Migraine

Summary

8 Things to do if you have Migraines:

  • Treatment of migraines starts with recognizing your triggers for migraine. Keep a trigger diary until you know what brings on your migraines. Discuss your trigger diary with your doctor.
  • Clean up your lifestyle. Move to an anti-inflammatory and unprocessed diet as well as regular and gentle exercise. Heavy tiring exercise may trigger migraines.
  • Avoid MSG and artificial food flavors. They are often involved in triggering migraines.
  • Get adequate sleep and manage stress proactively to prevent migraines.
  • Medications from a group called Triptans (e.g. Sumatriptan or Imitrex) are first line for treatment for acute migraine. Rest and anti-vomiting medications help as well. Triptans loose efficacy if used frequently so prevention of migraines in critical.
  • Research shows that Acupuncture is just as effective and has fewer side effects than western meds for prevention of migraines.
  • Stress management via biofeedback, meditation, yoga, breath-work or massage is very important for reducing migraine frequency.

Please call Zanjabee at 781 933 7000 or email us at Ask@zanjabee.com for expert help in managing your migraine.

While we sometimes call any severe headache migraine, migraines are very different from the tension headaches that most of us suffer from. A Migraine is a special kind of headache that affects about 12% of Americans. More women (17%) suffer from migraines as compared to men (6-7%). Migraine prevalence peaks between ages of 30-39. Here is how to tell if you have migraines or tension headaches.

Migraine Tension Headache
Genetic Predisposition Yes No
Side Almost always affects one side Affects both sides of head
Prodrome Responds to Triptans (e.g. sumatriptan/imitrex) and Acupuncture Responds to Tylenol and Massage
Character Throbbing Like a tight band
Physical Source Arises from within the brain Arises from tension in neck and shoulder muscles
Trigger Stress
(see complete list below )
Stress, long hours on computer or driving
Treatment Responds to Triptans (e.g. sumatriptan/imitrex) and Acupuncture Responds to Tylenol and Massage
Types of Headaches

Why do we get Migraines?

Migraines tend to run in families. People who suffer from migraines are genetically predisposed to have wide spread slowing of brain activity when faced with triggers like emotional stress, hormonal changes in women, lack of sleep and food as well as certain odors and florescent lights. This wave of slow brain activity presents first as the Aura which is most commonly visual. Visual Aura is often the first sign of an impending migraine although many people have migraines with smell related auras or no auras. A visual aura is often an abnormal area in the visual field of the side with migraine.

Why Do We Get Migraines?

What does a Migraine Feel like?

A visual aura often looks like the one shown above in the photos. This is followed by throbbing one-sided headache, nausea, inability to tolerate lights or noise. There may be vomiting and often headache last several hours and then gradually improves. It may last for more than day.

Treatment of Migraines

A class of medications called Triptans taken right at the time of the aura or early in the headache may abort the headache but is not effective taken later.

The treatment of migraine is divided into two parts.

  1. Treatment of acute migraine
  2. Prevention of migraines

Acute Migraine Attack

At Zanjabee we believe that the western medicine drugs called Triptans (e.g. Imitrex) taken early in a migraine are the most effective treatment for acute migraine. A dark room, rest and light food to settle the stomach is great in acute migraine as well. Clinical experience shows that triptans do not work as well if used frequently. Prevention of migraines therefore is critical.

Prevention of Migraines

Research shows that acupuncture is superior to western meds to prevent migraines since it is just as effective and has very few side effects. Several medication like anti-seizure (Topamax), anti-depressants (Zoloft or celexa), Neuro-stabilizers (e.g. Neurontin) and Anti High Blood pressure meds like Propanolol also prevent migraine but have side effects.

Treatment of Migraine

Stress Management in Migraines

Stress is a trigger for 80% of patients with migraines. Active stress management via biofeedback, meditation, breath-work and/or massage is key to active prevention of massage.

Migraine Management

Lifestyle Changes

Foods with high salt, MSG and processed foods often trigger migraines. Our experience at Zanjabee shows that unprocessed food is often helpful in preventing migraine. A trigger diary is a great first step in finding out what foods trigger your migraine. Quitting a job from hell and walks in nature are also examples of changing lifestyle changes that are helpful. Light and regular exercise is effective in preventing migraines but heavy exercise that physically exhausts you triggers migraines.

Lifestyle Changes For Migraine

Ayurveda

Ayurveda treatment of Migraine starts with constitution diagnosis of you the person with migraine. Based on your metabolic profile, a personalized food, exercise and meditation plan is put together for you.

Other treatment modalities include:

  • Milk and ghee preparation
  • Lean meat soups
  • Scalp massage
  • nasal medicated snuff (nasya)
  • Pastes made of herbs like Rubia cordofolia and Hemidismus Indica are applied to the forehead and temples.

Please call Zanjabee at 781 933 7000 or email us at Ask@zanjabee.com for expert help in managing your migraine.