Frequently Asked Questions
Most wanted questions & answers
What is an Aura?
The manifestation of neurological symptoms that occur before a migraine headache are called auras. Nearly about 20 to 25% people experience aura with migraine. The typical characteristics of aura include appearance of blind spots in one or both the eyes; dots; jagged or wavy lines; feeling of strange odours, taste and touch; disruptions in smell, auditory hallucinations or visual hallucinations; experiencing tunnel vision, flashing lights; numbness in the hands, difficulty recalling words or speaking correct words and pins and needles sensations. These neurological symptoms may continue for around 45 to 60 minutes and more, and then gradually diminishes once the headache begins.
What are the different types of migraine with aura?
• Retinal migraine • Hemiplegic migraine • Migraine with brainstem aura • Migraine with typical aura
Are headaches hereditary?
Millions of people suffer from headache throughout the world and majority of those have a family history of migraine. According to migraine specialists and several neurologists, nearly about 80% of the people with migraine reported to have a family history of migraine. However, scientists are not sure whether it is a family predisposition or genetic cause which is responsible for migraines in such people. Whatever may be the case, the chances of getting migraine in a child are about 50% if one parent suffers and 75% if both the parents suffer.
Does Weather affect Migraine?
The list of factors affecting migraines is quite extensive, but it differs from individual to individual. In some individuals changes in weather and climatic conditions can trigger a migraine attack. For instance, extreme cold, hot and humid conditions, bright sunlight, extreme hot, cool breeze and drastic changes in atmospheric pressure can all lead to migraines in some individuals. However, weather is not a common factor or migraine trigger for all. It does show its effect in only a few individuals.
Can children get headache?
Yes, children do get headaches and migraines by the time they reach high school. If a child suffers from headaches, taking him or her to a pediatric neurologist will help understand the cause and the type of headache. There are several safe approaches available along with many medicines for managing and preventing headaches in children.
What is the link between migraine and hormones?
Hormones play quite an important role in initiating and regulating many bodily functions and thus help in maintaining body’s balance with constantly changing environment. Disturbance in normal hormonal balance in the body in conditions such as stress, depression, menopause, pregnancy and menstruation can lead to headaches and migraines. In majority of the women, episodes of migraines have been reported during menstrual cycle. These are related to hormonal imbalances.
Does migraine increase the risk of stroke?
In some people a severe and debilitating migraine attack renders them panic – owing to the magnitude of migraine attack they become fearful that their migraine can lead to stroke. However, the chances are quite rare. This does not mean that those who suffer from migraine cannot suffer from stroke, but for individuals under age 40 the common factor associated with the stroke is migraine. However, over a period of time in an individual’s lifespan, the risk of stroke associated with migraine headache reduces.
Are OTC Medicines effective for the treatment of Migraines?
OTC or Over-the-Counter medicines may be helpful in easing mild to moderate headaches or the symptoms associated with migraines. However, for the treatment of migraine, it is better to see a specialist rather than resorting to self-therapy because migraine treatment requires a different approach and treatment modality.
Whom should I consult to diagnose and treat my headache?
You can consult your family physician who is experienced enough to identify your problem, but it is always better to consultant an experienced and expert neurologist or a migraine specialist. An expert is always better at identifying the cause of your headache and classifying, diagnosing and treating it aptly. Your neurologist will formulate a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to treat your headache – which will be based on your symptoms and other associated conditions you have.
Can a person suffer from different types of headaches together?
Yes, it is not unusual to witness several types of headaches in a person. Individuals with mixed type of headaches: tension-type and migraine type headaches are not unusual.
Why do I have headaches only on the weekend?
Many people change their routine pattern of sleep on weekend and thus tend to sleep less or more – which may lead to or trigger migraines. Therefore, those who are prone to migraines especially on the weekend should follow a strict sleep and wake up routine pattern – and get the same amount of sleep each night – even on the weekend as well. This will help them to manage their weekend migraines.
I have always suffered from migraines; does this make me prone to having a stroke?
Though migraines carry a negligible risk of stroke; however, females who suffer from migraine with aura are slightly at risk if they are above 35 years age because the aura itself is the risk factor among this age group women. Furthermore, women with migraine taking oral contraceptives are at increased risk of stroke. Obesity, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, heart disease are also considered as risk factors in other people who suffer from migraine. By making yourself aware of the potential risk factors, you can make lifestyle changes, which will help you to minimize the risk and lead a healthy life.
Can I relieve my migraine pain without taking pills? What are the alternative treatments available?
If you prefer not to take medicines for alleviating your pain, then there are alternative treatment approaches that you can try. They are mostly lifestyle related – which are based on avoiding triggers, exercise, alternative therapies and other complementary treatments.
What alternative therapies are used to treat migraine?
Treatments that are outside the scope of allopathy are known as alternative therapies. These are used to treat migraines. Aromatherapy, yoga, hydrotherapy, reiki, acupressure, acupuncture, herbal therapy, reflexology, magnetotherapy are some of the examples of alternative therapies. Yoga, herbal therapy and mudras are some of the common alternative treatments that are believed to alleviate migraine pains. If you want to prefer alternative therapy, discuss with your specialist whether it is suitable for your condition.
What is a sinus headache? What causes it and how can I treat it?
When a sinus becomes inflamed, usually as the result of an allergic reaction, a tumour, or an infection, the inflammation will cause a localized pain. If your headache is truly caused by a sinus blockage, such as an infection, you will probably have a fever. An x-ray will confirm a sinus blockage. Your physician’s treatment might include antibiotics for the infection, as well as antihistamines or decongestants.
I've heard that if I stop eating chocolate, I should be able to control my migraines?
Many of us think that if we stop consuming certain foods, we can easily manage migraine or stop it altogether from occurring. And therefore, try to avoid eating cheese, chocolate and drinking coffee or wine. But this is a well-known myth because there are many types of migraine triggers which may affect some persons and may not affect others alike. In some cases, it’s not only one trigger but many triggers and a combination of other factors can trigger migraine. Unless you are aware of what is triggering your migraine, you cannot say that chocolate is the culprit. To know more about all the triggers and factors that cause migraines, click here…