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Migraine: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prevention and Side Effects


A migraine is a neurological medical condition which involves recurring and severe headaches. It can affect a person’s daily life in different ways, and its frequency, severity, and symptoms can vary from person to person. In a migraine headache, you feel a pulsing and throbbing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It is a headache but with varying intensities. It can cause multiple symptoms lasting for hours or days, like nausea, vomiting, numbness, and sensitivity to light. You can’t cure migraine, but you can prevent its symptoms by changing your lifestyle, taking medications, and following a few home remedies.


Migraine: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Prevention and Side Effects


What are the Symptoms of a Migraine?

People suffering from migraine go through 4 stages : 

A. Prodome

B. Aura

C. Attack

D. Post-Drome

Migraine affects children and adults as well, but not everyone has to go through all these 4 stages. Have a look below to learn about these stages.

A. Prodome

It is the initial stage of a migraine when you feel a subtle change one or two days before a migraine. It can be taken as a warning sign of an upcoming migraine. The signs include:

  • Increased urination

  • Food cravings

  • Mood changes

  • Neck stiffness

  • Frequent yawning

  • Constipation

B. Aura

In this stage, symptoms gradually build up but are reversible, usually lasting less than an hour. Aura symptoms include:

  • Temporary vision loss

  • Visual phenomena, bright spots, or flashes of light

  • Difficulty speaking

  • Weakness or numbness in the face

C. Attack

Migraine attacks might strike several times a month or occur rarely, varying from person to person. If left untreated, it can last for about 4-72 hours. During a migraine attack, you might experience the following:

  • Throbbing and pulsing sensation
  • Pain on one side or both sides of the head
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity towards sound and light

D. Post-drome

Migraine attack makes you feel drained out, confused, and all washed out for the whole day. Sudden head movement may increase your pain for a brief time, so avoid that.


What are the causes of Migraine?

The main cause of migraine is not fully known yet and is complicated. It’s unclear why the nerves in your blood vessels send signals to your brain indicating pain. These signals produce a particular inflammatory substance in the brain’s blood vessels and cause a migraine headache. Less or too much sleep and fluctuation in the levels of estrogen can cause migraine in women. Also, stress is one of the most common triggers that tend to cause migraines.


What are the Main Triggers of a migraine?

Common factors that trigger a migraine attack include:

  • Caffeine and Alcohol – Consuming caffeine or alcohol in excess can cause migraine. Migraine symptoms heighten after consuming caffeine or alcohol. But for some people, a cup of coffee helps with migraine symptoms.
  • Hormonal changes in women – Women are more likely to experience migraine symptoms than men. Around 75% of women experience migraine headaches during their menstrual period, also known as menstrual migraine. Due to a sudden drop in estrogen and progesterone levels, women’s hormone levels change, causing them severe headaches.
  • Emotional stress, depression, or anxiety – The biggest culprit of migraine is stress; it can be emotional or physical stress. In around 50-70% of people, a chemical substance is released when they worry about something, which is to fight the situation; as a response to this stress, a migraine attack strikes.
  • Sensitivity to preservatives in food or chemicals – Some food items contain preservatives that are likely to cause 30% migraine headaches.
  • Sensitivity towards the light – Flashy light from TV or computer can also trigger migraine in some cases. People also experience migraine headaches when they are in sunlight for too long.


Few other common triggers of migraine attacks are:

  • Missed a meal
  • Change in weather conditions
  • Overexertion
  • Dieting
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Daily use of pain-relieving medications


What is the Treatment for Migraine?    

No exact cure has been found for treating Migraine. Although, there are a few medications available that can lessen your symptoms. People can also opt for home remedies along with these medications to reduce the severity and frequency of migraine episodes.


Over the counter, medicines have been proven effective for some people with mild migraines. People with moderate to severe pain are prescribed prescription medications, such as:

Over-the-counter medications

Prescription medications

a) The Triptan class of drugs helps reverse the changes in the brain which happen during an episode.

b) Calcium channel and beta blocker helps treat high blood pressure.

c) Anti-depressant medications are prescribed to help with mood changes and helps improve a person’s mental health.

Other medications that work by decreasing the number of attacks and seizures and reducing pain during an attack include:


Consult your doctor regarding your migraine medications and avoid overusing them, as it can cause a rebound attack (migraine headache).

You can try few home remedies given below to reduce your migraine symptoms:

  • Avoid processed foods, pickled foods, certain cheeses, chocolates and foods with nitrates.
  • Apply lavender oil on your temples, it will reduce the severity and frequency of the attacks.
  • Try acupuncture, it will help you reduce the pain.
  • Include ginger in diet, it will ease nausea caused by migraine.
  • Start doing yoga , meditation which help you relax and promote overall health.


How is Migraine diagnosed?

A doctor will analyze your symptoms and may recommend a few tests to determine complex and severe conditions, such as:

  • Spinal Tap (Lumbar Puncture) It is done if there is suspicion of infection or bleeding in the brain.
  • Blood Tests – They detect problems in blood vessels or brain or spinal cord infections.
  • CT Scan – It's done to see images of the brain and check if there is any brain damage or bleeding that can cause headaches.
  • MRI – It shows detailed images of the brain and its blood vessels. It helps diagnose tumors, bleeding in the brain, strokes, and any neurological infections or other conditions.


Migraine Prevention Steps

You can follow the below-given steps to prevent or maybe reduce the number of episodes of Migraine:

  • Keep a diary to note down your triggers and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.
  • Get at least 7-9 hours of sound sleep.
  • Learn methods to control and reduce stress and, if needed, take counseling from a therapist.
  • Take medications only if prescribed by your doctor.
  • Eat nutritional food at regular intervals.
  • Do regular exercise.
  • Ask your doctor if hormone therapy is needed if your attacks are around your period.
  • Try using a nerve stimulation device like a transcutaneous nerve stimulator, which helps stimulate pain experienced during a Migraine.


What are the Risks Factors associated with Migraine?

Risk Factors that cause Migraine or are associated with Migraine are:

  • Family History – It can be a genetic-related migraine headache.
  • Age – Migraines usually peak around 30s, and severity decreases with age.
  • Sex – It's found that women experience migraine attacks 3 times more than men.
  • Hormonal changes – Women experience headaches during their menstrual cycle, and for some migraine, episodes increase during pregnancy.


Diet Plan for Migraine


  • Only eat fresh food
  • Include Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet
  • Stay hydrated
  • Track your food triggers
  • Maintain healthy body weight
  • Include banana, watermelon and few seeds and nuts which provide magnesium and fiber, naturally to the body.
  • Include herbal tea in your day as they are beneficial to treat headaches.


  • Rule out your healthy food triggers, try and avoid citrus fruits, beans and cultured dairy products
  • Avoid food with MSG
  • Reduce your caffeine intake
  • Eat regularly and don't skip meals
  • Avoid processed and pickled food items


If needed, ask your doctor to give you a proper diet plan to help reduce the pain associated with Migraine.


When To See Medical Advice

If you experience regular signs and symptoms mentioned above in this blog, it's time that you consult your healthcare provider. Confer treatment plans and ways to manage symptoms related to Migraine with your doctor. It's recommended to seek immediate medical advice if you have a severe headache, headache with fever, headache after a head injury, new headaches after 50 years of age, or chronic headache that worsens after coughing or sudden movements. 



You can help reduce migraine symptoms by understanding what exactly a Migraine is and discussing your problems with the doctor. Live your life happily without stress and eat a proper healthy diet that lessens your migraine headache pain. Along with medications available on our online pharmacy, you not only help yourself manage migraine symptoms but also save up to 80% on medication costs.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the complementary and alternative medicines?

    You can use Ribofavin medicine (vitamin) as an alternative and also try therapies like meditation, essential oils and acupuncture.

  • What is the difference between Migraine and Headache?

    Migraine are more severe, have a throbbing sensation, have common triggers but no one cause like headaches.

  • What are migraine home remedies?

    You should drink more water, try essential oils, soothe pain with cold compress, take magnesium and do yoga.

  • What are migraine attacks in pregnancy?

    Due to change in hormone levels, migraine attacks increase during first trimester of the pregnancy and are usually less in number in 2nd and 3rd trimester.

  • What is a migraine in children?

    Migraine in children is similar to that in adults and it happens to 7/10 children due to their parents. It can be caused in children due to school activities, bullying and family problems.

  • What are the devices for migraines?

    Try using a nerve stimulation device like a transcutaneous nerve stimulator, which helps stimulation pain experienced during a Migraine.


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