HEAD- MIGRAINE – KING OF HEADACHES
Dr S. Chidambaranathan B.H.M.S, M.D Homeopathy Doctor Madurai (Treatment avail for all people around the world)
No one knows the pain unless until he gets it, i.e. pain & its intensity can be recognized only by the sufferer. This is true in cases of ‘Headache’ too.
Head, which contains brain & special senses, gets ache, when any of the things / contents get a disease or become over strained. Headache usually arises as a functional symptom where often no one can find a cause or analyse it. Headache often interferes with day-to-day activities and makes life annoying. Headache is one of the very common complaints caused due to the sleepless, tense world a person finds himself or herself in. Tense moments in life induce each and everyone to experience headache, at least once in their life time irrespective of sex and age. Any way, males and children suffer less commonly than females.
In this advanced medical world too, most of the headaches are often treated over counters.
Even though every one realizes the head as the most important part of the body, the need of immediate relief compels them to do so. The highest selling medicines or most commonly used medicines or counter promoting medicines will usually pertain to headaches. Lots and lots of drugs keep coming into the market with the claim of cure within minutes. But they fail to sustain in the market in view of adverse effects and inability to sustain relief. Also as new medicine comes into the picture, a new type of headache too arises i.e. due to the way of suppression and their let outs.
Now-a-days, people are always in a hurry and expect immediate relief, so they often go for painkillers just like that with a view to continue their work. They never even go into the factors for the disease to know about the cause and its rectification. They forget about the causes till the headache comes again and reminds them with intensified suffering. This type of attitude always brings complications due to delay in treatment or progression of disease.
It is a more general term which means pain in the head. It may be due to brain disorders (disease / tumors) or moods or referred pain from diseases of eye, ear, tooth, nose, face and sinuses. Headache may also indicate an internal serious illness (like meningitis or brain tumors or fits.) So, it is better to get examined and analysed by an expert in all the cases of headache, irrespective of acute or chronic nature. Causative factor can be identified if case is dealt in a detailed manner, so that preventive measures can also be taken to avoid recurrences. Every one should be aware that safe procedure in expert hands is always praiseworthy.
Ache in head normally cages the brain and its work. Headache is one of the most common symptoms which manifests, whenever the person gets generalized complaint (fever, food poisoning, constipation, vomiting and starvation). It also arises due to local causes. Severity and period of suffering may vary with the type of headache / disease. Headache may be of different types depending on the causes. Often related causes are
- Familial – family trait had been identified in many cases thus confirms its genetic criteria
- Emotional – fear, mental stress and strain, worry & sadness, anxiety, tension, contradiction, anger, loathing of life, fear of failure, over excitement, sleeplessness, waking suddenly from sleep and fearful dreams.
- Physical – Starvation / increased appetite, indigestion, vomiting, overwork, fatigue, loss of sleep, lying posture, travel, heading while playing foot ball, injury to head, playing vigorously, sexual excesses, head bath, oil bath, massage, sun bath.
- Eye – visual disturbances, refractive errors, bright light, glaring flash lights, eye strain with lot of reading or watching movies, watering of eyes, glaucoma (eye pressure).
- Ear – middle & inner ear infection, sensitive to high frequency noise, water entering the ear, cold wind blowing into the ear.
- Nose – common cold, stuffy nose, allergic rhinitis, sneezing, smelling irritant / allergic perfume, agarbathies, hooding flowers, sinusitis (infection of para nasal sinuses), nasal polyp.
- Dental pain can also referred as headache sometimes.
- Neck – cervical spondylitis, obstruction or plaque in carotid artery / vertebral artery.
- Nerves and neurons of brain – loss of sleep, overwork, irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swing, brain tumours.
- Vascular – Obstruction / stenosis / resistance developed in the arteries and veins which supplies the brain can cause headache due to ischaemia (reduced blood flow) or cramp, likewise dilatation and fullness of the arteries / vein can also bring headache due to fullness or pressure (increased blood flow).
- Meninges irritation – as in meningitis.
- Ventricular pressure – Hydrocephalus – increased pressure in the brain.
- Abdomen / stomach – constipation, starvation, vomiting, food allergy, indigestion overeating, gas trouble.
- Metabolism – allergic disorders, increased histamine secretion.
- Drugs – allergic drugs, nitrate drugs, hormonal drugs (contraceptive pills).
TYPE OF HEADACHES – Headache is classified under different headings.
- Primary – cause from brain itself as a functional disorder
- Secondary – due to referral from a disease / dysfunction of any part of the body
It can also be classified as
- Physiological – headache caused due to stress & strain, menstrual changes, hormonal changes, starvation / increased appetite, loss of sleep, sexual excesses.
- Pathological – headache due to brain tumors or diseases
Also, commonly headache is classified as
- Nervous headache- which originated from nerves
- Vascular headache- which originated from blood vessels
- Mixed type of headache – whose origin involves nerves, blood vessels and muscles.
The headache can also be named after the place of origin, i.e. with their respective sites
- Headache in the front part is called Frontal Headache
- Headache in temples / sides are called Temporal Headache / Parietal Headache.
- Headache in back part is called Occipital Headache
- Headache in upper & centre is called Vertex Headache
- Headache in face is called Facial headache (often this will be neurological).
Most of all, Tension headache and Migraine are the most disturbing headaches. Tension headache is very common and its pain will be a constant, dull aching and generalized one, all over the head. It is more emotional in origin than others. The tense world forces our brains to work more even during sleep (subconsciously) & leads to headache. Changing the habit / environment or avoiding the precipitants is more important than treatment or painkillers.
SYMPTOMS OF HEADACHES
Each and every type of headache differs in presentation with place, nature of pain and its intensity.
The headache can be in the form of hammering headache, screwing headache, pricking headache, beating headache, bursting headache, throbbing headache, pulsatile headache, heaping headache, tight / heavy / pressure / tension headache, dull headache, sick headache, psychogenic headache. Headache often is with bilateral presentation, but can be unilateral in cases of migraine.
Other than pain in head, nausea, vomiting, giddiness, photophobia (sensitive eye to light), tiredness, dullness, lack of concentration, muscular spasm and mild stroke can also accompany in many cases of headache.
TRIGGERS AND AGGRAVATING FACTORS OF HEADACHES – a small spark can provoke a fire. Triggers for headache may differ from person to person. Often it will be a case of hot sunlight, noise pollution, bright flashing lights, change in smell (with perfume, bathies), change in altitude, weather, time factor (jet lag), allergic or unusual foods, stress, sleeplessness, hunger, constipation, alcohol, weather change, sex, menses, jet log, lower sugar level, gas trouble, drugs.
Headache often create a condition of irritable mood where even trivial matters aggravate (intensify) the symptoms & make the condition intolerable and miserable. The common aggravating factors are bright light, sun light, noises, motion, bending, cool wind, changes in environment & weather, unusual foods.
MIGRAINE – The king of all the headaches is ‘MIGRAINE’. It is an intensified severe type of unilateral (occasionally bilateral) headache of unknown cause (often). Unlike other headaches, it will not persist all the time. It would come at intervals wherein the sufferer would fear to live. How Migraine is different from all other form of headaches and how can it be managed or cured?
Brain , the superior always wins in worthiness over the heart. For example,
- The advanced medical world cannot even replace a single neuron of brain, compared to the heart where medical advances by-pass the heart with instruments, replaces its valves and controls it with pacemaker.
- The brain can control the heart.
- Brain can also prove its worthiness naturally with its presence in a safe skull vault, compared to the heart in a rib cage
The brain is worth so much as it is the most important, sensitive organ which controls our body. It
is more powerful than any other modern computer. Diseases of the brain usually disable a person or make life collapse. Migraine is one of those diseases which affects it. But still no one can confirm migraine is pain of the brain since the brain is senseless, i.e., it doesn’t have any pain-sensitive nerve fibers. Altogether, the brain is a mystery. Medical studies claim that pain is due to over-stretching of blood vessels, but why it is overstretched to supply more and more blood to the brain is unknown. Anyway, the brain must be the main causative factor/ultimate culprit as it wants more blood.
Migraine means severe one-sided headache which often disables the sufferer while he/she is concentrating or working. It commonly arises from a spot. It is usually accompanied by irritability of the mind and disturbances in special senses (vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch, etc.) and abdominal symptoms. Its intolerable intensity and recurrent nature make every sufferer worrisome. Unless one suffered and conquers headache, one cannot understand its severity.
Incidences – Migraine can attack any person of any age, irrespective of sex. Migraine headaches are also common in school-going children. Most commonly, adolescent females are the victims.
It usually starts around puberty and grows in intensity and frequency until menopause/mid life or till it gets treated. Migraine most commonly starts in the morning or with any triggers. Many times, in women it can be related to the menses date, i.e. before or after. Also, more often it is related with the phases of the moon, the rising sun, season. The symptoms usually wax and wane. The silent period may last from days, week, months or even a year. The higher incidences within family members make everyone suspect that it is inherited or has a genetic tendency, which is uncertain.
Reason for pain – Headache can be caused by contracted or relaxed blood vessels, i.e., reduced blood flow which cause cramps in brain or increased blood flow which causes tension/ pressure. In case of migraine, both the phases can be noted one after another, i.e., initially, headache develops as a cramp of the brain due to reduced blood flow or narrowing/contraction of the blood vessels which is then followed by compensatory dilatation of blood vessels or increased blood flow. It is in this increased blood flow period that the migraine pain will be at its peak. The previous reduced blood flow period is called aura. Likewise, headache can also be caused by increased pressure in ventricles (heart of brain) – for ex- hydrocephalus.
Causes of migraine – Causes in case of migraine are often supposed and not definite. It varies from person to person. Anyway, the most common triggers are emotional changes, hearing strange sound/noise, eye strain, waking up suddenly from sleep, hormonal changes/fluctuations in the menstrual cycle, menopause, thyroid problems, taking birth control pills, change in weather, altitude, injury to head or face, untreated or maltreated diseases.
TYPES OF MIGRAINE
Migraine with aura – is the classic type of migraine where symptoms are often preceded by subconscious symptoms or alert symptoms like momentary loss of consciousness, momentary blindness, blurred vision, unusual tinnitus, unusual abdominal cramps or rumbling, etc. These symptoms can last from minutes to hours.
Migraine without aura – In this type of migraine, patients suffer without any alert or aural symptoms.
Characteristic nature of migraine
- Episodic nature i.e. it comes repeatedly over time but is not persistent.
- Symptoms often preceded by aura, i.e. like visual disturbances, hearing disturbances, unusual happenings, etc.
- One sided headache with nausea and vomiting
Symptoms – The symptoms of migraine usually differ from person to person, type of pain, suffering period, intensity, etc. Most often it will be one sided which will last from hours to days. The commonest site of pain is any one of the temple area, the next and foremost being the frontal area or behind the eye.
Start up – Aura – Some may recognize these symptoms and some may not.
- Sensitive to light and noises
- Flickering, temporary blindness or as if small flies are flying in the vision area
- Mood swing from sad/depression to anger
- Loss of appetite
- Giddiness and tinnitus, dullness, sleepiness, etc.
- Severe hammering / screwing / pricking / beating / bursting / throbbing / pulsatile / heaping / tight / heavy / pressure headache occurs, where sufferer will often bury the head into a pillow
- Feeling of restlessness and changing positions often
- Aversion to food and nausea
- Vomiting – usually gives some betterment with a free abdomen
- Weakness / numbness / tremors on one side of the body
- Weakness and difficulty in walking or working
- Exhausted as if suffered with fits
- Dullness and sleepiness with lack of concentration.
Aggravating factors often add fuel to the sufferings. The common aggravating factors are bright light, noises, jarring movements, leaning forward, cold wind, cough, alcohol, unusual food, nuts, spicy foods, preservative-added, tin-packed foods/drinks, cheese, etc. Also many a time, aggravation is related to the rising sun, temperature changes, moon phases, etc.
Diagnosis – Migraines can be diagnosed and differentiated easily from other forms of headaches with its spot pain, aura symptoms, episodic nature and other classical presentation of symptoms. Tension headache, which mimics these symptoms, will be a generalized one, i.e., all over the head, constant or persistent and more emotional in origin.
Since most of the times investigations could not find a cause, diagnosis is mostly based on symptoms, detailed history elicitation, triggers, etc. But, even though investigation provides little value, it is better to opt for them to rule out any major illnesses like brain tumors, internal bleeding, obstruction, etc. Plain X-ray, CT scan or MRI – BRAIN, para nasal sinuses, neck, should be done to rule out infection, inflammation or any intra cranial pressure / tension. EEG should also be performed to exclude seizures.
Prevention – Always prevention is better than cure. So, it is best to avoid further happenings by keeping or promoting good health and avoiding triggers.
- Be relaxed and avoid unnecessary tension or thoughts
- Brisk walking daily at least for 30 minutes
- Drink plenty of water and juices
- Sleep at a regular time – for at least 7 hours
- Coffee, alcohol, smoking and chewing tobacco
- Preservative-added, tin-packed foods/drinks
- Stress and strain
- Unnecessary medications
- Triggers or any aggravating factors like bright flash lights, loud noise, allergic foods, emotional roller-coasters, etc
Complications – The severity of symptoms often make one fear to live. It also causes depression, dullness, sleepiness, mood swings, suicidal tendency, etc. Other than its own complication, treatment / drugs commonly provide additional complication like peptic ulcers, vascular complaints, ischaemic heart diseases, etc. Also, ineffective and dangerous drugs often lead the sufferer to a dejected state.
General treatment – Normally, for migraine or any headache, there is no specific treatment or specific cure. That is why most of time people depend on over-the-counter drugs to get better for the time being. Any way, one should keep in mind ‘Expert hands will always be safe hands’. So, it is better to go for eye check-up and ENT (ear, nose and throat) check up to rule out their involvement. Also if there is any worm infestation, constipation and menstrual irregularities, it should be treated then and there. The routine mode of treatment is generally based on symptoms and its intensity. In case of tension headaches and migraines, the usual prescription of drugs from the doctor’s desk will constrict/narrow the blood vessels (arteries and veins) to reduce blood flow. So, precaution should be taken in treating patients who have vascular diseases, ischaemic heart diseases, paralysis, etc. Also, these types of drugs often cause dullness, lack of concentration, sleepiness, impotency, etc., as their adverse reaction. Surgery is rarely indicated. It may be necessary in case of advanced brain tumors as final resort.
For temporary management, the common advice is to lie relaxed in a well-aerated, quiet, dark room. Relaxation can avoid recurrences in most of the cases and give better relief. The best advice given by good doctors is self care by promoting physical and mental health with avoidance of triggers. Meditation and yoga can also help to calm the brain.
The goal of treatment should not only be relief, but also to prevent recurrences. Recurring headaches can be given knockouts when the reviver provides the sufferer counselling to relieve tension and depression, in addition to drugs. One of the most common reasons why people seek Homeopathy treatment is that it cares more for the patient than the disease, i.e. Homeopathy treats patients rather than the disease. Also, it is very much refined, safe and effective and is an easy way to attain permanent cure without any side-effects. Homeopathy medicines not only relieve the pain but also treat the condition permanently.
Allopathy, usually kills the pain with pain-killers. One should be aware that “instantly killing pain with a painkiller tablet is just like putting off the light when you don’t want to see the things; surely, the day will come when / where you cannot switch off the pain”. Also, switching off the pain in migraine cases will not be that much easy as in other cases, so the sufferer goes in for additional dosages, where ulceration in stomach and tongue or other side-effects often follow. So, headache cases will also be a headache to doctors, since they cannot win the confidence of patients due to the recurrent nature of the headache with ineffective cure with pain-killers.
In Homeopathy, the sufferer is in safer hands and won’t get any sort of ulceration or side-effects. So, even ulcer patients or pregnant women or drug-sensitive patients can take Homeopathic medicines without any adverse reactions. “No more attacks” can result easily when a Homeopath selects and prescribes the right drug with detailed case study which includes finding the cause, analyzing the headache in terms of how long, when, where and how it occurs and considering the patient’s constitutional make-up and presentation of the symptoms.
Homeopathic medicines commonly used in cases of headache / migraine are Ammon carb, Belladonna, Bryonia, Cedron, Chionanthus, Coffea, Damiana, Gelsemium, Glonoine, Helleborus, Ignatia, Iris vers, Kali bich, Lachesis, Lycopodium, Natrum mur, Nux vom, Opium, Picric acid, Pulsatilla, Sangunaria, Scutellaria, Silicea, Spigelia, Tarentula, Tobaccum, etc, These Medicines should be taken under the advice and diagnosis of a qualified Homeopath.
Dr. S. Chidambaranathan, BHMS, MD
24 E. New Mahalipatti Road
Tel: +91-452-233-8833 | +91-984-319-1011
www.drcheena.com / www.drcheena.in
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(Disclaimer: The contents of this column are for informational purpose only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of healthcare professional for any health problem or medical condition.)