A lot of people throw around the word "migraine"
any time they've got a headache but those who truly suffer from
migraines know the difference between one which is and one which
isn't.Let's examine just what migraine headache truly is.
A migraine is a type of vascular headache.It's
caused by a combinaton of an enlargement of the blood vessels (known
as vasoldilatation) and a releasing of chemicals which coil around
those blood vessels from the nerve fibers.In a migraine attack,
the person's temporaal artery becomes enlarged (This is the
artery lying on the outside of the person's skull, right beneath
the skin of his / her temple).When the temporal artery becomes
enlarged, this stretches the nerves which coil around the artery,
and then causes the person's nerves to release chemicals.These
chemicals then cause pain, inflammation and even more enlargement
of that artery.As the artery continues to enlargen, the pain
becomes even more magnified.
a person suffers from a migraine, typically his sympathetic nervous
system is then activated.Think of the sympathetic nervous system
as the portion of the nervous system which directs primitive responses
to pain and stress the "fight or flight" reaction.As
activity of the sympathetic nervous system increases, nausea, diarrhea
and vomiting often result. Also, this sympathetic activity
often delays the stomach's emptying into the small intestine.As
a result, oral medications take longer to be absorbed and therefore
migraine medications are often ineffective.
It's estimated that 28 million Americans suffer
from migraine headaches, with significantly more females (17 percent
of the population) suffering than males (6 percent).However,
migraines are probably under-diagnosed and consequently undertreated.
A migraine headache is usually described by the sufferer as an intense,
pounding pain that normally involves one temple.Sometimes
it's located in the forehead, around either the eye or back of the
peson's head, but it's almost always on one side of the head. It's
not uncommon for the unilateral headaches to change sides: affecting
the left side one time, but the right side the next.Many
daily activities such as walking upstairs aggravate migraines.
Some common symptoms that accompany migraines include
vomiting, nausea, diahrrea, cold hands and feet, facial pallor,
and sensitivity to sound and light. Because of this sensitivity
to sound and light, those suffering from a migraine nomrally prefer
ying in a dark, quiet room.A migraine attack will usually
last four to 72 hours.
It's estimated that between 40 and 60 percent
of migraine headaches will be preceded by warning symptoms which
last several hours to several days.Some of these "premontory"
symtoms includ sleepiness, fatigue, irritability, depression, euphoria,
excessive yawning, and cravings for salty or sweet foods.Family
members who are acquainted with the migraine attacks in the family
member can often tell by the presence of these symptoms that a migraine
attack is coming.
After a migraine attack, often for 24 hours following, the migraine
sufferer feels drained of energy and continues feeling a lower-grade
headache and sound / light sensitivity.