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Migraine

Migraine headaches are usually characterized by severe pain on one or both sides of the head, an upset stomach, and, at times, disturbed vision.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

About Migraine

A migraine is not the same as a normal headache. Most people have headaches from time to time. These are usually tension headaches. Migraines, though, are sudden and strong, pounding headaches on one side of the head. They can greatly affect everyday life. Some people only have occasional migraines, but others have them every month for several days at a time.

Symptoms

Migraines are typically moderate to severe headaches that only affect one side of the head. They usually come on very suddenly and are described as throbbing or pounding headaches. The pain is often made worse by physical activity or even just a little movement. If left untreated, migraines last between four hours and three days, and may be associated with nausea and vomiting. Some people become extremely sensitive to sound and light during migraine attacks.

Before their actual migraine symptoms become noticeable, some people see flashing lights and strange shapes, or their vision is distorted. For example, they might see everything as a blur or through wavy lines... Read more about Migraine

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Headaches: Diagnosis and Management of Headaches in Young People and Adults [Internet]

Many non-specialist healthcare professionals can find the diagnosis of headache difficult, and both people with headache and their healthcare professionals can be concerned about possible serious underlying causes. This leads to variability in care and may mean that people with headaches are not always offered the most appropriate treatments. People with headache alone are unlikely to have a serious underlying disease. Comparisons between people with headache referred to secondary care and those treated in primary care show that they do not differ in terms of headache impact or disability.

Migraine in Children: Preventive Pharmacologic Treatments [Internet]

To assess the comparative effectiveness and safety of preventive pharmacologic treatments for community-dwelling children with episodic or chronic migraine.

Medicines to prevent vestibular migraine

Vestibular migraine is a form of migraine in which the main symptoms relate to dizziness and the balance system. It is a common problem, known to affect 1% of the general population and possibly more because it is thought to be under diagnosed. There is still no agreement on which is the best treatment available to prevent attacks of vestibular migraine.

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Summaries for consumers

Medicines to prevent vestibular migraine

Vestibular migraine is a form of migraine in which the main symptoms relate to dizziness and the balance system. It is a common problem, known to affect 1% of the general population and possibly more because it is thought to be under diagnosed. There is still no agreement on which is the best treatment available to prevent attacks of vestibular migraine.

Migraine diary

The best way to find the triggers that cause your migraines is to keep a diary or log of your migraine attacks for a few weeks or months. You will find a printable template for this kind of diary here.A migraine diary can help you record the following things on days you have migraines: What was happening around the time the migraine started?Did you feel stressed out?Did you get enough sleep?Did you eat anything out of the ordinary?When did you have a migraine today?MorningNoonAfternoonNightHow long did the migraine last? __ hoursHow severe was the pain?MildModerateSevereDid you take any medication? (If so: what kind and how much)NoYes, type:

Propranolol for migraine prophylaxis

Propranolol, a beta‐blocker, is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for the prevention of migraine. This systematic review identified 58 trials, and these provide evidence that propranolol reduces migraine frequency significantly more than placebo. We did not find any clear differences between propranolol and other migraine‐preventing drugs, but firm conclusions cannot be drawn about the relative efficacy of propranolol and other drugs due to the small sample size of most of the trials.

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Terms to know

Aura
An aura is a perceptual disturbance experienced by some with migraine or seizures before either the headache or seizure begins.
Headache
Head pain or discomfort.
Nausea
A feeling of sickness or discomfort in the stomach that may come with an urge to vomit.
Primary Headaches
Headaches that occur on their own with no detectable underlying cause, such as migraine.

More about Migraine

Photo of an adult woman

Also called: Migraine disorder, Migraine headache, Migraine attack, Sick headache

See Also: Cluster Headache, Tension-Type Headache

Other terms to know: See all 4
Aura, Headache, Nausea

Related articles:
Signs of Migraine and Other Types of Headaches

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