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Key Information About Migraine

Updated on August 13, 2021
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Srikanth is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life.


Migraine is characterized by severe, continuous pain in the head, often with vomiting and difficulty in seeing.

Harvard Medical School defines it as: "Migraine is a very common, but very particular, type of headache. Most people who have migraines experience repeated attacks of headaches that occur over many years. The typical migraine headache is throbbing or pulsating and often is associated with nausea and changes in vision. While many migraine headaches are severe, not all severe headaches are migraines, and some episodes can be quite mild."

Half to three quarters of adults aged 18–65 years in the world had headache in the year 2015. Among those individuals, 30 percent or more reported migraine.



Key lifestyle factors that can impact migraine are sleep routines, exercise, diet, hydration, and stress.

Migraine headaches may be caused in part by changes in the level of a body chemical called serotonin.

One aspect of migraine pain theory explains that migraine pain happens due to waves of activity by groups of excitable brain cells.

Other triggers of this disorder are alcohol, allergic reactions, foods like fermented foods, dairy products, citrus fruit, avocado, bananas, foods that contain MSG, nitrates or tyramine, hormonal fluctuations associated with menopause, birth control and menstrual cycles, loud noise, sweet treats, bright light and strong smells, and smoking,

“Migraines are an inherited headache disorder,” said Dr. Kathleen Digre, who specializes in headaches and neuro-ophthalmology at the John A. Moran Eye Center.

Many people with migraine avoid chocolate at all times because they are worried it may trigger the painful condition, however this is not always the case.

— Migraine Association of Ireland

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Throbbing headache, sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, vomiting and lethargy are some common symptoms of migraine.

I had never experienced anything like it before. It suddenly felt like I had what I call kaleidoscope eyes. And then a pounding headache started with nausea. I also began to feel a sort of brain freeze that wouldn’t end.

— Kristin Dawn Chenoweth, American actress and singer


Migraine is a complicated disease to treat because nobody fully understands what is happening when an individual has a migraine attack.

OTC medicines are effective for some people with mild to moderate migraines. The main ingredients in pain-relieving medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen, and caffeine.

Oral medications are more effective when taken early in the attack. Non-oral administration routes (e.g. anal suppositories, where the tablet is inserted into the rectum) may be more appropriate if treatment is administered during an acute attack.

RELAXaHEAD, a smartphone-based relaxation app may help reduce the frequency of headaches in people suffering from migraine.

Findings of a research study, published in Neurotherapeutics, provide preliminary evidence that psilocybin could provide long-lasting therapeutic benefits to migraine sufferers.

Migraine is extremely important to employers because if you think about migraine headaches, they effect people basically between age 25 and 55–prime age group for workers. Eighteen percent are women, about 6% are men, and it has significant impacts on on-the-job productivity, or so-called presenteeism, as well as direct costs, [like] medical costs [and] pharmacy costs. So, it’s an exceedingly important medical condition for employers.

— Wayne Burton, MD, former global corporate medical director for American Express


Many treament options are available for migraine prevention. Developing customized treatment strategies for patients is essential.

The FDA has approved several drugs for migraine prevention, including divalproex sodium, topiramate, propranolol, timolol, and methysergide.

A course of acupuncture consisting of at least six treatment sessions can be a valuable option for people with migraine.

Yoga is a good way to ensure that you stay healthy and can prevent problems like migraine headaches.

Yoga releases endorphins in the body, which reduce pain. It also helps to manage stress better, which reduces triggers for migraine.

Ensure that you sleep well. Lack of sleep can trigger migraines. Follow a proper schedule; go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Make sure you sleep for at least seven hours a day.

Expert Says

'Lifestyle risk factors trigger migraines. Keeping a migraine diary can help you find out what your triggers are, it can be light, sound, food, or environmental triggers like sunlight, pollution, humidity, or even your hormones.

Even after avoiding all this, if you still have a migraine, you need medicines to control it. If there is difficulty in controlling then you go on to the next level of tests and other interventions," says Dr Sivarajan Thandeswaran, senior consultant; Stroke & Neurovascular Medicine.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Srikanth R


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    • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

      Srikanth R 

      2 years ago

      Thank you for your valuable input. This is something that people can work on.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 years ago from UK

      Migraines are a debilitating condition. I found improving office lighting helped.


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