Migraine is a common condition affecting nearly every one in five women, and one in fifteen men. The headache is one of the worst pain people can experience, with a feature of throbbing constant pain focusing on one side of the head, lasting anywhere between two hours to three days. Some other symptoms, such as nausea and dizziness, are common. When it attack, most patients could not bear it and are restrained into bed.
Some migraine attacks also come together with vision disturbance, showing flash light or aura. Most patients are very sensitive to light and noise when migraine attacks.
The frequency of migraine attacks varies. Some experience it two time a week, while others once a month. Many trigger factors could lead the attack. Commonly found factors are stress, poor body position, menstruation, depletion of tea/coffee, and cheese.
The condition is not classified as a disease yet as the nature of it is still unclear. Two theories are most quoted as vascular theory which emphasis the pressure change in the blood vessels in the brain, and the neurological theory thought the temporary changes in the chemicals in the brain is to blame.
Painkillers are commonly used. Some of them are very strong, such as Triptans which cause some changes in brain to stop the pain. However, side effects are common.
Headache is a much common type of headache, and most of them are tension headache. It is branded as everyday headache. Headaches normally won’t be severe enough to prevent you doing everyday activities and are not the concern of medical practitioners. Over-counter painkillers, like aspiring and paracetarmol are suggested.
There is clear cut between the sever case of tension type headache and migraine, because there is no easy and clear differential diagnosis method to be used.
Acupuncture is used in many countries for migraine prophylaxis – that is, to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.
According to Linde at al (2009) a systematic review included 22 trials which investigated whether acupuncture is effective in the management of migraine. It was found that those patients who received acupuncture had fewer headaches. In the four trials in which acupuncture was compared to a proven drug treatment, patients receiving acupuncture tended to report more improvement and fewer side effects. Collectively, the studies suggest that migraine patients benefit from acupuncture. Other studies also suggest that acupuncture reduced both the frequency of headache and the severity and length of the pain experienced when migraine attack.
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Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR (2009) Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis (Review) Cochrane Database Systematic Review. Issue 4.