Everyone has the bitter experience of a headache, more so people suffering from migraine. Nausea or vomiting, reeling sensations, local neurological events apart from paroxysmal headache are the main features of migraine. Migraine sufferers often complain of cutting, burning or chopping pain in one half of the head. Ayurvedic texts describe this disease as Ardhabavedhak.
The cause is largely unknown. Persons sensitive to foods like milk, coffee, tea, chocolate, alcohol etc may develop the disease after consuming them. Seasonal changes, suppressed natural urges, exposure to cold wind and heat, coitus and labour, mental depression, use of oral contraceptive pills may aggravate the frequency and severity of the disease. Migraine may start during menstrual period, due to sleeplessness or sudden break in deep sleep or even anger and excitement in some patients. According to Ayurveda, vitiated Vata and Kapha cause the disease. The prevalence of the disease on females is three times more than in men. 90% of migraine suffers will have their first attack by 40 years age. 60% of patients have a family history of migraine.
Types and symptoms
Classical migraine- It starts with irritability followed by an aura in the form of fortification spectra, shimmering silvery zigzag lines which march across the visual field for over 20 minutes, at times leaving transient visual field loss, vomiting, paroxysmal headache and focal neurological events. The patient prefers to sleep in a quiet and dark room during the headache phase. The headache may persist for several days. The frequency and severity of the disease may subside gradually with age.
Common migraine - The clinical features are same as classical type. Vomiting may or may not be there but zigzag lines across the visual field are not felt.
Complicated migraine - In addition to headache, feeling of pricking sensation over the face, palm, foot etc, speech difficulty, fatigue are the complaints made by the patient in this type.
Cluster migraine - There is a 5:1 predominance in men, with the onset usually in the third decade. Severe unilateral periodic pain in eye orbit and around ear, nasal congestion, lacrination, redness over face and neck are characteristic features. Typically the pain starts in early hours of the day and lasts for 30-90 minutes. The syndrome may occur repeatedly for a number of weeks, followed by a respite for a number of months before another cluster.
Avoidance of precipitants is vital in the line of treatment of the disease. Juice of Bhringaraj or Apanarg, ghee or misri mixed with milk may be used as nasal drops. Ghee cake, ghee jalebi with milk are helpful as diet. The patient must take medicines under the strict supervision of a skilled ayurvedic physician. Many patent and classical medicines like sirasuladivajra ras, laghu sutasexhar ras, abipattikar churnam etc, if taken correctly, can cure the disease.