Migraine or strong headache characteristics

This article was endorsed by Errachid El Fadel - Medical intern at University Hospital IBN Rochd Casablanca

What is migraine?

Migraine is a headache that appears very frequently and of an intensity so strong that it can paralyze the person and prevent him from carrying out his normal life.

The appearance of migraines diminishes the quality of life of the people who suffer them and can become incapacitating.

man with migraine

Many people, even eating healthy foods, suffer from migraines. The DAO deficit could explain these symptoms.

What part of the head hurts in the migraine?

Migraines are very acute headaches located, in most cases, on one side of the head from the height of the temple to the top.

In addition to headache, migraines are often accompanied by vomiting, dizziness, tremor and even blurred vision

Who has more migraine?

Migraines or migraines affect women more than men. It is estimated that this problem affects approximately 10% of the western population.

Types of migraine

There are different types of migraine, which are classified according to the duration of the symptoms and the sensations they produce in:

  • Migraine with aura
  • Common migraine or migraine without aura
  • How is headache different from migraine?

What is migraine with aura?

The person experiences a series of sensations that announce that, in a period of 20 to 60 minutes, the patient will experience a migraine attack. Sometimes these sensations are experienced during the migraine attack or after the attack.

The sensations experienced by people who have migraine with aura are very varied. Within these, the most common, in order of frequency of appearance, are the following:

  • Visual sensations (visual aura): These are the sensations that appear most frequently. It manifests in the form of lights or flashes that appear in the visual field. These are the so-called positive phenomena that consist of a series of zigzag lines that move towards one side of the eye. It can also manifest in the form of blurring on one side of the eye. In this case it is known as scotoma or negative phenomena. This type of aura is more intense in one eye than in the other.
  • A variety of this type of sensations is the retinal aura, in which the same symptoms occur but only in one eye. This variety is very rare.
  • Body sensations (golden sensory): The body feels like ants that move from the fingers of the hand to the mouth.
  • Sensations in speech (golden language): The person has difficulties to understand others or to speak. Normally in this type of aura also tend to appear sensations of the two previous auras. Its medical term is aphasia.
  • Sensations produced in the brain stem (auricum trunk-encephalic): These neurovegetative symptoms offer clinical symptoms such as vertigo, difficulty in language, pain in the neck, tinnitus, alterations in vision, etc.
  • Sensations of movement and consciousness (motor or golden aureus, hemiplegic): It is motor deficit and consciousness, characterized by the temporary paralysis of the middle of the body, as well as the loss of consciousness and other series of neurological symptoms in the body, problems of language, blurred vision, etc. It is a type of migraine mainly of a genetic nature that occurs very rarely and that involves a series of symptoms that gradually appear.

What is common migraine or migraine without aura?

It is one in which the phenomenon of the auras does not occur, but it does have the same symptoms (described below).

The Prodromes can be produced, which are manifested with the set of symptoms through various bodily sensations such as problems concentrating, irritability or euphoria, yawning, which precede the migraine, hours or even days before.

How do I differentiate a migraine from a headache?

Migraine also causes headache. However, while the headache is simply a heaviness or more or less large pain in the head, migraines present a greater symptomatology in both intensity and variety.

Migraine symptoms

What symptoms are typical of migraine? The main symptoms of migraine are:

  • Very intense headache located in a part of it.
  • Hypersensitivity to light (photophobia) Light bothers people with migraine, to the point that they feel real punctures in the eyes when they face it. Many people describe it as if they stick needles in their pupils.
  • Vomiting
  • Hypersensitivity to sound (Phonophobia): The sounds are perceived with great intensity, to the point that they are unpleasant, as if they echoed inside the head.
  • Hypersensitivity to touch: People who suffer from these symptoms have a negative sensation to physical contact since, when touched, they feel pain.

Other symptoms of migraine

Other less common symptoms of migraine are:

  • Sensory or motor problems: Less often there are other symptoms such as tingling, ringing in the ears, deafness, difficulty speaking, problems of consciousness, fatigue, irritability, sweating, chills, double vision of the eyes, swelling of the face, paralysis of some muscles.
  • Asymptomatic: Sometimes there are no symptoms and patients, although they experience the aura process, do not subsequently feel any pain.

Sheet on the theories and causes of migraine and possible triggers. Migraine has natural treatment and solution.

migraine causes

Theories and causes of migraine and possible triggers. Migraine has natural treatment and solution.

Causes of migraine

It is not known exactly what causes migraine. The main theories about the causes of migraine are:

  • Genetic origin: This theory postulates that migraine has a hereditary origin. It is known that people who have a parent with migraine have up to 50% chance of developing this disease, while this probability increases to 80 when both the father and mother have migraine. Despite this, except in the so-called family hemiplegic migraine, it is not known which genes are responsible for developing migraine.
  • Neurogenic origin: According to this theory, patients suffering from migraine are due to overexcitation of the cerebral cortex.
  • Vascular origin: According to this theory, changes in the vasodilation of the cranial arteries are responsible for both the phenomenon of aura, and the pain caused by migraine. So that the blood can easily access the cranial blood vessels, the brain produces the release of the neuropeptides that act on the muscles of the blood vessels. Some neuropeptides constrict the blood vessels and can produce the known aura; others relax them by dilating them, which facilitates the greater blood supply that could be responsible for migraine attacks.
  • Lack of serotonin: According to some experts, the lack of serotonin is one of the main factors that prevents blood vessels from contracting or expanding normally. Others claim that serotonin is responsible for the constriction of blood vessels. This leads to a decrease in the amount of blood to the brain. Subsequently, a rebound effect occurs, whereby the blood vessels dilate and more blood reaches the area needed. This excessive flow of blood exerts pressure on the nerves that produce the release of substance P that causes the pain of migraine.
  • Food theories: A traditional theory states that there are certain foods that contain amines, specifically histamine. Eating these foods is responsible, according to this theory, for the onset of migraine.
  • Deficit of the DAO enzyme: The last food theory was presented in 2013 at the Infarma Congress in Barcelona. According to this theory, the deficit of the DAO enzyme in the small intestine is the cause of migraine. The deficit of DAO (Diamine Oxidase) is responsible for the increase of histamine in the blood.
  • Low levels of coenzyme Q10: It has been observed that migraine occurs with low levels of coenzyme Q10.

Avoid foods rich in histamine

According to the food theory of migraine, eating this type of food induces the onset of migraine attacks, since it increases the level of histamine in the blood and histamine is, ultimately, responsible for the appearance of migraine.

The main foods rich in histamine are: shellfish, milk and derivatives, citrus and egg white.

Factors that trigger migraine

There are a number of factors that predispose to the onset of migraine. The most important are:

  • Stress
  • Climatic changes, seasonal changes
  • Endocrine disruptors: Exposure to bisphenol A (present in plastics) is related  with the exacerbation or worsening of migraine symptoms.
  • Sleep disorders
  • Menopause and climacteric, probably due to the decrease and fluctuations in the estrogen hormone cycle.
  • Menstruation (Premenstrual syndrome)
  • Very intense lights, flashes of light, etc.
  • Fasting
  • Certain odors and perfumes
  • Food: milk and dairy products (cheese, yogurt, custard, etc.), citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons, etc.) chocolate, coffee, alcohol, foods too sugary, etc.
  • Food additives, especially monosodium glutamate, and other preservatives such as nitrates
  • Medications: Analgesics, pills against pregnancy, replacement hormones, etc. (More information on Medicines that can increase histamine levels)

Conventional treatment of migraine

There is no specific treatment for migraine. The pharmacological treatment of migraine is based on symptomatic treatment, by means of using of a series of medicines designed:

  • to treat the symptoms associated with migraine
  • to prevent migraine from becoming chronic
  • to stop the intensity and frequency of its attacks.

Medications for migraine

The range of medicines used can be very varied (antidepressants, analgesics, antihypertensives, antiepileptics, etc.) and the treatments are usually very long.

The official treatment considers that a person has to take migraine medications in case of chronic migraine or in case of having suffered 3 migraine attacks. Even so, in many cases the medications are not effective.

punto rojo More information on migraine.

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

21 July, 2020

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