What is Migraine?
Suppressing migraine pain with NSAIDS and analgesics gives short-term relief and the pain can rebound. Dependence on medicines decreases the body’s natural pain relief mechanism and long-term dependence can damage kidneys, liver or other vital organs.
The cardinal symptom of Vata is pain and when it lodges in the nervous system of the brain it causes migraine. External stimulus such as excessive noise, light, stress and tension all contribute to increasing migraine pains. Weak digestion is also a contributing factor that increases ama in the body and prevents proper circulation of blood in the body and brain.
Ayurveda View of Migraine
According to Ayurveda, every person has all three doshas, but one is typically dominant. The other two should be in balance in order to maintain good health. If all your doshas are out of balance, you may feel unwell. It’s said that migraine is caused by an imbalance of vata (or vata and kapha).
What is the cause of Migraines?
- Migraine headaches are a symptom of a condition known as migraine. Doctors don’t know the exact cause of migraine headaches, although they seem to be related to changes in your brain and to your genes. Your parents can even pass down migraine triggers like fatigue, bright lights, or weather changes.
For many years, scientists thought migraines happened because of changes in blood flow in the brain. Most now think this can contribute to the pain, but is not what starts it.
Current thinking is that a migraine likely starts when overactive nerve cells send out signals that trigger your trigeminal nerve, which gives sensation to your head and face. This cues your body to release chemicals like serotonin and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). CGRP makes blood vessels in the lining of your brain swell. Then, neurotransmitters cause inflammation and pain.
Symptoms of Migraine
- Migraines are different in everyone. In many people, they happen in stages. These stages may include:
Hours or days before a headache, about 60% of people who have migraines notice symptoms like:
- Being sensitive to light, sound, or smell
- Food cravings or lack of appetite
- Mood changes
- Severe thirst
- Constipation or diarrhea
These symptoms stem from your nervous system and often involve your vision. They usually start gradually, over a 5- to 20-minute period, and last less than an hour. You may:
- See black dots, wavy lines, flashes of light, or things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
- Have tunnel vision
- Not be able to see at all
- Have tingling or numbness on one side of your body
- Not be able to speak clearly
- Have a heavy feeling in your arms and legs
- Have ringing in your ears
- Notice changes in smell, taste, or touch
A migraine headache often begins as a dull ache and grows into throbbing pain. It usually gets worse during physical activity. The pain can move from one side of your head to the other, can be in the front of your head, or can feel like it’s affecting your entire head.
About 80% of people have nausea along with a headache, and about half vomit. You may also be pale and clammy or feel faint.
Most migraine headaches last about 4 hours, but severe ones can go for more than 3 days. It’s common to get two to four headaches per month. Some people may get migraine headaches every few days, while others get them once or twice a year.
Ayurvedic Treatment of Migraine
Using a conventional approach, migraine is treated with:
- over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers
- migraine drugs (pills, nasal sprays, or shots)
- anti-nausea drugs
- antiseizure drugs
- Botox injections
- lifestyle changes
- self-care remedies
Although pain relievers and migraine abortive medications can help, long-term use can lead to medication overuse headaches. These headaches may cause more complications.
Ayurveda, on the other hand, uses:
- body detoxification
- herbal remedies
- dietary and lifestyle changes
- relaxation techniques
Since Ayurvedic medicine doesn’t use prescription drugs, there isn’t a risk of medication overuse headache.