Migraine in Ayurveda
Ayurveda for Migraine
Migraine is defined as a neurological condition that causes headaches which can be mild, moderate or severe in intensity. The pain in the facial region of the body is often persistent, lasting for an entire day or even longer displaying a characteristic throbbing, pulsating sensation on one side of the head.
Migraine headaches are very painful and can interfere with your daily life. They may come on suddenly without warning or be prompted by certain known triggers.
Causes of Migraine
Migraine causes may vary from person to person. A few general causes are:
- Genes: If someone in your family gets migraine headaches, you’re more likely to have them.
- Age: Migraine headaches can hit at any point in your life, but you’re more likely to get your first one in your teens. The headaches tend to peak in your 30s and become less severe later in life.
- Gender: Women are about three times more likely to get them than men.
A few factors can trigger migraine:
- Hormonal changes: Shifts in the hormone estrogen can bring on migraines in women. Medications like birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy can trigger headaches or make them worse.
- Emotional stress: This is one of the most common migraine triggers. When you’re stressed, your brain releases chemicals that set off your “fight or flight” response. Anxiety, worry, and fear can create even more tension and make a migraine worse.
- Foods: Salty, processed foods and aged cheeses like blue cheese are known triggers. The artificial sweetener aspartame and flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) may cause them, too.
- Skipping meals: If you miss a meal, your blood sugar could drop, triggering a headache.
- Alcohol and caffeine: Alcoholic drinks and drinks high in caffeine can be migraine triggers.
Symptoms for Migraine
Migraines progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome and every stage has different symptoms or signs. Not everyone who has migraines goes through all stages. Symptoms of migraine according to the stages are:
One or two days before a migraine, you might notice subtle changes that warn of an upcoming migraine, including:
- Mood changes, from depression to euphoria
- Food cravings
- Neck stiffness
- Increased thirst and urination
- Frequent yawning
For some people, aura might occur before or during migraines. Auras are reversible symptoms of the nervous system. They’re usually visual but can also include other disturbances. Symptoms of migraine aura include:
- Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
- Vision loss
- Pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg
- Weakness or numbness in the face or one side of the body
- Difficulty speaking
- Hearing noises or music
- Uncontrollable jerking or other movements
A migraine usually lasts from four to 72 hours if untreated. How often migraines occur varies from person to person. Migraines might occur rarely or strike several times a month. During a migraine, you might have:
- Pain usually on one side of your head, but often on both sides
- Pain that throbs or pulses
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and sometimes smell and touch
- Nausea and vomiting
After a migraine attack, you might feel drained, confused and washed out for up to a day. Some people report feeling elated. The sudden head movement might bring on the pain again briefly.
Symptoms for Migraine
- Loss of strength of limbs
- Dropping of eyelid and mouth deviation in case of facial paralysis
- Bowel and Bladder may be affected in severe cases.
- Impaired movement of hands and legs.
- Instability mental function.
- Speech may be affected (slurred speech)
- Vision blurriness or double vision.
- Numbness of limbs.
The Ayurvedic Explanation
In ayurveda, migraine is termed as “Ardhavabhedhaka” and is mainly caused due to an imbalance in the tridoshas, vata, pitta and kapha. This negatively influences the functioning of the nervous system, hampering memory, concentration and focus, in addition to diminishing eye health, irregular sleep cycles or insomnia and reduced productivity be it at work or home.
Ayurveda Treatment for Migraine
Ayurveda uses holistic treatments for curing migraine. Common treatment methods used are:
Panchakarma is one of the most famous treatment methods in Ayurveda. The process consists of five steps for the detoxification and rejuvenation of mind and body. This treatment contains herbal massages and cleansing enemas.
Applying stimulating oils like Bhringaraj, Til Taila on the Shira (head) and pressing down on the scalp in gentle, circular motions remarkably soothes the mind. This, in turn, boosts blood circulation to the central nervous system.
Swedana will help to open the pores in the body and helps to eliminate waste materials and increases absorption. This therapy also helps to reduce stiffness and increase range of movements.
The nose is the door to consciousness and the pathway to our inner pharmacy. Medications that are administered via the nasal passages affect the mind, prana vata, tarpaka kapha, sadhaka pitta, and majja dhatu.
Lifestyle and Diet Practices
Here are a few lifestyle and diet changes that can help you reduce the migraine attacks
- Avoid certain foods: You probably already know what they are: Alcohol, chocolate, aged cheeses, and other foods can trigger a tension headache or migraine. But if you know certain foods are a problem for you, limit how often you eat them.
- Healthy Meals: Basing your diet primarily on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats (and limiting foods that trigger an attack) is a good way to prevent migraines. Also, don’t skip meals. Skipping meals makes you hungry, which can trigger a migraine.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking not only hurts your lungs, but it can also increase your head pain and other symptoms.
- Sleep: Sleep helps keep your immune system strong, wards off depression and anxiety, and promotes deep relaxation. But stick to a regular sleep schedule. That means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Poor sleeping habits, a lack of sleep, or too much sleep can trigger a migraine or tension headache.
- Exercise: Exercising can help reduce symptoms of migraines and headaches. Incorporate aerobic, strengthening, and flexibility exercises into your routine.
Ayurveda treatment for migraine focuses on healing the problem from the root. At Krishnendu Ayurveda, we have a very systematic approach in treating migraine; we plan a customized treatment for each individual which is specific to their symptoms and needs.
“The Procedure like Shashtika shali pinda Sweda, Matra Basti, Shiro Basti, Sarvanga Abhyanga helps in nerve strengthening and increases blood circulation of the affected part, that helps to fasten and progress the movements”.