Migraine Headaches

Migraine refers to a recurrent severe headache.

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Migraine Headaches

These headaches are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and/or sensitivity to sound. Migraines tend to occur at intervals; there may be days, weeks or months between attacks. Attacks can last between 4 and 72 hours.

Migraines are different from tension headaches. Some people experience an ‘aura’ (visual disturbance) sometime before the headache and other symptoms begin. This was formerly known as a classical migraine. A migraine without an aura is a common migraine.

Migraine occurs more commonly in women than men and usually begins between the teens and the forties. In adolescents, the age group 30-40 is commonly affected. Migraine attacks in children usually start in the early to mid teens (puberty), but can start at any age. Boys tend to start getting migraine headaches at a younger age than girls.

The cause of migraine is unclear.

It is thought migraine may occur when there is a decrease then increase in blood flow to part of the brain, probably caused by blood vessels narrowing then opening again. The stretching of the blood vessel wall causes pain.

In addition to any blood vessel changes, it is thought that some chemicals in the brain increase in activity during a migraine. It seems that levels of serotonin, or 5HT (a chemical that is important to brain function and has an effect on the size of blood vessels) decrease at the onset of the headache but are normal in the periods of time between attacks.

If you get migraines, you may have a more sensitive pain centre in the brain than other people. This means that things like bright lights or when you are tired affect your pain centre more.

Get a checkup as soon as possible.


Other sources of information for these topics.

Migraine Headache
Health information discussing migraine, which is a very bad headache that tends to recur. With a migraine, you may feel nauseated and might vomit.

Migraine Headaches - neurologychannel
Migraine headaches can be a throbbing or pulsating headache that is often unilateral (one sided) and associated with nausea; vomiting; sensitivity to light, ...

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