Migraine is an intense pulsating headache with moderate to severe pain level, usually accompanied by nausea and light sensitivity. Duration may be 4 hours or could last upto 3 days.


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Migraine is a strong headache that is frequently accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. These attacks usually last for about 4 hours, but can sometimes go up to 3 days.

A migraine is identified by the pulsating headache concentrated on one side of the head with a moderate-to-severe pain level, and aggravation of the pain when engaging in any physical activity. Nausea and a heightened sensitivity to light and sound are also common.


There are several lifestyle factors that can cause the migraine attacks. Some of them are:

  • Food allergies like sensitivity to oily, spicy or sour foods
  • Stress
  • Coffee or tea
  • Lack of exercise or too much exercise
  • Obesity
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain
  • Postural problems
  • Constriction or even dilation of blood vessels

Chronic migraine – migraine attacks that last for over 15 days of the month.

Menstrual migraine – attacks connected to the menstrual cycle and have to do with hormone changes.

Abdominal migraine – episodes linked to the irregular functioning of the stomach. It mainly occurs in children under 14 years of age.

Migraine with brainstem aura – also known as the basilar migraine, this is a rare type of migraine that can trigger severe neurological symptoms, such as affected speech. A common symptom is headache at the back of the head on both sides.

Headache starting at the time of sunrise – when pain in the eyes and eyebrow region, gradually increases in severity with the upward movement of the sun and slowly reduces by sunset, it is called Suryavarta. According to Ayurveda, the condition is caused when all three doshas (vatha, pitha and kapha) increase together. 

Migraine without aura – the most common type, the migraine comes on without any sensory disturbance or warning symptom.

“Aura” refers to the sensory changes that may be experienced before a migraine headache. For many people with migraine, their auras act as a warning of an impending episode.

Some common aura symptoms are:

  • Difficulty in thinking
  • Perception of strange, sparkling or flashing lights
  • Zigzagging lines in the visual field
  • Blind spots or blank patches in vision
  • Pins and needles in the limbs
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Stiffness in the shoulders, neck or limbs
  • Unpleasant smell
  • Loss of sensation

While it is reasonably easy to treat the symptoms, to cure migraines, the underlying cause has to be identified and treated. A thorough consultation with the doctor is necessary for this.

Ayurvedic treatment protocols for migraine include:

  • Oral medications
  • Medicated oil application on the head
  • Other external treatments, like shirodhara, thalapothichil and oil dhara, as necessary
  • Dietary modifications
  • Deep breathing exercises

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