Health issues are uniquely serious and sensitive, some say it is contradicting, so much so when a cure looks like a problem and problems pose like cures. Have you ever heard something like ‘take these drugs, they help you sleep, but be careful, if it is too much, it would actually make sleep difficult?’ such is the circumstance that surrounds healthy living.
Thinking about things like this could be too much of the wrong stuff and eventually leading to discomfort in some part of the head; the discomfort one feels when one loses sleep or when one feels unnatural in a way that is associated to pain in a part of the head is called migraine.
Dr Tolulope Okedere, Medical Practitioner at Achievers’ University, Owo, Ondo State defined migraine as a complex disorder often characterised by recurrent episodes of headache, most often unilateral (one sided) and in some cases associated with visual or sensory symptoms. It is a very severe form of headache which often affects the quality of life of affected individuals.
Pains in one part of the body or the other looks like everybody’s business, in that, one way or the other, even people with less energetic activities have encountered some episodes of pains in time past. Migraine presents a different kind of pain because, one doesn’t have to hit one’s head on an object before one feels pain in the head.
It is important to mention that diseases generally are stressful conditions which can precipitate migraine in a patient. Experts revealed that migraine is often diagnosed from the patients’ history; it is also common among women. About 75 per cent of all cases occur in women. It also has some genetic component in which case, someone with family history of migraine may be more prone to it. What then could be attributed to migraine?
Dr Okedere explained that in terms of causes, no specific cause has been attributed. However, there are some risk factors that may precipitate migraine in at risk individuals, of which stress and sleeplessness top such list. When asked if sleeplessness causes migraine or vice versa, he answered: “Sleeplessness can precipitate migraine and a patient with it won’t be able to sleep. He further highlighted the signs and symptoms of migraine as: Throbbing or pulsatile headache, with moderate to severe pain that intensifies with movement or physical activity; unilateral and localised pain in the front temporal (front to side of the head) and ocular(eye) area, but the pain may be felt anywhere around the head or neck; pain builds up over a period of one to two hours, progressing posteriorly (backwards) and becoming diffuse; headache lasting four to 72 hours; nausea (80 per cent) and vomiting (50 per cent), including anorexia (poor appetite) and food intolerance, and light-headedness; sensitivity to light and sound. Some food items like caffeine and artificial sweetener like aspartame or saccharin can also precipitate migraine.
Unlike other pains, a simple dose of pain reliever may just be a very short time solution to migraine, especially when it is one that is associated with family history or genetics. Though migraine isn’t known to be capable of terminating life, experts have said a patient with chronic migraine could be so pushed to attempt suicide because of the frustration that comes with it. But then again, not all aches in the head could be said to be migraine.
According to International Headache Society, to ascertain that an ache is not as a result of migraine, diagnostic criteria are that the individual must have had: at least five headache attacks that lasted four to 72 hours (untreated or unsuccessfully treated) and that the headache must have had at least two of the following characteristics; unilateral location, pulsating quality, moderate or severe pain intensity, aggravation by or causing avoidance of routine physical activity (e.g., walking or climbing stairs).
In addition, during the headache, the patient must have had at least one of nausea and/or vomiting and photophobia (fear of light) and phonophobia (fear of sound) before a patient could be said to have migraine.
To steer clear of migraine, prevention proves to be a worthy consideration to treatment. The treatment could be disappointing because it is basically aimed at reducing the pains and discomfort rather than ensuring a permanent cure.