What is migraine?

What is migraine?

Migraine is a chronic, paroxysmal, neurovascular disease that starts at any age, the earliest it can start is in elementary school, but it usually starts in early adulthood and decreases in frequency later in life. They disappear later in life, but can strike at any time.

Migraine is a chronic disorder characterized by recurrent, disabling headache that is mostly seen in the autonomic nervous system and is associated with several symptoms such as disability and loss of performance. The hemicranial and throbbing aspect of migraine is the most characteristic feature that distinguishes it from other headaches.

What are the symptoms of migraine?

Migraines are of moderate to severe intensity, often characterized by a throbbing or pounding sensation. Although they are often unilateral, they can occur anywhere or all over the head, neck and face. In the worst case, they are often associated with sensitivity to light, noise and odors. Nausea is one of their most common symptoms and worsens with activity.

What makes migraine pain difficult to diagnose is that it can be confused with other health problems depending on the location. It can be felt in the face and mistaken for sinus pain, or in the neck and mistaken for arthritis or muscle spasms.

Two clinical symptoms of migraine have been described: with and without aura. Migraine pain may be preceded by transient neurologic symptoms, called aura, which progress slowly and typically resolve when the pain starts. Sensitivity to light and sound is present in both types and it is typical for the pain to intensify with head movement. Both types are preceded by vague excitatory changes in mood and appetite.

Migraines with aura often initially involve visual disturbances (flashing lights, zigzags, blind spots), while many people experience sensory disturbance, drowsiness, confusion, difficulty speaking, dizziness and other stroke-like neurological symptoms. Afterwards, there is headache, nausea and sometimes vomiting, and the headache may last for several hours or up to 1-2 days. Migraine without aura is characterized by a sudden onset of headache accompanied by nausea or vomiting that develops over a period of minutes or longer, then follows the same transient pattern as migraine with aura.

What triggers migraine?

Here are things that can increase the likelihood of headaches occurring:


Weather changes,

Lack of sleep

Changes to the program,



Specific foods,

Strong fragrances,

Grinding teeth at night,


How is migraine treated?

Migraine treatment includes non-drug preventive methods and treatment of attacks with drugs.

Migraines are usually treated preventively with a combination of dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, vitamins and daily prescription medications.

Many of these medicines are often also used for other medical purposes; the majority are blood pressure medicines, antidepressants or epilepsy medicines.

Headache attacks are usually treated with one or more of the following types of medication triptans, ergotamine, painkillers, nausea medications and neuroleptics.

Migraines typically last from a few hours to several days and respond positively to certain treatments. If treated incorrectly or left untreated, intermittent migraines can develop into essentially chronic daily headaches, with symptoms that are persistent and detrimental to one's living pattern, periodically developing into a "full-blown" migraine. This condition is extremely difficult to treat.

Migraines are considered primary headaches, meaning they have no known underlying cause. However, migraines are associated with an increased risk of stroke, brain scarring as seen on MRI scans, a heart defect called patent foramen ovale (PFO) and other medical conditions.

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