What Are Migraines?

What Are Migraines?

Migraines are severe headaches that can last for hours or days. They often include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. Migraines can also cause mood changes, like depression.

What Are Migraines?

These symptoms vary in intensity and some people experience them only infrequently while others suffer from them all the time. People with chronic migraines usually experience more intense symptoms than those who only get the occasional migraine.

Types of migraine

The four main types of migraine are:

  • Simple,
  • Common
  • Complex
  • Basilar

Simple Migraine is the most common type that only affects the head.

Common Migraine is the second most common type that can affect other parts of the body such as the neck or abdomen.

Complex Migraine is a rarer form of migraine that can cause aura, sensory hallucinations and neurological disorders because it affects different areas of the brain.

Basilar is a rare disorder that can cause an individual to experience loss of balance and vertigo or brief periods of lightheadedness. It usually resolves on its own, but if it persists it could be due to one of three things:

  1. Trauma to the neck, such as whiplash.
  2. Trauma to the head, such as a fall or motor vehicle accident.


Migraine can be classified into two types. The first type is called migraine with aura, or classic migraine. This type is also more commonly diagnosed in women than men. The second type of migraine, called common migraine, does not have an associated aura and men are diagnosed at the same frequency as women.

Causes of migraine

Migraines are the most common type of headache, with an estimated 10 to 18% of people experiencing at least one migraine in their lives. Migraine pain is typically felt on only one side of the head and can be accompanied by:

  • Nausea
  • vomiting
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • A family history of migraines
  • Hormones
  • Smoking

Risk factors: What increases your risk of getting a migraine?

Migraine headaches are a complex neurological disease with both genetic and environmental risk factors. Migraine may be inherited from a parent, but can also be acquired through life experiences.

The risk for developing migraine is increased by the presence of other disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, and sleep disorders. A person’s diet may also play a role in the development of migraines.

Prevention and treatment: How can you prevent or treat a migraine?

Many people who suffer from migraines don’t know how they can prevent or treat them. According to Medline Plus, scientists are still unclear about the precise causes of migraines. Despite this, there are many ways that sufferers can try to prevent or treat their migraines.

Some of these include taking medication, avoiding triggers that may bring on headaches, making lifestyle changes like reducing stress and caffeine intake, and getting regular exercise.

Triggers of migraine

Many people assume that migraines are triggered by certain types of foods or beverages, seeing bright lights or loud noises, or hormonal changes. While these are common triggers, migraines can be set off by any number of different things. Almost anything can be a potential trigger- from the weather to stress. If you are looking for ways to protect yourself from migraine attacks, there are some basic things you can do to reduce your risk:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Avoid high-sugar foods
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Limit your caffeine intake
  • Identify and avoid your triggers
  • Take supplements

Prevention: How can you prevent a migraine from happening?

The number of people experiencing migraines is getting larger and larger with each passing year. In the US, approx. 28% of the population has experienced at least one migraine attack in their lifetime.

Unfortunately, even though we know that there are many triggers to a migraine attack such as stress, menopause, depression and the menstrual cycle, the only thing that we can do is try to prevent it by using medication and avoiding foods that trigger migraines.

When to see a doctor about migraine

Migraines are considered severe headaches that can affect anyone at any age but are more prevalent among adults. This neurological condition is usually diagnosed after a patient has had at least four episodes of migraine headaches in a single month.

It’s not uncommon for someone to experience warning signs before the onset of a migraine, such as numbness or tingling on one hand or side of the body.


Many people have experienced migraines at some point in their lives. They are caused by a change in the brain that interrupts the central nervous system. For most, these changes are small and never cause problems.

However, for some, they can be very severe resulting in debilitating pain and numbness. Unfortunately, there is no one cure-all for migraines and all treatments require trial and error to find what works best for each individual.

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