Are Migraines Curable?
- Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri
- 3 Min Read
- Fact Checked
Migraines are a severe type of headache that is often described to cause throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation most commonly on one side of the skull. There are different types of migraines that may have similar symptoms along with identifying symptoms. Some types of migraines present with an aura, while others do not. Migraine attacked or episodes can last from a few hours to a few days and can vary in severity and frequency. There is no definitive cause or mechanism by which migraine is caused but researchers have observed an abnormal brain activity that leads to chemicals released in the blood vessels which subsequently can lead to the symptoms. Treatment for migraines involves medication and lifestyle changes but the most commonly asked question still remains, are migraines curable?
Risk factors for migraines
– Genetic: There is a strong association between genes and migraines with more than 75% of individuals that have migraine attacks having one or more first-degree relatives suffering from the same.
– Gender: Women are more vulnerable to migraines than males due to hormonal changes they experience during their menstrual cycle
– Stress: Chronic stress can increase the risk of migraines, but stress can be effectively managed through yoga and mediation.
– Smoking: First-hand and second-hand smoking increase the risk of migraines due to the chemical substances present.
Lifestyle approaches for migraine headaches
– Keep a note of the trigger factors: It can be a food or stimulus like bright light that may have triggered the attack
– Maintain body weight
– Get adequate sleep: 7 hrs of uninterrupted sleep is required
– Reduce stress levels: talking to a friend/family/ mental health professional can benefit. Practice Yoga/meditation to reduce stress levels.
– Do not take pain meds without consulting a doctor. Do not ignore the headaches if they are frequent.
– Eat regular meals and do not skip meals that may trigger a migraine attack
When to see a doctor for migraine headaches?
If the headache is:
– Too severe or unbearable
– Associated with confusion and disorientation
– Associated with loss of consciousness
– Accompanied with seizures or fits
– Accompanied with weakness in one side of the body
These could indicate something more serious than just migraine. Getting evaluated with a head CT scan or MRI on the advice of the health professional can help in diagnosing any condition early and prevent complications.
Are Migraines Curable?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for migraines, but symptoms can be effectively managed with the help of a physician. The treatment and management of migraine headaches can be done with medications. However, lifestyle changes and avoidance of triggers are also part of treatment.
– Medications are given to abort an acute attack or prevent the progression: Triptans, Ergot alkaloids, Opioids, NSAIDS, and anti-nausea drugs.
– Medications given to prevent the attacks are based on the history: Antidepressants, SSRIs, Beta-blockers, Calcium channel blockers, and anti-hypertensive medications
– Non-pharmacological treatment: cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation, biofeedback as well as acupressure, and massage.
During the attack, one can follow certain home remedies like being in a quiet, dark room, massaging the scalp – especially the temple area, meditation, cold compresses on the forehead/neck can help manage the symptoms.
While all types of migraines are usually diagnosed by a physician, and at times can be self-diagnosable, it’s important to understand that headaches can be caused by other abnormalities. If you’ve been suffering from severe and constant headaches, don’t self-diagnose, and consult with a general physician instead. Receiving a proper diagnosis i.e which of the above types of migraines, is important because it rules out any other causes and therefore a treatment plan can be set in place.