Headache You Can Live With

Migraine can’t be cured but you can learn to cope with it and suffer less 

1/31/2017 3:15:08 PM
written By : Dr Digamber Naik Print

I saw a young patient in my OPD who complained of a persistent migraine headache. She was trying all kinds of remedies. I asked for a CT scan before prescribing any medication – and found the poor girl had a brain tumour. 

Migraines are common, especially among women. There are no specific tests or clinical markers, but I believe we must rule out any specific cause of headache before labelling it as a migraine.

Some of you reading this may be prone to migraines, which vary from mild to excruciating headaches causing nausea and vomiting. Doctors distinguish between various types of migraines. The sufferer, of course, wants relief from the pain, Relief will come – but, first, you have to learn to deal with the condition. 

My basic approach in treating people with migraine is to spend time with them and make them understand the pathophysiology -- and I have had great results using this method. Yes, my friends, migraine is a neuro-vascular headache which has definite recurrent patterns in the same individual. Most sufferers show sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Migraine may be accompanied by aura. The headache then is more severe. There is need to see if there is any organic cause for the headache. It is also important to distinguish cluster headaches and recurrent tension headaches since treatment for these is different.

Migraine can be precipitated by physical changes like those that happen during periods and the psychosocial changes caused by stress, I have always called this headache a manifestation of neuropsychosociovascular stress. This analysis often helps one understand and manage the problem better. I believe since migraine is a lifelong problem, people prone to it have to manage the problem themselves with the help and guidance of their doctors. 

There are two ways of looking at migraine. One is to provide relief when the person gets an acute attack and, subsequently, to prevent the next attack. Your doctor will use various medicines such as painkillers, Triptans, Dihydroergotamine, anti-vomiting medications and tranquillisers during an acute attack. Besides these, we have successfully used a number of medications to abort subsequent attacks so that people with migraine can live  a comfortable life without much suffering. 

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