Migraine… Not Just A Headache!

I had been a chronic sufferer of acute episodes of migraine for many years. Doing anything felt so painful that I literally used to bang my head against the wall. I had tried different kinds of treatment but to no avail. I have been remarkably helped with Homoeopathy. Thanks to you Dr Madan, gone are my days of suffering. Gratitude from the bottom of my heart!!

~ A testimonial by an overseas patient benefited by 4 months of regular medication (still on treatment). 

Migraines are moderate to severe headaches usually affecting one side of the head, though they may in a lot of cases involve the whole head or may shift sides even when unilateral. They often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood.

Symptoms of Migraine

A migraine may progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, headache and post-drome, though one may not experience all the stages.

  • One or two days before a migraine or in prodrome you may notice subtle changes that warn of an upcoming migraine, including constipation, mood swings from depression to euphoria, food cravings, neck stiffness, increased thirst and urination, frequent yawning etc.
  • Pain in a migraine headache may be throbbing, pulsating or pounding, lasting for hours or even days.
  • It is episodic in nature with frequency varying from one person to another.
  • It is often accompanied by symptoms like nausea or vomiting.
  • Concurrently, there might be increased sensitivity to light and sound (photophobia and phonophobia). The person prefers being in the dark and avoids light in any form, natural or artificial and least bit of noise.
  • Some feel better after sleeping while others may not.
  • migraine auraIn some cases, the pain is preceded by some warning symptoms called the aura of the migraine like – flashes of light, temporary blindness, ringing in the ears, a change in taste or smell, tingling in the limbs, or just an overall funny feeling. These can last from 15 minutes to an hour.
  • “Migraine hangover” or postdrome is the final phase of the migraine lasting for a day or 2 past the original headache, where one may feel drained out or fatigued, nauseated or have muscle tension.

What causes Migraine

If you get migraines, it implies that your brain is sensitive to environmental changes — both external and internal. Such changes tell your brain that the environment is threatening. The result is pain. Although a combination of factors, from genetics to neurovascular imbalances in the brain (Read more…) causing a serotonin drop, are believed to play a significant role in the occurrence of a migraine, the most common triggers are –

  • Stress or fatigue
  • Strong smells, like perfumes and detergents
  • Bright or fluorescent lights
  • Weather changes
  • Going out in the sun
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Certain foods like aged cheese, processed and fermented foods like soy sauce and sauerkraut (rich in tyramine), chocolates, food additives like aspartame and the foods containing the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Alcoholic drinks especially wine, and highly caffeinated beverages.
  • Skipping meals or fasting
  • Loud noise
  • Intense physical activity
  • Hormonal fluctuations in females just before or during menstruation, during pregnancy or with medications like birth control pills

How can we prevent them?

About 4 out of 5 people with migraines have a relative who gets them, too. The tendency to get migraines runs in families.  If one of your parents has it, you have a 50% chance of getting it. If both parents have it, you stand a 75% chance. While you can’t change your relatives/genes, certain lifestyle modifications can indeed help you fight it off.

1) Regularity is the key. Try to be as regular as possible in everything you do — sleeping, eating, working. The more predictable your lifestyle, the less likely you are to have alarms going off in your brain causing the migraine pain.

2) Track your triggers. Not everyone has the same migraine triggers. Keep a headache diary to find your triggers. Use a smartphone app or a paper diary. Fill it in for 1 to 3 months, recording how severe and frequent your headaches are, and what you ate or did before the migraine. You’ll start to notice a pattern.

3) Exercise regularly. Regular aerobic exercise reduces tension and can help prevent migraines. Choose any aerobic exercise you enjoy, including walking, swimming and cycling. Warm up slowly.

4) Reduce the effects of estrogen. If you are a woman who has migraines and estrogen seems to trigger or make it worse, avoid or reduce taking medications that contain estrogen. These include birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. Talk to your doctor about the appropriate alternatives or dosage for you.

4) Home remedies for migraine. A number of home remedies like apple cider vinegar, ice packs, cayenne pepper, chamomile and ginger are recommended. Although these may alleviate the symptoms marginally, they do not offer a permanent cure.

Treatment options

Conventional medications include:

  • Pain relievers: Aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB and other NSAIDs) may help relieve mild migraines but if taken in large doses or for a long period of time, may cause abdominal pain, bleeding, ulcers and other complications.
  • Triptans and ergots: These medications naturally raise serotonin levels in the body and may cause serotonin syndrome. The condition leads to changes in cognition, behavior and muscle control (such as involuntary jerking).
  • Anti-nausea medications.
  • Opioid medications.
  • Corticosteroids (prednisone, dexamethasone).

Also, there are different kinds of daily preventive medicines, so ask your doctor about your options. Many of these drugs also treat high blood pressure, seizures, and depression.

Homoeopathy for migraine headaches 

It is very important to understand the basic difference between getting relief and getting a cure for migraine headaches. We as doctors often get patients who have been on migraine medication for years. These so called migraine medications are just painkillers that provide temporary relief. Often people look for some home/natural remedies for migraine too but are soon disappointed. Eventually migraines become a part of their life and they learn to live with it. It is difficult for them to even imagine that there can be a situation where they will be able to lead a life, completely free of headaches.

Homeopathy tries to delve deeper into the cause of the problem and completely eradicate the tendency to migraines. So effective are the medicines that in just a couple of months, one forgets having had them ever!

15 Best Homoeopathic medicines for migraine 

In 27 years of my practice, I have used dozens of homoeopathic medicines for migraine headaches.  Since the cause varies from one patient to another, so does the final selection of the remedy. For the sake of brevity and readability, I am giving a list of 15 remedies that top the list:

  1. Belladonna : best medicine for migraine with pulsating or throbbing headaches.
  2. Glonoine : best for migraines that are congestive or come in on exposure to sun.
  3. Natrum Mur: for migraine due to grief, stress or eyestrain. Attacks are more before, during or just at the end of the periods. There may be a preceding aura of blindness or zigzag vision.
  4. Natrum Carbonicum : Highly suitable for sun headaches.
  5. Sanguinaria Canadensis : for right side migraines.
  6. Spigelia: best suited for left sided headaches.
  7. Iris Versicolor : valuable for migraine with nausea, vomiting or acidity.
  8. Nux Vomica : for migraine with gastric troubles.
  9. Ruta : another important medicine for headaches due to eyestrain.
  10. Sepia : for migraine in women around menopause.
  11. Kali Phos : for migraine due to stress.
  12. Epiphegus : for migraines triggered by mental or physical exertion or by a slightest deviation in one’s routine.
  13. Cyclamen : for migraines that starts with visual aura.
  14. Gelsemium : due to eyestrain preceded by blindness.
  15. Actea Racemosa : for congestive headaches due to sudden checked menses.

Since most migraine medicines work best when taken early, it’s a good idea to take one as soon as you feel a headache coming on.

The medicines are reliable, safe and effective for both acute as well as chronic migraines and produce no side effects. Individual symptoms are studied in detail in each and every case to reach the appropriate medicine. Migraines with or without aura, both come under the preview of Homoeopathy and respond wonderfully.

 

May the New Year bring Health, Happiness and a Pain-free world for You!

2 thoughts on “Migraine… Not Just A Headache!

  1. Dr J., migraines do suck. I hope your new regimen keeps working for you. I wish my migraine with aura had triggers but they don’t. Mine simply occur because I have a rare neurological disease called CADASIL, in which migraine with aura often presents as the initial symptom. Other disease features include white matter disease, arteriopathy (especially in the brain), TIAs, lacunar strokes, and, eventually early onset dementia, among others.

    I don’t know what type of physician you are but if you (or your colleagues who work in neurology) encounter a patient who presents with migraine with aura and there is a strong family history of migraine and unexplained stroke and dementia, and perhaps early death, then this might be a disease to keep in mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Although complex, the name CADASIL is self-explanatory and gives an exact medical description regarding the location, mode of inheritance, causative factors and the pathological outcome of this rare disease.
      Cerebral: relating to the brain; thus implying that other systems in the body are relatively unaffected
      Autosomal dominant: a method of inheritance, whereby a single abnormal copy of a gene causes disease, despite the fact that the other good copy of the gene is present.
      Arteriopathy: disease of the arteries, usually medium to small size arteries
      Subcortical: relating to the portion of the brain immediately below the cerebral cortex. White matter and deep gray structures constitute this region and play an important role in most higher functions such as sensation, voluntary muscle movement, thought, reasoning, memory, etc.
      Infarcts: areas of tissue that have undergone a type of cell death (called necrosis), as a result of loss of blood supply.
      Leukoencephalopathy: a disease of the brain caused by damage to the white matter.

      Homoeopathy can be effectively used as a supportive treatment to combat the migraine headaches, depression, loss of memory and dementia in such cases to improve the quality of life.

      Wish you all the best. Do try homoeopathy for symptomatic relief since it doesn’t give any side effects.

      Like

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