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Ayurveda Treatment for Migraine

  • Post by: School of Ayurveda and Panchakarma
  • Date: 07-10-2021

Migraine has become a well-known occurrence around us and each one of us would know someone who has it. For those who have experienced it, it is relatively easy to explain the difference between a common headache and a migraine attack. A throbbing, pulsing headache on one side of your head is one of the many symptoms of a migraine. It is a common neurological disease that will likely get worse with physical activity, lights, sounds, or smells. It may last at least 4 hours or even days. Ayurveda, with its age-old wisdom, has effective treatments for Migraines. Read along to know more about Migraine and the Ayurveda treatment for Migraine

Types of Migraine

Migraine has many different forms and types. The most common are migraines with and without aura. It affects people in different ways as mentioned below: 

  • Migraine Without Aura: Often termed "common migraine" or "episodic migraine" this type is the most common with typical symptoms of a pulsating headache of moderate-to-severe intensity on any single side of the head. It gets aggravated by nausea, routine physical activity, and sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Migraine With Aura: Certain symptoms occur half an hour or so before the headache begins and they are termed as Aura. Its symptoms are usually visual and may include such disturbances as losing part or all of your vision and/or seeing wavy lines, or flashing lights for a short period of time. Aura can sometimes include loss of the ability to speak & motor capabilities, and sensory disturbances (e.g., tingling or numbness). 
  • Chronic Migraine: causes triggering attacks that last 15 days of the month and may persist in subsequent months.
  • Menstrual Migraine:  They occur in a pattern connected to the menstrual cycle in women and can often be excruciating.
  • Hemiplegic Migraine: A rare form that causes weakness on one side of the body & confusion or speech slurring for a temporary period.
  • Abdominal Migraine: Abdominal Migraine is a disorder that generally affects children under 14 years of age. It connects migraine attacks to irregular functions in the gut and abdomen.
  • Migraine with brainstem aura: Also called basilar-type migraine, it is a rare type of migraine that can cause severe neurological symptoms, such as vertigo, slurred speech, unsteadiness, and numbness.
  • Retinal Migraine: A retinal migraine is a more serious medical problem & is accompanied by temporary vision loss in one eye, which can last from minutes to days and in worse cases months. Patients ought to seek medical care.
  • Vestibular migraine: Also called migraine-associated vertigo, this type of migraine shows symptoms that cause dizziness and affect balance.
  • Status Migrainosus: This is a debilitating and painful migraine attack that could last more than 72 hours. It should be considered an emergency if moderate to severe migraine pain lasts longer than this.

Migraine Symptoms

Symptoms of migraines are spread out and can be sometimes similar to other types of bodily ailments. A migraine problem cannot be ruled out if the below symptoms show:

  • Dull aching pain or intense throbbing on one or both sides of your head
  • Pain that gradually increases with physical activity
  • Nausea followed by vomiting
  • Sudden blurred vision or blind spots
  • Inexplicably being irritated by noise, light, or odors
  • Feeling confused, Lightheadedness or tired 
  • Stiff or tender neck
  • Feeling cold or sweaty with a blocked nose
  • Tender scalp

Migraine Causes

Doctors don’t know exactly what causes migraines but changes in the level of serotonin have been noticed. Serotonin can have an effect on the blood vessels and is known to play many roles in the body. High serotonin levels may constrict blood vessels whereas low levels could dilate blood vessels that can cause severe pain or other associated problems. A spreading pattern of electrical activity in the brain is another aspect that is being studied. 

Some research also suggests that there could be a hereditary factor for migraines and has identified some genes associated with migraines. Your chances of contracting migraines could jump up to 75% if both of your parents have migraines. Also, Women are more likely to have chronic migraines which are likely linked to hormones that fluctuate each month around the time of their period, during pregnancy, and even menopause. Other causes of migraines include Bright lights, Flickering screens(television or computer screen), Loud noises & Strong smells.

Migraines seem to be caused by a combination of factors: environmental, genetic, and lifestyle.

Ayurveda Management for Migraine

Ayurveda treatment for Migraine is not for the disease itself, but it is customized for the particular condition of the person suffering. Panchakarma (purification) treatments are highly recommended for treating Migraines. Based on the type of migraine and the frequency of occurrence Ayurveda treatment for Migraine may consist of herbs, therapies, and a diet/lifestyle change.

One thing that can affect the function of the different sense organs is toxic materials that are deposited in the head which can produce sensitivity to sound, light, odor, and even mood changes. Panchakarma is a 5 step detailed detoxification process that helps to remove these toxins and strengthen the nervous system. Special treatments like Sirovasti, Sirodhara, Shiroabhyanga, etc. helps to nourish the nervous system. This helps Vata to be normalized.

Nasya: A prime part of Panchakarma, Nasya is considered to be one of the treatments which remove the toxins accumulated in the sinuses as it directly acts on the nerves. Herbal preparations are administered into the nasal cavity in this process. One of the areas where numerous nerve endings are exposed is the coating inside the nostrils. The medicated oils help to pacify Vata once they are applied through Nasya directly. It acts on these nerve endings and drains the mucus deposited in the sinuses to relieve the pressure in this area 

Shirodhara: This therapy includes a continuous stream of warm oil being poured over the forehead which is the area where the nerves are highly concentrated. This helps to alleviate the pressure on the forehead which helps the nervous system for a complete mind experience resulting in mental relaxation.

Oil Pulling: Also known as Kavala Graha, it is a perfect substitute therapy for migraines that has a powerful detoxifying effect to provide relief from migraines and other conditions brought on from accumulated poisonous toxins. Usually, coconut oil is held in the mouth in this process to literally pull the toxins from the head which also results in whiter teeth.

In conclusion, Migraines are not a serious concern for some, but without proper diagnosis, it is unwise to determine the severity. Consult with a renowned Ayurveda practitioner to understand the treatments and lifestyle changes that you require to reduce the intensity.