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MIGRAINE - HEADACHE

Homeopathic Approach

The homeopathic approach to migraine and headaches is to stimulate the individual’s forces of recovery by aiming treatment at the root cause of the ailment, rather than prescribing suppressive “pain killers” based on a specific diagnosis. In homeopathy the remedy is the actual diagnosis, because each remedy is selected according to a particular individual and how they experience their symptoms uniquely. In the case of migraine headache, one person may express that their discomfort is intensified by any motion or activity, and that they are compelled to rest in a closed dark room without interruptions. This individual could possibly be benefited by the homeopathic remedy Bryonia Album. Whereas, another person may feel worse indoors, and find some relief by walking in the open air, and so might require the remedy Pulsatilla Pratensis. The symptom of head pain are common to both, but does not assist in determining the “indicated” homeopathic remedy. The characteristic and individually experienced symptoms show how that individual is being affected and thus indicate a remedy that will rebalance a person’s energy and thus cure the complaint by curing the individual.

 

Some Common Homeopathic Remedies for Migraines/Headaches
Belladonna, Bryonia Album, Causticum, China Officialis, Gelsemium Sempervirens, Glonine, Lac Defloratum, Lachesis, Lycopodium Clavatum, Magnesium Phosphate, Melilotus, Natrum Muriaticum, Natrum Sulphuricum, Nux Vomica, Phosphorus, Pulsatilla Pratensis, Sanguinaria Canadensis, Sepia Officinalis, Silicea Terra, Sulphur

 

Definition

Migraines are also known as vascular headaches. The exact cause of migraines is unknown, although evidence suggests involvement of the blood vessels of your head.

 

A migraine headache usually begins in the early morning or during the day with intense, gripping pain on one side of your head that may gradually spread. The pain begins to throb on one side or over your entire head. It reaches the peak of severity in minutes to an hour or 2 and lasts for hours to 2 days, unless it is treated. It is often terminated by sleep, but you may be listless after waking up. The frequency of attacks can range from daily to 1 in several months. These attacks can be associated with nausea and, at times, vomiting.

 

Migraine has several clinical patterns: classic migraine (migraine with typical aura), common migraine (migraine without aura), and complicated migraine.

 

In migraine with aura (classic migraine), your headache is preceded by warning symptoms. About 20 minutes before the headache, neurologic symptoms often appear, including sparkling flashes of light, dazzling zigzag lines, slowly spreading blind spots, dizziness, or a feeling of numbness on one side of your body. The symptoms preceding the headache are referred to as the aura. Less commonly, aura symptoms include a slowly spreading weakness or numbness of your face, a hand, or a leg; a tingling and numbness in your lips; or difficulty with talking or writing. Rarely, these symptoms can be permanent, presumably because of a stroke (infarct).

 

Migraine without aura (common migraine) has no characteristic warning symptoms. Hours before the headache, you may be elated, full of energy, thirsty, hungry for sweets, drowsy, irritable, or depressed; These are sometimes referred to as premonitory symptoms. The headache usually builds to full intensity over several minutes or longer.

 

Complicated migraine is associated with prolonged neurologic symptoms that may outlast your head pain.

 

Less common forms of migraine headache include familial hemiplegic migraine (migraine with aura and paralysis of one side of the body; the affected person has at least one immediate relative who has identical attacks), migraine aura without headache (occurs mostly in elderly persons), ophthalmoplegic migraine (with partial paralysis of the eyes), status migrainous (persisting longer than 72 hours), and migrainous infarction (1 or more aura symptoms that persist unabated for longer than 21 days).

 

Symptoms may begin in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood, and tend to taper off in number and intensity as you grow older. It is a common disorder that strikes many persons. Women are 3 times more likely to have migraines than men. Migraine may be associated with premenstrual tension. Attacks tend to decrease during pregnancy. There is a family history of migraine in about half of all cases.

 

The biological causes of migraine are unknown, but many precipitating factors have been identified. A period of hard work followed by relaxation may lead to a "weekend migraine." Stress, premenstrual changes, alcohol consumption, hunger, or use of oral contraceptives causes symptoms in some persons. Certain foods may produce attacks, including red wine, chocolate, aged cheese, milk, chicken livers, meats preserved in nitrates, or anything prepared with monosodium glutamate. Some persons even report that exposure to sunlight or exercise triggers their attacks.

 

Symptoms

Intense head pain.
Nausea and vomiting.
Sparkling, rainbow-like colors, blank spots in your field of vision, or other auras.

 

Diagnosis

If you have migraines with characteristic warning symptoms or a family history of these headaches, your physician probably will have little difficulty diagnosing the condition. If you do not have these traits or if the headaches are severe and of recent onset, you may need testing to rule out tumors, aneurysms, or other structural disorders that could cause your pain. You may need to have a lumbar puncture to analyze your cerebrospinal fluid, skull and sinus x-rays, vision tests, and CT scanning.

 

Migraine is a chronic disorder without cure. The headaches are not life-threatening, and there is no proof that they lead to other disorders. With treatment, you should be able to reduce the number and severity of attacks.

Conventional Treatment

Mild analgesics such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may provide relief for mild to moderate migraines. A combination of analgesic and barbiturate agents (such as aspirin, caffeine, and butalbital) helps some patients. The regular use of barbiturate compounds, however, may trigger daily headaches, and therefore they should not be used more than 2 days a week. Anti-nauseants, such as metoclopramide, may be prescribed if your headaches cause nausea or vomiting. Some anti-nauseants can be prescribed in suppository form.

 

A drug called ergotamine has been used effectively for acute migraine. Sometimes, an analgesic painkiller is used in combination with it. Ergotamine can bring on headaches and other side effects such as nausea, vomiting, cramps, and tingling sensations. It should be used only a few times a week and not at all during pregnancy or breast-feeding.

 

Isometheptene is a drug related to ergotamine and provides relief for some patients when it is given in combination with an analgesic and a mild sedative (isometheptene, acetaminophen, and dichloralphenazone). Isometheptene may not be as effective as ergotamine, but it is better tolerated and produces fewer side effects.

 

The medication sumatriptan is a newer drug for the treatment of acute migraine attacks. There is evidence that it works by binding to certain serotonin receptors on cranial blood vessels.

 

After taking medication when the first symptoms appear, some persons respond well to rest in a darkened room and sleep, if possible, especially during a fully developed attack. If your migraine is prolonged with continued attacks of vomiting, seek emergency medical treatment to replace lost fluids and to control the pain.

 

If you know that certain foods trigger a migraine, avoid them. It also may help to avoid oversleeping on holidays and weekends. You might consider discontinuing the use of birth control pills if you take them; About 30 percent of women with migraine have increased attacks when they take oral contraceptives.

 

If you have frequent headaches, keep a diary to give yourself clues about what triggers your attacks. Note the time a headache began, what you ate during the preceding 24 hours, how you felt (and what you were doing) when the headache started, unusual stress, how long the headache lasted, and what made it stop. Relaxation techniques help some persons cut down the number of headaches.

 

If you have more than 2 migraines a month or your pain is especially prolonged, medications such as beta-adrenergic blockers, calcium entry blockers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or methysergide maleate may be prescribed for daily use to prevent attacks.

 

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