Migraine


Migraine is a specific type of headache with pain that can last anywhere from 4 hours up to 3 days.

Pain is usually moderately to severely intense, throbbing or pulsating, and often occurring on 1 side of the head. It can be accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. And can become aggravated (get worse) by routine physical activity (e.g., walking or climbing stairs). Changes in vision or hearing, called aura, may be present and come just before or just as the migraine begins. Depression,irritablity or excitement  are genetically linked to migraine. Studies have shown an association between lack of restorative sleep and the frequency and intensity of migraines. Some people with migraines have sinus symptoms, such as stuffy nose, clear nasal drainage. One large study found that, among people who complained of sinus headaches, nearly 90% were having migraines. Before a migraine attack occurs, some people crave certain foods. A common craving is chocolate. Pulsating pain is a classic sign of migraines. The throbbing is often felt on one side of the head. Migraine pain often burrows behind the eye. People will blame it on eye strain and many will get their eyes checked, but that won't make their headaches any better. In an online survey, the National Headache Foundation found 38% of migraine patients "always" have neck pain and 31% "frequently" have neck pain during migraine headaches. Frequent urination ; If you have to go a lot, it can mean a migraine is coming. It's one of the many symptoms people experience just before a migraine. These warning signs, also known as the prodome phase of a migraine, can arrive as little as an hour or as much as two days before the start of headache pain. Yawning a lot is another tip-off that a migraine is about to strike. Unlike regular "I'm tired" yawning, it may be excessive and occur every few minutes. In one 2006 study in the journal Cephalalgia, about 36% of migraine patients reported yawning was one of the signs of an impending migraine. Some people with migraines have sensory aura. They may have a temporary lack of sensation or a pins-and-needles feeling, typically on one side of the body, moving from the fingertips through the arm and across the face. According to data from the American Migraine Study II, a mail survey of more than 3,700 people with migraines, 73% experience nausea and 29% have vomiting.
A recent analysis of the National Headache Foundation's American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention study found people with frequent migraine-related nausea have more severe pain and more trouble getting relief from medication than migraine sufferers with little or no nausea. In the throes of a migraine attack, the migraine sufferer tends to seek refuge in a dark, quiet place. Bright lights and loud noises can trigger a migraine or intensify the pain. The same is true of certain odors.
Once you've already got a migraine, smells can seem more intense and make it worse . But a smell can also trigger a migraine in someone who didn't have one before. Routine activities such as walking or climbing stairs can make migraine pain worse. Some migraines are induced by exercise (running, weight-lifting) or exertion (sexual activity). People with exertion-induced headaches require a thorough workup to rule out underlying causes, such as a brain aneurysm. Can't get the words out? Speech difficulties can be another sign that a migraine is on its way.  A lot of people with migraines will feel like they're blithering. It's a common description by patients. If you are experiencing speech problems for the first time, contact a doctor to make sure the problems are not related to a more serious issue, such as a stroke. When an arm goes limp, it can be a sign of a migraine. Some people experience muscle weakness on one side of the body before a migraine attack. This can also be a sign of a stroke, however, so consult a doctor to rule out any other causes. One type of migraine, called a basilar-type migraine, can cause dizziness, double vision, or loss of vision. Some people with migraines may experience balance problems too. 


Migraine is a complex disorder involving the brain and the blood vessels around the brain and head. The brain may become hyperactive in response to certain environmental triggers, such as light or smells, for reasons that are not known. This starts a series of chemical changes that irritate the pain sensing nerves around the head and cause blood vessels to expand and leak chemicals which further irritate the nerves.

While migraine does seem to run in families, a clear genetic cause has only been nailed down for one rare type of the disease called familial hemiplegic migraine.


The number one trigger is hormonal changes. Two-thirds of women sufferers only get their headaches around the time of their period. Migraines in women are usually worse around puberty and they tend to disappear around menopause.

Another common migraine trigger involves food. The most common culprits are:

1) alcohol, especially red wine and beer
2) tobacco
3) aged cheeses
4) chocolate
5) fermented, pickled, or marinated foods
6) monosodium glutamate (MSG)
7) aspartame
8) caffeine

Other triggers include: stress,hunger, changes in sleeping patterns, changes in barometric pressure

Migraine headaches should not be confused with rebound headaches. Rebound headaches can strike anyone who uses ASA* (acetylsalicylic acid) or other simple pain medications (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) for headache pain on more than 15 days a month. They can also occur for people who use narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine), medications containing more than one pain reliever, or "triptan" medications (e.g., almotriptan, rizatripan, sumatriptan) on more than 10 days a month. Sometimes these rebound headaches are called medication-induced headaches. The medicine works for a little while, but as it wears off, the pain comes back with a vengeance. If you turn to pain medications for relief, the vicious cycle often continues. The end result is a constant dull headache, affecting both sides of the head. It tends to worsen each time the pain medication wears off. If you think you might have rebound headaches, talk to your doctor about the best way to manage them.

A long-term study suggested that women with migraine have a higher risk of stroke. Migraine generally affects young people, and stroke is rare in this population. The relationship between migraine and stroke is still unclear and further studies are needed.


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