Migraine Headaches 101

Migraine headaches are a result of changes within the brain itself. It results in severe headache pain, often associated with sensitivity to smells, sounds, or exposure to light. I am not sure about you, but I seem to have the start of a migraine each morning when I get up.  Some days taking over the counter medicine helps, other days sometimes I have to just fight through it.  How about you?

Typical symptoms of migraine headaches include:

  • Severe pain (usually on one side of the head)
  • A “pounding” sensation in the head
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to sound or light
  • Eye pain

Not all headaches are migraine headaches as there are other causes of headaches that can present themselves with migraine-like headache pain.

For example, people with cluster headaches can present in ways that are similar to migraines. The cause of migraine headaches is unknown. Changes in the neurotransmitter levels in the brain are believed to be a part of the etiology behind headaches.

Causes of Migraine Headaches

There are no blood tests or imaging studies that can diagnose a migraine headache. The only way to make a proper diagnosis of migraine headaches is to look at the patient’s signs and symptoms. Common causes of headaches include eating certain foods, being exposed to loud noises and other strong sensory stimuli, stress, and hormonal changes in the body.

What Exactly Is A Migraine?

While some people call any a severe headache a “migraine headache,” migraine headaches are usually the result of certain physiological changes in the brain. These changes occur within the brain and lead to the characteristic symptoms associated with having a migraine headache.  

Migraine headaches are usually linked to light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, or odor sensitivity. Additionally, migraines are often associated with nausea and vomiting—things not seen in regular headaches.  

Migraine headaches are usually only on one side of the head but sometimes, they can be bilateral. Headache pain from a migraine headache is often described as “pounding” or “throbbing” and it can worsen with physical activity.  

Some people will have a warning sign (called an aura) that shows up just before the headache pain begins. An aura can involve numbness or weakness on one side of the body, a blind spot in the eye, or the presence of flickering lights in the field of vision. The aura often lasts several minutes, generally going away as the pain begins.  

Risk Factors For Migraines

Around a quarter of all people will experience a migraine headache at some time in their lives. Most people with migraines are women. After the teenage years, the ratio of women to men having migraine headaches is about 3 to 1.  

There seems to be a hereditary component to getting migraine headaches so that there is often a family history of migraine headaches in those people who go on to develop migraine headaches.  

According to the International Headache Society, migraine headaches are episodic in nature, unilateral, and represent a pulsating pain that is moderate to severe in intensity. It is made worse by physical exercise and is associated with nausea and vomiting.

Phonophobia is common in migraine headache sufferers. Some patients will have “phonophobia,” which is a sensitivity to sound. Migraine headaches usually last several hours but can last several days.

Treatment Of Migraine Headaches

Try including yoga in your daily routine. 

Medical/Prescription Treatment Options

The treatment of migraine headaches can include over the counter medications or prescription medications. The prescription medications often used to treat migraine pain include frovatriptan, almotriptan, naratriptan, zolmitriptan, rizatriptan, eletriptan, and sumatriptan—all members of the triptan classification of migraine headache relievers.  

Other non-medical ways to help migraine headaches include:

  • Taking preventative medications (to keep a migraine from happening)
  • Exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, or qi gong, which reduce stress and induce relaxation
  • Avoiding dietary triggers
  • Lifestyle modifications such as changing one’s exercise and diet regimen

Most people find that it takes a combination of medications and lifestyle changes to prevent and treat migraine headaches.  

Getting Help

If you believe that you are suffering from migraines, see your doctor right away, to further investigate the issues, and get the proper treatment.

Disclaimer: **Please note we are not doctors. Make sure you consult with a doctor if you suffer from repetitive migraines or severe headaches.

11 thoughts on “Migraine Headaches 101

  • April 2, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    I do have a diagnosis of Migraine headaches, but thankfully they are not severe and well controlled with Imitrix.

  • April 3, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    I have had migraines before. They are horrible. Thank goodness, they are not very often.

  • November 21, 2018 at 3:34 am

    I was recently diagnosed with eye migraines, it’s crazy scary. I am so grateful they cause no permanent damage, I have to keep reminding myself during an attack that it’s only temporary.

  • November 25, 2018 at 11:04 am

    I have had migraines before! They are terrible

  • November 26, 2018 at 11:18 am

    I’ve never had a migraine but my dear friend gets them. She really suffers and the medications make her feel worse. I will give her the last ni to this article…I’ve been trying to get her to go to yoga….not for migraines, just for flexibility… now there’s another reason! Thanks!

  • November 26, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    I suffer from migraines and it is so hard to figure out the tiggers so I can avoid them. Thanks for the information.

  • November 27, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    Thank you for all the migraine information! There is so much that I didn’t realize!

  • July 19, 2023 at 8:57 am

    Migraine headaches can be debilitating, causing severe pain and other symptoms. By Seeking professional help and researching various treatments is important.
    Visit here https://remodelingcontractorsusa.com/mlc MerlsLifeCabinetry Bathroom Remodeling Services in USA


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *