Migraine Headaches - Causes And Symptoms

By: Low Jeremy

Migraine is one of the most painful and debilitating conditions a person may suffer from and what is worse, there is not much you can do about it. Migraine headaches are often caused by the changes in the shape and size of the blood vessels that are found in the head. The blood vessels may expand or an inflammation may occur in the tissues that are found in that area.

Compared to the usual type of headache, the tension headache, which often occur on the entire head area, the pain in migraine headaches is more localized and much more specialized. It is however harder to predict when it will occur as migraine headaches do not present any warning signs. In fact, these types of headache will just happen when you least expect it to.

There are however kinds of migraines where some symptoms may be observed. One type is what is commonly called as the classic migraine headache where in the person suffering from it may see a hallucination called 'aura' before it actually occurs. Auras are visual hallucinations that resemble lights or zigzagging lines in the person's line of vision. The hallucination can last from about 15 minutes up to an hour. The duration vary from one case to another. There may also be pain in the areas surrounding the eyes, temporary blind spots and blurred vision.

As to what exactly causes this to happen in such an unsystematic way, no one knows yet. Ongoing researches about the underlying causes of migraines have not yielded much and debates are still going on. Some specialists believe that migraine headaches may be caused by the constriction in the blood vessel, particularly in the electronic changes in the vessels that are similar with what happens during seizures. Others feel that migraines are actually hereditary and people with history of migraines in the family will most likely suffer from the problem.

A migraine headache should not be confused with the common headache, which a person may suffer from every now and then. They are poles different from one another. The migraine headache, for instance can last from four to 72 hours while the common headache, or what is commonly referred to by medical practitioners as tension headaches, can last only for a few hours. Pain is also more localized with the migraine headache, often occurring on the sides of the head while tension headaches can encompass the entire head area. Another difference is the intensity of the pain.

Tension headaches are milder and duller in comparison while migraine headaches can be really severe, accompanied by pounding throbbing pain that only increases. Migraine headaches can also be accompanied by other physical problems such as sensitivity to light, sound and odors as well as nausea and vomiting.

Migraine does not announce itself in a set of early symptoms. The recurring headaches just happen, often catching the person by surprise. There is however one kind where in the person may see a visual hallucination, called an aura, before the actual migraine headache occurs. This kind is called the classic migraine headache.

Environmental and other physiological factors may also contribute in the occurrence of migraine headaches. One factor is stress-related. Over exertion and over fatigue especially in the eye area can cause severe migraine. Depression and anxiety are also factors that you should look into.

Other medical conditions that can start a migraine attack are colds, cough, influenza, and sinusitis. Food and diet may also play a role. Some experts believe that eating chocolates, drinking coffee and abusing alcoholic drinks may contribute in the attack. Sensorial triggers such as over bright lights, too much noise and strong odors may also trigger an attack.

The classic migraine headache is a lot different from what specialists call the common headaches, which occurs without any warning whatsoever. There is also the complicated migraines, which may be a manifestation of more serious medical problems in the nervous system. Often, this type migraine headache is accompanied by speech, movement and motor irregularities.

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