What Is A Migraine Headache?

By: Jeff Wilson

A migraine is different from a regular headache. A migraine is usually very severe, with pain on only one side of the head. It is often accompanied by extreme sensitivity to light and nausea and vomiting. Migraines are a recurring condition. Some people may have one several times a month, while some may only have one or two a year. But when a migraine happens, it can be disabling.

It is estimated that 1 in 100 people suffer from migraines. Research on migraines in the past focused on changes in the blood vessels in the brain. However, new research is being done that points to changes in the brain itself. Scientists believe that the cause of a migraine involves a complex mix of chemical changes in the brain with various nerve pathways. They are still not sure what the exact chain of events are that cause a migraine, but believe that it can be triggered by such things as stress, environmental factors, or certain foods.

There are two types of migraines. There are those with auras or those without auras. Most people will have migraines without the auras. This is called the common migraine.

If you have migraines with auras you will see flashes of light, blind spots in your vision, zigzag lines in your vision and sometimes have tingling sensations in your arms or leg. These auras usually start about 15 to 30 minutes before the migraine start and serve as a good warning sign. On occasion, the aura can last throughout the duration of the migraine.

If you have migraine headaches, you probably know what helps the pain. Everyone is different when it comes to pain relief. Some people just want to lie down in a dark, quiet, room and sleep it off. Others will take medication developed especially for migraine headaches. It is important to note, that if you suffer from migraines and haven't been to the doctor for treatment of them lately, it may be a good idea to see your doctor. There are a lot of new medications available for migraines now that weren't available ten years ago.

Children can have migraines, too. Their migraines may have started in adolescence or early adulthood. There have been incidences of migraines in children as young as 1. The good news is, migraines in children don't last as long and they typically grow out of them. With children the migraine will usually cause pain on both sides of the head. Children can also have nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound, but have no headache pain. This type of migraine is especially difficult to diagnose and can be very frightening for the parents.

If you have migraines talk to your doctor about treatment. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Try to get adequate rest and reduce the stress in your life, if possible. Don't let the thought of having another migraine headache interrupt your life.

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