Migraine - The Cause and Management of Migraine

Many breakthroughs have been made in recent years regarding the biological and genetic causes of migraine. While not certain of the exact mechanisms that cause it yet, advancements in treatment offer relief and hope for millions of people who suffer from migraine.

Migraine is a severe and the most common cause of a disabling type of headache. It is in most cases preceded and/or accompanied by sensory warning symptoms and signs such as blind spots, flashes of light, nausea, tingling in one arm or leg and even speech problems. Suffering with migraine is no fun since pain can be severe and can incapacitate the sufferer for many hours or even several days. Millions of people suffer daily and females suffering more frequently than males.

While the cause of migraine it is still unknown, some of the most popular theories have made several attempts to explain it. It was once thought to be initiated by problems with blood vessels in the head becoming dilated and the nerve fibers (trigeminal nerve) surrounding the blood vessels were release chemicals that cause inflammation. Also some neurologists have thought of migraine as a slow epileptic seizure. Yet, others believe the mechanisms that cause migraines may be numerous.

The current thinking is that a phenomenon known as cortical spreading depression where neurological activity becomes depressed over an area of the cortex is responsible for the disorder. Evidence also suggest that migraine pain it may be a symptom of several disorders of the serotonergic control system. Migraine is a frustrating chronic illness which is widespread in the population. According to the World HealthOrganization (WHO) migraine is the 19th highest cause of a short term moderate or severe disability worldwide for both men and women and the 12th highest cause of disability in women.

Generally, a migraine attack results in pain that is usually experienced on the left or right side of the head and some times on both.. Pain has a throbbing pulsating quality that becomes worse with physical activity and hinders daily activities. Sensitivity to light, sound and vomiting are the most common symptoms for migraine sufferers. Although there is no cure, management of migraine pain has improved and medications can be of help in reducing the frequency and ease the pain when it has began. The best time to start acute treatment is at the first sign of headache.

The correct medicines together with self-help treatment and changes in life-style may make all the difference in the reduction of the frequency and/or intensity of migraine pain.. Occasional mild migraines can be treated with over the counter analgesics and cool gel pads, but stronger NSAIDs and intravenous medication are prescribed in sever cases. Also a range of therapies that do not involve medication can provide symptomatic and preventative therapy.

Relaxation techniques, sleep, ice packs and biofeedback are such self-help therapies. Researchers have found that trigger factors often provoke migraine attacks. Educating individuals who suffer from migraines to avoid possible triggering factors such as smoking and some foods including certain cheeses, wines, nuts and preserved meats are useful non-medication approaches. Following a life style program that includes a good diet, sufficient water intake, good restful sleep and some daily exercise it may be helpful.

Acupuncture treatment has been suggested as an effective non-medication therapy. It has been also suggested that the inadequate dietary intake of the mineral magnesium may lead in brain cells to misfire and result in migraine. Vitamin B-complex supplements that support a healthy nerve system have been helpful to some sufferers. The herbs feverfew, ginger and fish oils have been used also with some good results for migraine headaches.