognise your symptoms and then visit a doctor for a diagnosis. Do not self-diagnose–you don’t want to be treated for something that you may not even have! Some of the treatment options your doctor might discuss with you include:

  • Maintaining a headache diary. This will help you figure out your triggers so that you can avoid future headaches
  • Lifestyle changes, like eating healthy, exercising and limiting smoking and drinking
  • If your symptoms are severe, your doctor might prescribe medication, which could include antidepressants, blood pressure medicines such as beta-blockers, seizure medicines and calcitonin gene-related peptide agents.


Frequently Asked Questions


Are Migraines Hereditary?


Although there is varying research, most doctors agree that migraines can be hereditary. In fact, more than 70 per cent of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine, and if both parents of a child are migraine sufferers, there is a 90 per cent chance that their child will also suffer from migraines.

Can You Make A Migraine Go Away?


The best thing to do for a migraine is to prevent it before it even shows up. To do this, you will need to observe your symptoms and recognise your triggers. Once you know what triggers your migraine headache, you can avoid them like the plague. Once the headache begins, you can take a pain-killer to treat it.

Can You Die From A Migraine Headache?


Medically, it isn’t possible for a person to die from the symptoms of a migraine headache, no matter how severe it is. However, sometimes the symptoms of a migraine can also mimic the symptoms of other life-threatening diseases, including stroke and heart disease. So make sure you’re able to correctly identify your symptoms.

How Long Do Migraines Last?


A migraine can last for as short as four hours and can go up to 72 hours.

So if you’ve been suffering from migraine headaches, make sure you identify your triggers and seek help from a medical professional before you begin any treatment.


Symptoms of Migraine in Hindi

Home Remedies for Headaches

Featured Image: Shutterstock

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30 Oct 2019

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