Migraine can be defined as a paroxysmal affection (having a sudden onset) accompanied by severe headache, generally on one side of the head and associated with disorders of the digestion, the liver and the vision. It usually occurs when a person is under great mental tension or has suddenly got over that state.
Migraine is also known as “sick headache” because nausea and vomiting occasionally accompany the excruciating pain which lasts for as long as three days. Migraine usually gives warning before it strikes : black spots or a brilliant zigzag line appears before the eyes, or the patient has blurring of vision or has part of his vision blanked out.
When the headache occurs, the patient may feel tingling, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg. Migraine sufferers are compulsive workers and perfectionists who feel that they have to do everything right away. When they complete a task, they are suddenly laid down from a state of temporary tension to a feeling of utmost relief. Then the attack of migraine is initiated.
It is a purely physiological process. The head and neck muscles, reacting to continuous stress, become overworked. The tightened muscles squeeze the arteries and reduce blood flow. When a person relaxes suddenly, the constricted muscles expand, stretching the walls of the blood-vessel. With every heart beat, the blood being pushed through these vessels expands them further and causes incredible pain.
In Ayurveda migraine headache is known as Anantavata or Ardhavbhedak meaning ‘one-sided headache’. Irregularities in diet, inappropriate food combinations, Vata Vardhak Ahaar (a diet that aggravates Vata and Pitta), stress and lack of sound sleep are the causative factors of migraine.
Ayurveda View Of Migraine Headache
According to Ayurveda Migraine is Tridoshaj Vyadhi and among Tridosha Vata and Pitta are predominant factors. Vata controls the nervous system and the activities of the brain. An imbalance in Vata triggers the disease so here we can consider all the Vata prakopak (aggravating) ahaar (diet) and vihar (lifestyle) like sleeplessness, stress, extreme cool condition, irregular food habits, etc. Pitta is also considered one of the causes of migraine so Pitta aggravated diet like spicy food, junk food, beverages, stress are also important causes of migraine.
As per Ayurveda if migraine is dominated with Vata dosha patient may have dryness of skin and the pain is very acute.
If it is dominated by Pitta the patient may feel redness and burning sensation in the eyes.
If it is dominated by Kapha than the patient may experience fatigue, depression and headache with a dull throbbing pain.
Management of Migraine in Ayurveda
A healthy diet to manage migraine headache includes: fruits, vegetables, boiled vegetable soup, cooked rice and buttermilk. A high fruit based diet can control the pain quickly. Consuming cooked food without oil is preferable.
Yoga and meditation are extremely useful in pain condition under expert yoga consultant.
Nasyam treatment is very effective in the management of migraine. Shirodhara is also one of the useful associated Panchakarma procedures for migraine.
Virechan and Basti (Anuloman Basti) are also very useful Ayurveda Panchakarma treatments found to be very effective. These should only be done under the observation of a qualified Ayurveda Panchakarma physician.
Some Herbs are also very effective but should also only be taken with the advice of a qualified Ayurveda Physician.