Treatments for Migraine in Ayurveda
What is a migraine?
Migraine is a common kind of headache that affects around 15% of people worldwide. Women are more affected than men, and their symptoms usually begin in early adulthood but can occur at any age, including in children. But what exactly is a migraine? Migraines usually affect one side of the head and cause a throbbing or pulsing pain. Along with the headache, people also commonly experience increased sensitivity:
Each episode usually lasts anywhere between an hour to a few days, with symptoms typically easing after rest in a dark and quiet room.
Symptoms of migraine
There are lots of different types of migraine. So the symptoms are very different from person to person. These symptoms can occur in stages, although not all people experience all the stages. In the first stage, there may be a subtle change a day or two before the headache, such as mood changes, cravings, or yawning. In the next stage, some people will experience ‘auras’. These are temporary changes to vision, or odd sensations, that occur just before or during the headache. This is followed by the main headache stage, which we’ve already described. And lastly, a recovery stage, where people often still feel tired.
Causes of migraine
The cause of migraines are not yet very well understood. Recent studies indicate it has something to do with the blood vessels, nerves, and chemicals in the brain. Genetics might have a role since 90 percent of people with migraines report having family members who also suffer from these headaches. For people who suffer from migraines, certain triggers can lead episodes to occur. These include:
These triggers will vary from person to person. Apart from migraines, there are many other causes of headache, and some can be serious, so it is important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis. There is no specific test for diagnosing migraine, so doctors will ask about your symptoms. To aid in the diagnosis, it might help to keep a headache diary, by noting down: when they happen, what you are doing at the time, how long they last, and what other symptoms you experience.
So how is migraine treated? When a migraine occurs, sleeping or lying down in a dark and quiet room can help for the moment. And you can opt for ayurvedic treatments and medicines for the long-term eradication of your migraine.
Ayurvedic treatments for migraines
Ayurveda is emerging as a very safe and very effective way of treating migraines. The conventional way of treating migraines or giving pain relief meds comes with many side effects in the long term. Ayurveda considers migraine as a Vata-pitta disorder which is mainly related to digestion. Ayurvedic treatments are not only beneficial in reducing the pain or intensity of headaches in migraines. They are also beneficial in the long-term prevention of migraines. Ayurvedic treatments are not only focused around the pain and the headaches. But also, on the symptoms and triggers and the possible causes for the development of migraines.
Ayurvedic treatments for migraines consist of natural methods which are meant to promote the doshic balance of one's body. An ayurvedic doctor can help you decide on which methods are right for you. Your treatment plan may consist of any combinations of the following :
Kavala Graha or oil pulling is one of the practices highly recommended by Ayurveda due to its highly detoxifying effect on one’s body. Its health benefits can range from whiter teeth to immense relief from migraine headaches.
2.Shirolepa / Thalapothichil
This is found to be very effective for migraines. The treatment consists of applying special herbs mixed in the form of paste on the patient’s head.
Shirodhara is an ayurvedic therapy which has a good impact on the nervous system. The therapy consists of pouring a thin stream of medicinal oils over the forehead of the patient.
It is an effective therapy which consists of covering the outer area of the head using a leather cap. And medicated oil is poured and held for a certain time on the head with the help of the cap.
Sneha Nasya consists of applying medicated oils through nostrils like nasal drops. It helps especially in the treatment of pain above the shoulder area.
What we can do
Another way of managing migraines is to avoid the triggers that bring it on. If you keep a diary of migraine symptoms, patterns may emerge that help you identify what triggers to avoid. It can also help to maintain a generally healthy lifestyle, including regular sleep, exercise, and meals, and limiting caffeine and alcohol intake. Living with migraines can be difficult, as they can disrupt normal daily activities, and impact on work, family, and social life. But several treatments and strategies are available, so it is important to speak to your doctor if this is the case. Patient support groups are available where you can connect with others who are going through similar experiences. Over time, most people will gain a better understanding of their migraines and what works for them.
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