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MIGRAINE

Homeopathic Treatment of Migraine Headaches

For those who suffer from migraine, homeopathy can be a boon in curing this disorder. Long term treatment with homeopathic remedies can eradicate migraine headaches.

Migraine headache is not an easy disease to do away with. Even with homeoapthy, moderate to severe form of migraine headaches take a while to get totally cured and usually gradually get better in a phased manner; they usually do not disappear in one go (but yes, a cure is possible).

Usually whenever a patient experiences such a headache they themselves often start off with paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen or other analgesics. OTC drugs may provide some relief, although they are typically not effective for most sufferers and therefore is a very dangerous and harmful practice.

In allopathic treatment, patients who have been diagnosed with recurring migraines, migraine abortive medications are prescribed. It means, treating the attack at the onset can often abort it before it becomes serious. Similarly, many NSAIDs are prescribed for a long time like paracetamol, naproxyn, excedrin, metoclopramide, megraleve, analgesics combined with caffeine and antiemetics. In short, they treat the symptoms and not the person suffering from migraine headaches. These medicines are made up of synthetic products and are non organic, so, they might be relieving your symptoms for an hour or so, but they are making you face other problems which we call side effects. Most of the pain killers are toxic to kidneys and liver which are vital organs.

Moreover, allopathic pain killers are just a temporary solution. They have the same type of medicine for every migraine sufferer. Allopathy just works superficially and does not treat the root cause of migraine headaches.

Studies show that the constant use of pain killers may have a rebound effect - actually causing headaches. Dependence on pain killers may also hamper the effectiveness of endorphins, the body's natural pain killers.

On the other hand, homeopathy is different; homeopathy treats the whole person and tailor made treatment is devised for each individual patient. For example, 5 different patients of migraine headache may be given 5 different kinds of remedies, depending upon their physical and mental makeup and aggravating and ameliorating factors. There are 253 remedies to choose from for migraine headaches in homeopathy. This is one reason an experienced and knowledgeable homeopathic doctor is required to work on the disease. Homeopathy also helps and transforms people mentally, emotionally and physically.

Homeopathic treatment of migraine headaches depends totally upon the symptoms presented including the psycho-physical makeup of the patient. The character and the modalities associated and also the symptoms associated with the migraine headaches like aura, vomiting, nausea and the trigger factors decide the choice of the homeopathic medicine that would help that particular case.

Some of the homeopathic remedies which may be used in a case of migraine headache under an expert homeopathic doctor are Glonoine, Belladonna, Sangunaria canadensis, Iris versicolor, Gelsemium, Nux vomica and so on.

The duration of treatment varies from person to person. Usually it takes 8 to 12 months to complete the cure, although the patient starts feeling better within two days of treatment.

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What is a Migraine or Paroxysmal Headache ?
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It is very common for each one of us to suffer from headaches a couple of times in our lifetime; but for some, headaches are far too common and their recurrences become a major hindrance in leading a normal life.

One such type of recurrent headaches is called Migraine headaches. Migraine headaches show a typical pattern of recurrence and are characterized by severe to moderate head pain, involving both sides or one side of the head, which may or may not be present with nausea and vomiting.

Causes of Migraine or Paroxysmal Headache
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Although the actual cause of migraine is not very clear, researchers believe that migraine headache is caused by a drop in the level of a chemical, serotonin, in the brain, which leads to the inflammation and dilatation in the blood vessels of the brain, leading to a headache.

Migraine is often pyschosomatic in origin. There are migraine personalities and most migraine sufferers show one or many of the following behavioral patterns : conscientiousness, fastidiousness, rigidity of views, constant conflict between the environment and self, high levels of expectation.

Migraine headache sufferers are predominantly females - however, we are observing a shift. Often, it is observed to be running in the family, showing heriditary links.

Due to some triggering factors, varying from person to person, there is some kind of vasoconstriction and vasodilatation of the branches of the carotid artery which leads to typical throbbing and congestive attacks of headaches.

Migraine headache attacks may be triggered by :

  • Allergic reactions.
  • Bright lights, loud noises, odors or perfumes.
  • Physical or emotional stress.
  • Changes in sleep patterns.
  • Smoking or exposure to smoke.
  • Skipping meals.
  • Alcohol.
  • Menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills, hormone fluctuations during the menopause transition.
  • Tension headaches.
  • Foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG) or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs, and salami).
  • Other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus fruits, onions, dairy products and fermented or pickled foods.
Symptoms of Migraine Headaches
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The signs and symptoms of migraine headaches vary among patients. Therefore, what a patient experiences before, during and after an attack can't be defined exactly. The four phases of a migraine headache attack are common but not necessarily experienced by all migraine headache sufferers :

  • The PRODROME, includes symptoms experienced by patients, hours or days before the headaches. These may include irritability, depression, tiredness, yawning, constipation, stiffness of neck and so on.
  • The AURA, immediately precedes the headache. The symptoms may include foggy vision, colored vision, bright lines in front of the eyes, sensation of pins or numbness on body, vertigo, loss of smelling power, nausea / vomiting and photophobia.
  • The PAIN phase, also known as HEADACHE phase : Usually the headache is in one half of the body. It increases gradually and lasts from 4 to 72 hours. However the intensity, duration and frequency of pain varies from person to person. The headache can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, vertigo, pallor of face, loss of appetite, sensitivity to smells, noise and light and so on.
  • The POSTDROME phase, the symptoms occuring after an attack of migraine. These include mood changes, depression, tiredness, lethargy, loss of appetite and so on.
Defining the Severity of Migraine Headache Pain
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The International Headache Society defines the intensity of pain on a verbal 4 point scale :-

Number Name Annotation
0 No pain
1 Mild pain Does not interfere with usual activities
2 Moderate pain Inhibits but does not wholly prevent usual activities
3 Severe pain Prevents all activities
How are Migraine Headaches Diagnosed ?
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Migraine headaches are usually underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

The diagnosis of migraine without aura, according to the International Headache Society, can be made on the basis of the following criteria, the '5, 4, 3, 2, 1 criteria' :-

  • 5 or more attacks.
  • 4 hours to 3 days in duration.
  • 2 or more of - unilateral location, pulsating quality, moderate to severe pain, aggravation by or avoidance of routine physical activity.
  • 1 or more accompanying symptoms - nausea and / or vomiting, photophobia, phonophobia.

For migraine with aura, only two attacks are required to justify the diagnosis.

POUNDING (Pulsating, duration of 4 to 72 hOurs, Unilateral, Nausea, Disabling) can help diagnose migraine.

If 4 of the 5 criteria are met, then the positive likelihood of diagnosing the headache as a migraine headache is very high.

Lab Investigations in Migraine Headaches
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To rule out possible organic causes of headaches - for example, an aneurysm, tumor or structural abnormality - a doctor may employ vision tests, x-rays, a CT scan, a lumbar puncture or an EEG.

Home Remedies for Migraine Headaches
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It is very important for those suffering from migraines to realize that lifestyle modifications like regular exercise and reducing stress in their life are very essential in curing migraine headaches.

Regular exercise can release endorphins, the body's natural painkilling agents. Exercising may also help to dilate blood vessels, which increases blood flow and may counteract the constricting action that occurs at the onset of most migraines.

Identifying trigger factors and avoiding these factors can be very helpful in controlling the recurrence of migraine headaches.

Holding an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables against your forehead while soaking your feet in hot water may stop a migraine headache if done right away.

Economic Impact of Migraine Headaches
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In addition to being a major cause of pain and suffering, recurrent migraine headache attacks are a significant source of both medical costs and lost productivity. Medical costs per migraine sufferer averaged USD 107 over 6 months in one 1988 study, with total costs including lost productivity averaging USD 313. Annual employer cost of lost productivity due to migraine headaches in the USA amounted to one billion dollars in 1994, in addition to lost productivity estimated at 13 to 17 billion dollars per year.

The workplace model of 9 to 5, 5 days a week, may not be viable for a migraine sufferer. With education and understanding, an employer could compromise with an employee to create a workable solution for both.

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