A migraine headache can cause intense throbbing or pulsing in one area of the head and is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
I get Some migraines are preceded or accompanied by sensory warning symptoms (aura), such as flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in your arm or leg.
Migraine is three times more common in women than in men. Some people can tell when they are about to have a migraine because they see flashing lights or zigzag lines or they temporarily lose their vision.
Many things can trigger a migraine. These include
- Lack of food or sleep
- Exposure to light
- Hormonal changes (in women)
The exact mechanism of the head pain which occurs during a migraine is unknown. Some evidence supports a primary role for central nervous system structures (such as the brainstem and diencephalon) while other data support the role peripheral activation (such as via the sensory nerves that surround blood vessels of the head and neck). The potential candidates vessels include: dural arteries, pial arteries and extracranial arteries such as those of the scalp.
The role of vasodilatation of the extracranial arteries, in particular, is believed to be significant. Doctors used to believe migraines were linked to the opening and narrowing of blood vessels in the head. Now they believe the cause is related to genes that control the activity of some brain cells. Medicines can help prevent migraine attacks or help relieve symptoms of attacks when they happen.
There are three main aspects of treatment: trigger avoidance, acute symptomatic control, and pharmacological prevention. Medications are more effective if used earlier in an attack. The frequent use of medications may result in medication overuse headache, in which the headaches become more severe and more frequent. This may occur with triptans, ergotamines, and analgesics, especially narcoticanalgesics.