September 5 to 11 will be observed as Migraine Awareness Week. Experts stress that migraine is more than just a headache - it is a debilitating neurological disease. Despite being a very common headache disorder migraine affects roughly 15% of the adult population worldwide, it remains poorly understood and neglected. Here's all that you need to know about this disorder.

'Low awareness on this chronic neurological disorder'
Dr. A V Srinivasan, past president of Indian Academy of Neurology said, “Migraine is a chronic neurological disorder affecting over 1 billion people across the world. Migraine symptoms include long-lasting headaches, characterised by severe, throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of the head, light or sound sensitivity, and nausea or vomiting. There is, however, low awareness amongst the population about the severity of the disease and how it can impact the overall quality of life." Dr. Thomas Matthew, St. John’s Hospital, Bangalore obeserves, “Migraine forms one of the top 10 leading causes of years lived with disability, worldwide. Around the world, prevalence of migraine is approximately 10%. At our hospital, roughly 30% of patients come with headache symptoms. Of these patients, nearly half are migraineurs.

'Identify the triggers'
"While migraines don’t have a definitive cause, certain identified factors can trigger the condition. Triggers include stress, irregular sleep schedules, caffeine or alcohol consumption, dietary triggers such as chocolate, cheese and dairy products, hormone fluctuations and more. The condition significantly impacts the individual’s personal, professional and social life, creating an urgent need to diagnose and treat migraines promptly. Understanding personal migraine triggers can also guide lifestyle modifications to help prevent migraines. Going forward, an urgent need is to overcome the barriers to diagnosis and treatment to ensure more effective, patient-oriented migraine management. This should take into account various factors on a case-by-case basis, such as presence of comorbidities, frequency and severity of attacks, and more," says Dr Thomas Matthew.

Don't treat it as just a headache

"Often, migraine symptoms are neglected, with people attributing these to ‘just a headache.’ Sometimes, individuals may also relate migraine symptoms to other assumed causes, such as stress, acidity, eye problems, or menstruation. This can lead to delayed diagnosis. Frequent and lasting headaches can affect daily life; visiting a neurologist can help with early diagnosis and a suitable treatment plan. This can prevent the condition from progressing to a chronic migraine disorder or becoming more recurrent and severe," stresses Dr. A V Srinivasan.

Can yoga help in reducing migraine attacks?

Yoga practitioner Iti Jain suggests, "For migraine, we use asanas to relax the shoulders, neck and forehead. While increasing the blood flow towards the heart and head. So, childs pose, downward dog, seated and standing forward folds are a part of the yoga flow. Besides, practicing Bhramari pranayama regularly helps too. But, when you have a migraine attack, it is advisable to avoid yoga asanas or pranayama and rest. For people who have sinus and migraine can practice Jal neti. But do remember, every body is unique, we all have different issues. So, be careful when practicing yoga."

'Stressful surroundings pontent inducer migraine attacks'

"Stressful surroundings have often been attributed as a potent inducer of migraine attacks. Be it avoiding uncomfortable conversations, evading situations or any other minor incidence causing you major mental distress. These intense emotions can causes alteration in the chemicals secreted in the brain causing a direct or indirect effect on the nerves in the brain which leads to a debilitating headache. It is also important to identify the triggers for such attacks – any revisiting memories, places, an undealt childhood trauma, any physical aliment which may be causing you to be distressed. Althought treatment of migraine is often through a medicated course, one can make the journey easier by keeping their physical and mental health in check by indulging in breathing exercises like mediation, light physical activity, regulating one’s diet, journaling and reaching out to your loved ones case you are battling with certain emotions and most importantly try and laugh more, live more and love more, breaks down by mental health counselor and wellness coach Arouba Kabir.


  • Long-lasting headaches, characterised by severe, throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of the head
  • Light or sound sensitivity
  • Nausea or vomiting


Approximately one-third of migraine attacks occur on workdays and two-thirds of these attacks result in a substantial loss of productivity.

The 3 most frequently cited impacts of migraine on work include inability to concentrate on work, missing too many work days, and a lack of understanding amongst colleagues about their condition or not taking it seriously.

Source link