Migraine is one of the most common primary headaches. It is a condition characterized by excruciating headache attacks, which often do not respond to conventional painkillers and last for an average of 4 to even 72 hours. Migraine attacks can affect anyone, more often women and young people. Migraines affect an average of 13% of the world's population, with 4-12% of children suffering from migraines.
During a migraine attack, four phases are distinguished: precursors, aura, headaches and residual phenomena.
Before the attack of the migraine there could be several symptoms, for example, mood swings, drowsiness, palpitations, depression and other. The next phase – aura – is experienced by one third of all migraine sufferers. Aura is characterized by peculiar sensations from 2 to 60 minutes before a migraine such as visual, sensory or speech problems.
The last phase of migraine is a residual phenomenon that occurs after a migraine attack, lasts an average of one hour and manifests as weakness, increased irritability and sensitivity, drowsiness or apathy, and decreased ability to concentrate.
The understanding of migraine's nature has changed significantly over the years with migraine being a disease associated with many physiological aspects, including the central nervous system, neurotransmitters, and other chemical compounds in the brain. Migraine is thought to be a neurovascular disease that affects both the vascular and nervous systems.
Using the latest technology, it has been discovered that activity increases in certain areas of the brain during migraine attacks. It has also been found that there is a decrease of gray matter in those parts of brain that are responsible for pain for people with migraine attacks.
There is a relatively high chance of inheriting a migraine. Studies show that there are families with a specific combination of genes that are migratory attacks, but migraine inheritance can vary from generation to generation. Genes representing rare forms of migraine have been identified, while genes responsible for more common forms of migraine - have not.
The main nerves responsible for headaches are the trigeminal nerve and the occipital nerve. The first branch of the trigeminal nerve goes to the forehead and eyebrow area. From the branch moving to the upper jaw and lower jaw, a small branch goes up to the temples. In the back of the head the pain is related to the nerves in the neck. These are also the places where headaches are localized. And it is being studied how, by involving these nerve branches, the process that takes place in the substance of the brain that causes headaches. A practise for treating headaches involves stimulating the trigeminal nerve branches.
Undeniable causes of migraines can be found in the lifestyle chosen by individuals. The progressiveness or even the onset of a migraine is the same as our minds, emotions and overall interactions with the environment. People with migraines are more emotional, more sensitive to irritation, stress, addictive substances, and sleep changes. The electrical activity in their brains is a little different.
There are also commonly observed triggers or triggers for migraine attacks that should be assessed individually to reduce the occurrence or intensity of migraine attacks:
malnutrition or infrequent/missing meals
specific foods (more often those containing caffeine, tyramine, alcohol, monosodium glutamate)
sleeping disorders (too much or too little sleep, disrupted sleep, for example due to work shift schedules)
hormonal factors (menstruation, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, menopause)
excessive effort - both physical and mental
surges of excessive emotions (such as tantrums or sadness)
ambient conditions (loud noises, bright/flashing lights, strong odors, choked air, etc.)
changes in weather conditions.
However, how a person perceives and lives with his or her illness is important. In most cases, migraines accompany people throughout their lives, but with a well-chosen regimen developed in collaboration with and adherence to specialists, migraines can be made significantly less frequent or less intense.