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Migraine attacks are characterised by recurrent headaches of moderate to severe intensity, unilateral/bilateral location, pulsating in nature and are associated with nausea/vomiting, photophobia (fear of harsh light or sunlight) or Phono-phobia (low tolerance of sounds).

 

Different types of Migraines –

Migraine with aura –

This is the most frequent type of migraine. Symptoms include moderate to severe pulsating, headache, and pain that occurs without warning and is usually felt on one side of the head. It comes along with nausea, confusion, blurred, vision, mood, changes, fatigue, and increased sensitivity to light, sound or smell. Attacks typically last 4 to 72 hours and repeat of few times a year or two or a few times a week.

Migraine without aura –

This type of migraine includes visual disturbances and other neurological symptoms that appear about 10 to 60 minutes before the actual headache and usually last no more than an hour. The patient may temporarily lose part or all of his vision. The aura may occur without a headache, which can strike at any time. Less frequent symptoms include an abnormal sensation, numbness, or muscle weakness on one side of the body, but a tingling sensation in the hands, or face, trouble, speaking and confusion. Nausea, loss of appetite and increased sensitivity to light, sound or noise may precede the headache.

Chronic migraine –

It is characterised by headaches occurring on 15 or more days per month for more than three months, which have the features of migraine. Headache on at least eight days per month. They can be with or without aura.

Menstrual migraine –

Menstrual migraine develops most frequently in the second decade of life, around the onset of menarche (the beginning of the menstruation cycle) and prevalence peaks around the Age of 40. This type of migraine affects 10% to 40% of women with migraine and refers to attacks occurring exclusively on day one or two of menstruation in at least 2 out of 3 cycles and at no other time of the month.

Abdominal migraine –

It is an episodic syndrome that may be associated with migraine. Most cases are reported in young children, though they can occur in patients of all ages. As children with abdominal migraine, grow older, about half of them get rid of abdominal migraine by the age of 14 to 16 years.

Ayurvedic perspective on Migraine

Ayurvedic treatment for migraine is stated as Ardhavbhedak which defines one-sided pain which is intense and piercing in nature. In Ayurveda migraine dominated with Vata-Pitta dosha of patients may have intense pain. Feel redness and burning sensation in the eyes. Generally, migraine is associated with a previous history of acidity and digestive issues.

Migraine causes as per Ayurveda

* Suppression of natural urges.
* Indigestion.
* Intake of polluted food.
* Exposure to sunshine for prolonged periods.
* Oily and spicy food
* Anger, jealousy, grief, stress
* Intake of dry, pungent and salty food
* Unhealthy lifestyle
* Fasting

Foods that can trigger migraine

Usually, foods that can cause a sudden increase in Kapha dosha or Pitta dosha trigger a migraine attack. Bread or Maida items, chocolate, dairy products, red meat, onion, peanuts, processed or tinned food, overly fermented foods, and spicy foods can cause migraine.

Ayurvedic therapies for migraines.

Ayurveda has considered migraine as a psychosomatic disorder. That’s why it emphasises pranayama with counselling along with herbal medicine and Panchakarma. These therapies are always combined with diet and lifestyle changes based on clients Prakriti and Vikruti.

Panchakarma therapies

migraine PK
Shirodhara:- ( insomnia, anxiety )

It is a continuous pouring (thick flow) of medicated oil or herbal decoction on the forehead with a special instrument called Dhara Yantra.

Duration:- 30 to 40 minutes

Benefits:-

  1. Prevents hair fall and baldness, greying of hair
  2. Improves the subtle perceptibility of the sense organs
  3. Induces sound sleep
  4. Very effective in the management of stress
  5. Brings down blood pressure in a hypertensive person
  6. Useful in the management of cranial nerve disorder.

Indications:-

  1. Stress
  2. Hypertension
  3. Insomnia (sleeping disorder)
  4. Anxiety
  5. Mental exhaustion
Shiropichu:- ( psychological disorders, stress )

It is a procedure performed by a trained therapist by expertly locating stressed areas weakened by repeated psychosomatic expressions. Application of medicated oil to the vertex using a cotton pad saturated with oil. This procedure does not involve massage. One can achieve multiple benefits from this simple but powerful therapy.

Duration – 20 to 40 minutes.

Benefits:-

  1. Calming down the stress on nerves
  2. Controls the excessive thinking
  3. Reduces anger and anxiety

Indications:-

  1. Psychological disorders
  2. Tremors
  3. Dermatological conditions of the scalp
  4. Cranial nerve disorders
  5. Premature greying of hair
Nasyam:- ( colds, frozen shoulder)

Drops of medicated oil or herbal juice are administered in the nostril.

Duration:- 20 to 30 minutes

Benefits:-

  1. Enhances cerebral circulation
  2. Restores and balances prana in the body
  3. Prevents recurring colds and sinus congestion
  4. Rejuvenates the action of the sympathetic and para-sympathetic nerves and enhances body-mind coordination
  5. Pacifies the stress in the neck and thoracic region
  6. Radiance in facial skin as a consequence of rejuvenation of the facial tissues
  7. Rejuvenates hair follicles and effectively controls hair fall and greying
  8. Improved immunity of the upper respiratory tract.

Useful Herbs

* Yashtimadhu – Indian Licorice – Glyccyrrhica Glabra
* Sariva – Hemidesmus Indicus
* Haritaki – Terminalia Chebula
* Amalaki – Indian Gooseberry
* Kumari – Aloe Vera

Pranayama

PranayamaCooling and relaxing breathing like Anulom Vilom (alternate breathing), and Bhramari pranayama can
help reduce stress and anxiety which can directly help in reducing the frequency of attacks.

Other breathing practices which require holding breath should be strictly avoided. This can worsen an attack.

Lifestyle rules –

Following the right lifestyle is equally important as it allows our body and mind to maintain harmony, develops our immunity and gives us enough time to rejuvenate. There are some simple rules laid down in Ayurveda for the same.

  1. Dinner should be taken within 90 minutes of sunset ( somewhere around 7.30 pm). This gives our system enough time to assimilate the food in harmony.
  2. Early to bed, and early to rise make you healthy, wealthy and wise. This old saying is very much applicable today also.
  3.  Stay away from electronic gadgets while having your food. Gadgets emit certain harmful energies which can disturb our biorhythm and eventually disturb the energies responsible for maintaining cellular intelligence.
  4. Eat fresh and local. Have freshly cooked food ( cooked within 3 hrs ) so that the prana ( life energy ) in the food is still intact and it is ready to give us energy. Always eat locally available vegetables and fruits which are naturally compatible with our system.
  5.  Avoid tinned foods (especially meat ), leftovers, and overly-preserved food as they are toxic and negatively impact our psycho-physical abilities.
  6. Don’t ignore bodily urges like hunger, thirst and elimination.
  7. Drink enough water as per your body’s constitution and environment.
  8. Practice yoga, pranayama and meditation to maintain a balanced mental environment.

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