Most people get the headache often, but how do we know if it’s a migraine? Hence, let us understand the migraine and the other types of chronic headaches. Migraine and tension headache are most common headaches among all other types.
A migraine is a headache with throbbing pain that is usually worse on one side of the head. The pain is often severe enough to hamper daily activities and may last from four hours to three days if untreated. Throbbing pain typically occurs on one side near the temples, forehead, and eyes.
In classical migraine, there is a visual or other aura lasting for 15-30 min followed by the throbbing headache. An aura is a sign that a migraine is about to begin. Visual aura is distorting and melting of lines, dots or zigzag or hemianopia (diminished vision in half the visual field) few minutes before the headache. Aura precedes the headache by minutes and may persist during it.
There may be isolated aura without the headache and also there may be an episodic severe headache without aura. In common migraine, there is an episodic severe headache with or without aura. It is often premenstrual (before, during and after menses).
Your headache may be a migraine if you have any combination of these symptoms:
- Moderate to severe pain (often described as pounding, throbbing pain) that can affect the whole head, or can shift from one side of the head to the other.
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia), noise (phonophobia) or odors, there may be sensitivity to almost all stimulus, all stimuli produce pain, for example: combing the hair, wear earrings or glasses, and even climbing stairs can increase the severity of pain during migraine attack.
- Blurred vision
- Nausea or vomiting, upset stomach, abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Sensations of being very warm or cold
Triggers of migraine attack: Certain food like chocolate, cheese, caffeine, red wine etc can trigger the migraine attack. Other trigger includes stress, travel, exercise, climate changes, alcohol, smoking etc.
Tension headache: Tension headache is a most common type of headache; thought to be caused by tightened muscles in the back of the neck and scalp. Most tension headache occur infrequently, and are usually short lived (resolved within minuites to a few hours). In rare cases, the headache may last for many days. Tension headache that occur more than 15 days each month are referred to as chronic tension headache. The pain of chronic tension headache tends to wax and wane in severity.
The pain associated with tension headache typically impacts the whole head, but may begin in the back of the head or above the eyebrows. The pain is frequently described as constant and pressure-like, with scalp muscles tenderness (pain on touch).
Tension headaches are not associated with nausea or vomiting and do not have symptoms like flashing lights, blind spots, or numbness or weakness etc. These symptoms can help distinguish tension headaches from other types of headaches (for example, migraine).
The exact cause of tension headache isn’t known, and many factors probably play a role in why people develop the headache. These factors may include: lack of sleep, skipping meals, or increased stress (leading to a frequent description of these headaches as stress headaches).
Underlying diseases or conditions may frequently cause a headache, for example, eye strain, muscular tension caused by poor posture, over exertion, or anxiety.
Cluster headache: It is the most severe headache among all type. It is a recurrent bout of excruciating unilateral (one sided) headache attack of extreme intensity. There is a rapid onset of severe pain around one eye which may become watery and bloodshot with eyelid swelling, facial flushing, and rhinorrhoea (runny nose). Pain is strictly unilateral and almost always affects the same side. It lasts for 15-160 minutes and occurs once or twice a day. It is often nocturnal (severe pain often wakes you up at a middle of the night). Clusters (headache) lasts for 4-12 weeks and followed by pain-free periods of months and even 1-2 years before the next cluster. Fortunately, cluster headache is rare and not life-threatening.
Headache is a secondary symptom in many disease conditions like sinusitis, otitis media, cervical spondylosis, hypertension, intracranial pathology etc. hence primary cause needs to be excluded.
Homeopathic treatment for migraine and other chronic headache
Homeopathy treats the patient as a whole. It means that homeopathy focuses on the patient as a person as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicine is selected after full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes detail medical history of patient, physical and mental constitution etc. Hence, the medicine given below indicates the therapeutic affinity but they are not complete guide to the treatment of the condition.
Here, I am presenting few homeopathic medicines with its characteristic symptoms which have shown effective results in cases of migraine and other chronic headaches.
Natrum Mur: It is a deep acting constitutional* remedy. Natrum muriaticum is one of the best known homeopathic remedies for migraine and another chronic types of headache. It is best suited to highly sensitive, emotional, short-tempered personality. The chronic headache started after prolong grief, shock, disappointment, etc. this remedy covers the symptoms as follow. there is headache mostly during daytime (from sunrise to sunset). There is a terrible pain in the head which increase by slight motion, by reading etc. There is a congestive headache due to eyestrain. There is diminished vision with zig-zag dazzling like a light in eyes before the headache.
Sepia: Sepia is another deep acting constitutional* remedy. It acts best when following symptoms are well covered by the case. It is best suited to delicate, sensitive women. There is bursting and pressing pain in the head, often the left-sided headache, pain mostly over the left eye with heaviness over the vertex. There are nausea and vomiting with the headache. Severe headache before, during and after menses. Pain increase by movement, and mental exertion. Aversion to all kinds of food during headache, very distressing headache every morning with nausea and vomiting. Falling of hair with the headache.
Sanguinaria: This is another headache remedy, works well with following symptoms. There is a periodical sick headache, Which begins in the morning, and increase during daytime. There is a throbbing pain in the head as if it must burst or as if the eye would press out. There is pain often worst on the right side and especially in the forehead followed by nausea and vomiting of food or bile. There is severe headache begins from occiput (back of the head) spread upwards and settled over the right eye.
Belladonna: It is one of the frequently used remedy for an acute attack of migraine and other headaches. There is a congestive headache with throbbing pain. There is violent, severe pain which becomes worse on exposure to light, noise, slight motion. The headache starts suddenly, lasts indefinitely, and ceases suddenly.
Glonoine: This remedy is mostly used for headache due to sunstroke or exposure to heat. There is congestive, throbbing, pulsating headache. Head feels like enormously large with heaviness sensation. The occurrence of Headache in place of menses.
*Constitutional remedy: Constitutional remedy is a medicine which works deep down on constitutional level (mental and physical built) of patient which is selected on the basis of complete details of symptoms/disease, temperament, likes and dislikes, physical built, past history etc. such treatment is worth needed in chronic cases.
This is, however, not aimed at advocating self-medication, medicine should not be used without professional help.