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What are Migraines?

A migraine is a headache that can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.

Mayo Clinic Explains Migraine

Migraine Symptoms

Migraines, which affect children and teenagers as well as adults, can progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome. Not everyone who has migraines goes through all stages.

For 1-2 days before a migraine:

  • Constipation

  • Mood changes, from depression to euphoria

  • Food cravings

  • Neck stiffness

  • Increased urination

  • Fluid retention

  • Frequent yawning

Migraine Fast Facts

  • Migraine headaches last for hours or days, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

  • More than 90 percent of migraine sufferers miss work or can't function normally during an attack.

  • 75% of migraine sufferers are women, which may be related to hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy.

  • 2-3 million people suffer from chronic migraine, defined as migraines that occur at least 15 days per month for 3 months.

  • Chronic migraines reduce quality of life, including increased depression, anxiety and pain medication overuse.

Migraine Treatment

Migraine treatment is aimed at stopping symptoms and preventing future attacks.

Many medications have been designed to treat migraines. Medications used to combat migraines fall into two broad categories:

  • Pain-relieving medications. Also known as acute or abortive treatment, these types of drugs are taken during migraine attacks and are designed to stop symptoms.

  • Preventive medications. These types of drugs are taken regularly, often daily, to reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.

Your treatment choices depend on the frequency and severity of your headaches, whether you have nausea and vomiting with your headaches, how disabling your headaches are, and other medical conditions you have.


Migraine Overview (National Library of Medicine)

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