Treat the cause, not the symptoms

Just when you have truckloads of work lined up for the day, the last thing you want is a throbbing headache. But life has to go on, so you pop a pill and carry on with your work. That’s not the end though, because the pain returns and you wonder why?

Migraine affects the productivity of a large number of people and is more common in women than men. A migraine is different from other kinds of headache and is identified by its symptoms. The headache is frequent with pain ranging from moderate to severe. It is usually a one sided pulsating pain in the head and may be accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound etc. Some people experience a visual aura like a blurred vision, spots, stars or wavy lines before the headache starts.

So what causes a migraine?

A migraine can be triggered by many things and may differ from person to person. Some common triggers can be

  • Missing meals; dieting or fasting
  • Lack of sleep
  • Exercise or physical activity
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Hormonal changes
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Certain foods like MSG or allergens

While treating migraine, it is important to find out what triggers the headache so as to avoid them. Therefore only a proper diagnosis of the condition can help in curing the ailment and prevent it from recurring.

Smita Bhide, a 22 year old management student from Mumbai recounts her harrowing days of dealing with migraine. “I was getting headaches almost every day during some months of the year. I would take painkillers and go about with my day. After a point the painkillers seem to have no effect on the pain. I couldn’t concentrate on my studies and was getting depressed”. Smita consulted Dr Ruchika Sood, specialist at Neocare. The doctor asked her to maintain a record of the timings and frequency of the headaches. She also enquired about her diet, studies and sleep patterns. It was then revealed that Smita would usually skip her meals and eat at odd hours during her exams. That coupled with stress and anxiety of completing her studies triggered the headaches..

“Taking medicines without prescription can do more harm than good. Some of them can cause serious side effects and other problems. Having frequent attacks that is more than twice in a month and regular use of painkillers for the same, needs to be examined. If migraine interferes with your daily life despite treatment then one needs to consult a doctor who specializes in headaches”, advises Dr Ruchika Sood.