Migraine Treatment in Ayurveda
Whats is migraine ?
Migraine is a neurovascular condition which is characterized by intense, debilitating headaches usually on one side of the head of varying intensity, often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. But in about 1/3 of attacks, both sides are affected.
A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It’s often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.
For some people, a warning symptom known as an aura occurs before or with the headache. An aura can include visual disturbances, such as flashes of light or blind spots, or other disturbances, such as tingling on one side of the face or in an arm or leg and difficulty speaking.
Migraines, which often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood, can progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome. Not everyone who has migraines goes through all stages.
One or two days before a migraine, you might notice subtle changes that warn of an upcoming migraine, including:
- Mood changes, from depression to euphoria
- Food cravings
- Neck stiffness
- Increased thirst and urination
- Frequent yawning
For some people, aura might occur before or during migraines. Auras are reversible symptoms of the nervous system. They’re usually visual, but can also include other disturbances. Each symptom usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes and lasts for 20 to 60 minutes.
Examples of migraine aura include:
- Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
- Vision loss
- Pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg
- Weakness or numbness in the face or one side of the body
- Difficulty speaking
- Hearing noises or music
- Uncontrollable jerking or other movements
A migraine usually lasts from four to 72 hours if untreated. How often migraines occur varies from person to person. Migraines might occur rarely or strike several times a month.
During a migraine, you might have:
- Pain usually on one side of your head, but often on both sides
- Pain that throbs or pulses
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and sometimes smell and touch
- Nausea and vomiting
After a migraine attack, you might feel drained, confused and washed out for up to a day. Some people report feeling elated. Sudden head movement might bring on the pain again briefly.
Though migraine causes aren’t fully understood, genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role.
There are a number of migraine triggers, including:
- Hormonal changes in women – Fluctuations in estrogen, such as before or during menstrual periods, pregnancy and menopause, seem to trigger headaches in many women.
- Hormonal medications, such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, also can worsen migraines. Some women, however, find their migraines occurring less often when taking these medications.
- Drinks – These include alcohol, especially wine, and too much caffeine, such as coffee.
- Stress – Stress at work or home can cause migraines.
- Sensory stimuli – Bright lights and sun glare can induce migraines, as can loud sounds. Strong smells — including perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke and others — trigger migraines in some people.
- Sleep changes – Missing sleep, getting too much sleep or jet lag can trigger migraines in some people.
- Physical factors – Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, might provoke migraines.
- Weather changes – A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
- Medications – Oral contraceptives and vasodilators can aggravate migraines.
- Foods – Aged cheeses and salty and processed foods might trigger migraines. So might skipping meals or fasting.
- Food additives – These include the sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG), found in many foods.
Migraine and ayurveda
The closest possible correlation for Migraine in Ayurveda is ARDHAVABHEDAKA, meaning one/half-sided splitting/ breaking pain. This is a type of Vataja Shirashoola(as per Ashtanga Hrudayam) if not treated properly will lead to problems of ear and eye. Also the attacks may happen in an interval of weeks or months. According to Susrutha Samhitha, this is a Tridoshaja Shirashoola which recurrs once a week or ten days or without any regular interval.
In Ayurveda, the line of treatment for Ardhavabhedaka/Migraine includes:
- Snehopachaaram – Internally and externally
- Upanaha swedam
- Shirodhaara/ Shirovasthi
Along with these treatment modalities, certain internal medications should also be taken as prescribed by the specialist.
Another major factor in managing Migraine is our food, habits and unwholesome dietary intake.
Home Remedies for Migraine
The factors that trigger migraine varies from person to person. So the remedial measures also won’t be the same. Still, certain things that you can try at home are :
- Giving hot fomentations/ applying cold pack
- Stay away from too much noise, light and smells
- Avoid oily, spicy and difficult to digest food
- Use light and warm food
- Avoid any sort of beverages. Instead hydrate yourself with boiled and warm water
- Include more fibre in your diet
- Practising relaxation yoga techniques and pranayama
- Take a break while using computer and mobile devices
- Stay happy and stress free