How Ayurveda helps you to relieve Migraine Headache?

Migraine is an intense throbbing or pulsing  head ache commonly on one side of the head. Due to its severity and irritability now a days its recognized as a chronic illness, not simply a headache, affecting around one in every five  women and around  one in every 15 men. Migraine attacks may last for hours to days.  Pain gets severe and often drags the person to be in a dark quiet room .Disease is greatly affecting  the quality of life  by hampering the day to day activities (professional and social life). Hence the condition has to be noted on account seriously and treated well.

The term “Migraine” is derived from the greek word “hemicranias” meaning half of the head.

Migraine headache is caused by dilatation of blood vessels,and  that causes the release of chemicals from nerve fibers that coil around large arteries of the brain. These chemicals causes inflammation and pain.

Migraine attack commonly activates the sympathetic nervous system in the body and causes many of the symptoms associated with migraine attack.

Symptoms of migraine attack includes heightened sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, auras(loss of vision in one eyes), difficulty in speech and intense pain predominant on one side of the head.

  How Migraine trigger:

A migraine trigger can be any environmental or physiological factors that leads to develop headaches in individuals who are prone to develop headaches. Only a small portion of migraine sufferers usually identifies these. Examples of triggers  include: stress, sleep disturbances, fasting, hormone, bright or flickering lights, odors, cigarette smoke, alcohol, aged cheese, chocolate, monosodium glutamate, nitrates, aspartames, caffeine. For women, the decline in the blood level of estrogen during the onset of menstruation is a trigger for migraine headaches(menstrual migraine). The interval between exposure to a  trigger and the onset of headaches may vary from hours to days and person to person. Individuals who experience several moderate or severe migraine headaches per month or whose headaches do-not respond readily to medications should avoid triggers and consider lifestyle modification.

How Migraine is treated in Modern Medicine?

Treatment includes therapies that may or may not involve medications. Therapy that does not involve medications can provide symptomatic and preventive response. Treatment comprises of non-pharmacological treatment such as identification of triggers, medication, relaxation training, psychotherapy, and pharmacotherapy as abortive and preventive measures. Aspirin, Paracentamol, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, are non specific abortive therapy, where as Ergot, 5-H receptor agonists, Cal Triptans, Anti-convulsants are preventive therapy. Using ice and relaxation techniques are helpful in stopping an attack once started. Sleep is the best medicine if its possible.

Majority of the modern medicines employed are likely to suppress the symptoms.  A repeated and long term use of such drugs tends to cause serious side effects like memory loss, gastro-intestinal disorders, weight gain and almost ends up forming habits.

Treatment for Migraine in Ayurveda

According to ayurvedic science, Migraine can be correlated with Ardhavabhedaka.

Ardhavabhedaka is one among the diseases of head told by Acharyas, in which there will be severe pain in one half of the head, neck, eyebrows, forehead, ear and eye. Pain will be smiliar to that  produced by sharp objects like any instruments. The attack of Ardhavabhedaka occurs once in ten days, fifteen days or once in a month. As per Acharyas if it is left untreated it may lead to blindness and deafness.

Involvement  in causative factors such as suppression of natural urges, day sleep, night vigil, alcohol intake, loud noise, exposure to sun, excessive sexual indulgence, undesirable smell, injury, exposure  to dust, exposure to cold, smoke , change in food habits or locality etc  leads to the vitiation of tridosas(vata, pitta, kapha).  These vitiated dosas enters the nerves of head and then vitatiates the blood, get lodged there and thus causing half sided head ache.

Ayurveda Treatment for Migraine 

Ayurveda is with a variety of medications and treatment modalities(purification treatment and Alleviating treatment). Each of the treatment is very specific. Every person is treated with unique care accessing the dominant dosas and body constitution.

Primary treatment is avoiding the causative factors tats leads to the development of headache. Ardhavabhedaka is best treated with gritha(ghee), taila(oil), majja(bone marrow),vasa(muscle fat). Panchakarma treatments like shiro abhyanga(head massage), shirodhara(pouring of medicated liquids over the scalp and forehead), shiro vasti(retension of oil in head), virechana(purgation), dhoomapana(inhalation of medicated fumes), etc.

Nasya karma(medicated nasal drops) is one of the effective panchakarma therapy for the disease of head. As nasal openings  are considered as the root towards head, nasya is the best remedy and the migraine headaches can be cured permanently by following the strict schedule during the procedure for 7 days. Preparations like Kunkuma(saffron) paste mixed with sugar and fried with ghee can be used for nasya. There are also other varieties of medicated tailas and ghrithas like ksheera bala taila, Anu taila, Dhanvanthari taila, Shatbindu taila, kakolyadi ghritha etc.

Internal medications like Bhoonimbadi khada, Pathyadi khada, Shirashoola vajra rasa, Kamadugha rasa with moutika can be used in the treatment of migraine.

External applications like  Yastimadhu(Liquorice) mixed with ghee, applying sandalwood on forehead,  mixture of paste of black pepper, rice and  bringaraaja juice on the fore head does wonders on migraine headache.

Home Remedies for Migraine

  • Putting  an ice pack or frozen gel pack or a wash cloth rinsed in cold water over the forehead gives you better results.
  • Rest in quiet dark room.
  • Sleep well if possible. Aim for 7 to 8 hours each night.
  • Exercise and regular practice of yoga helps in reducing the number of attacks and its intensity.
  • Avoid the triggers.
  • Intake of Magnesium rich supplements also helps in prevention of migraine. Such as almonds, sesame seeds, peanut butter, egg, oatmeal, milk etc.
  • Apply peppermint oil.
  • Induce vomiting, if possible.  It can done easily by intake of few glasses of salt water. Many feels  relaxed and completely recovered after the elimination of stomach contents.
  • Intake ginger juice or application of ginger paste over the forehead is also an effective solution.

Unfortunately , migraine stigma does exist and people with migraine often feels isolated. The unpredictability of attack makes it difficult for people to participate in social functions, family events or fulfill work responsibilities. Migraine also impacts the ability in maintaining a career, relationships, and overall quality of life.

So it is important that migraine sufferers to consult the physician and stick to the treatment strictly for a better life.

Dr Irfan Poilan

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ABOUT Dr Abdurahman Poilan

Dr. Abdul Rahman Poilan has come from a long line of traditional Ayurveda vaidyas who passed on their knowledge through the generations has an experience of 28 years in the field of Ayurveda. Dr. Poilan is a reputed speaker on international level with invitations to more than 18 countries. He regularly conducts seminars and workshops on Ayurvedic massages and Panchakarma therapy.

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