• Dr A A Mundewadi

Migraine – Modern (Allopathic) Versus Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Updated: Mar 16

Migraine is a medical condition that primarily affects women and can be debilitating in nature, with symptoms such as severe headache, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light, which can last anywhere from four to sixty -twelve o'clock. The onset is usually between the ages of ten and forty; it may be aggravated by menstruation and may - in a few affected individuals - improve or disappear by the age of fifty. It is estimated that nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from this disease, and it is thought to be more common than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined.

Migraine can be hereditary and triggered or made worse by certain foods, caffeine, weather changes, bright light, menstruation, fatigue, stress, and irregular sleep and meals. Although the exact mechanism of the disease is still unclear, the triggers are thought to stimulate the trigeminal nerve and cause increased swelling of the blood vessels that line the brain. This in turn releases neurotransmitters that cause pain and inflammation. Typically, this condition severely disrupts the quality of life of affected patients; in a few people, there may be additional eye and brain-related symptoms that may be severe enough to warrant hospitalization and intensive care.

Conservative migraine management includes over-the-counter pain relievers, drugs for nausea and vomiting, preventative drugs (medicines to control blood pressure, seizures, antidepressants, and CGRP inhibitors [which reduce pain nerve and inflammation]), biofeedback and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Avoiding known triggers, stress management, relaxation training, regular meal times and moderate exercise can also help reduce the severity and frequency of migraines. Apart from those with comorbid medical conditions, people with migraine usually have normal blood and imaging reports.

Ayurvedic management of migraine sufferers involves taking a detailed medical history; including severity and frequency of symptoms, triggers, diet and lifestyle. Lifestyle and dietary modifications are suggested. Ayurvedic herbal medicines are administered to relieve symptoms as well as to treat known causes, as determined by clinical history. Treating hyperacidity, indigestion, constipation, and stress go a long way in successfully treating migraine and preventing further episodes. It is important to treat inflammation of the cranial blood vessels to reduce the tendency for recurrent migraine attacks, as well as to treat an over-reactive nervous system. In addition to oral treatment, medicated nose drops are used to treat blood vessel inflammation and brain involvement, which can - in severe migraine sufferers - mimic symptoms of stroke, blindness and of glaucoma. Nose drops can be used both to relieve an acute attack and to prevent migraine. Regular courses of medicated enemas are used to treat an over-reactive nervous system. A special treatment modality known as Shirobasti is used to treat severe forms of stress that can cause recurrent migraine attacks.

Refractory patients who do not respond well to simple oral treatment receive Panchkarma detoxification treatments in the form of periodic bloodletting and induced purgations. The response to treatment varies considerably from patient to patient; some people with severe, long-standing symptoms respond dramatically to just one short course of treatment, while others with milder symptoms may require prolonged treatment with more drugs, also at higher doses.

Migraine is a chronic disease that significantly affects the quality of life of sufferers, and constitutes a public health problem with serious health and economic consequences. Although modern medicine can reduce the severity and frequency of migraine episodes, it currently offers no cure. Ayurvedic herbal treatment can help bring significant improvement to migraine patients and can provide cure for those most affected.

Migraine, Ayurvedic treatment, medicinal plants.

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