A migraine is usually an intense pounding headache that can last for hours or even days. The pounding or pulsing pain usually begins in the forehead, the side of the head, or around the eyes. The headache gradually gets worse. Just about any movement, activity, bright lights, or loud noises seem to make it hurt more. Nausea and vomiting are common during a migraine.
Migraines may happen only once or twice a year, or as often as daily. Women are more likely to have migraines than men.
There are different types of migraine headaches. The most common types of migraines are classic migraines and common migraines.
Classic migraines start with a warning sign, called an aura. These types of migraines are also called “migraines with aura.” The aura often involves changes in the way you see. You may see flashing lights, colors, a pattern of lines, or shadows. You may temporarily lose some of your vision, such as your side vision.
Symptoms of migraines
Possible symptoms of migraines include:
What causes migraines?
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes migraines. It appears that migraine headaches may be caused in part by changes in the level of a body chemical called serotonin. Serotonin plays many roles in the body, and it can have an effect on the blood vessels. When serotonin levels are high, blood vessels constrict (shrink). When serotonin levels fall, the blood vessels dilate (swell). This swelling can cause pain or other problems. Another aspect that is being studied is that migraine headaches go along with a spreading pattern of electrical activity in the brain.
What are some migraine risk factors and triggers?
Some things make you more likely to get migraine headaches (these are called “risk factors”). Other things may bring on a migraine (these are called “triggers”).
Common migraine risk factors include the following:
Common migraine triggers include the following:
How are migraines diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose migraines by the symptoms you describe. If the diagnosis is not clear, your doctor will perform a physical exam. Your doctor might want to do blood tests or imaging tests, such as an MRI or CAT scan of the brain. These tests can help ensure there are no other causes for the headache. You may also be asked to keep a “headache diary.” This can help your doctor identify the things that might cause your migraines.
There are 2 types of medicines for migraine treatments. One type, called “abortive,” focuses on stopping the headache from becoming severe and relieving the headache pain. You should start this type of treatment as soon as you think you’re getting a migraine. The other type, called “prophylactic or preventive” includes medicines that are taken every day to reduce how often headaches occur.
Talk to your doctor about which of these two types of medicine is best for you like Rizact, Sumitop, Topaz. Some people use both types. Nonprescription and prescription medicines that are used often or in large doses may cause other problems.