Definition A common neurological syndrome, Migraine is characterized by altered bodily perceptions, severe pounding headaches, nausea and irritability. This pounding or pain usually begins in the forehead, the side of the head or around the eyes and gradually gets worse. Bright lights or loud noises can worsen the condition. The headache can last for two hours or even up to two or three days.
Causes Change in weather conditions, missing a meal, stress, alcohol and certain types of food items are considered to be common causative factors of Migraine. About 50% of women claim that their menstrual periods happen to be a significant trigger. Additionally, allergic reactions, exposure to loud noises or certain odors, smoking, or long exposures to computer screens/televisions could lead to Migraine attacks.
Nausea and vomiting
Depression or euphoria
Craving for certain food items
Stiff muscles (especially in the neck)
Constipation or diarrhoea
The traditional science of Ayurveda does not regard Migraine as a case of prolonged headaches. On the contrary, it considers this condition to be caused by deep-rooted problems, including a sensitive nervous system and impaired digestion.
Improper diet and lifestyle causes aggravation of Pitta (Ayurvedic humor representing Fire) in the body. In an aggravated state, Pitta impairs digestion, leading to production of digestive impurities (known as ama). This ama gets stored in the manovahi strotas (mind channels), thereby becoming the cause for pains in migraine.
A sensitive nervous system lowers the ojas (energy) in the body. Ojas is the essence of all body tissues and provides strength to the nervous system and body. If you have a strong nervous system, you are able to fight against problems and carry on with your work with a healthy mind. Lowering of ojas causes migraine-like problems.
Ayurvedic treatment of Migraine therefore is centered on the pacification of Pitta Dosha, and restoration of digestive function in the body. Nervine tonics are also recommended to enhance the ojas, relax the mind and give strength to the nervous system.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
Avoid hot, spicy foods, fermented foods, white sugar, white flour products, and sour or citrus fruits, because they aggravate the Pitta in your body.
Drink more water and eat more fiber, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains
Avoid excessive sugar or salt, refined foods, animal products (meats and dairy), caffeine, tea, and alcohol, as these items will further lead to aggravation of Pitta.
Avoid direct exposure to the sun, as migraine headaches are predominantly a Pitta disorder and can be triggered by the hot sun.
Head massage with Bhringraj Oil is also beneficial. This massage gives a calming effect to your nervous system.
Headaches caused due to tension and worry can be alleviated through deep breathing and relaxation, especially in a lying down position in a quiet place. Inverted postures, or those where the head is lowered briefly, increase oxygen to the brain and can reduce headache-causing strain.
Some Home Remedies
If there is a burning sensation, apply a paste of ground clay or sandalwood powder mixed with rose water.
When the headache is due to inflamed sinuses, inhale steam with vinegar added to the water.
Mix ¼ teaspoon of clove powder with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon oil. Apply this paste on the affected area for 20-30 minutes.
Ayurvedic treatment therapies, known as Panchakarma, are also effective in treating Migraine pains. Nasya (administration of herbal oils into the nostrils) and Shriodhara (head massage) are especially highly recommended to such patients. Both procedures are aimed at removing the cause of the headache and the pain.
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