Migraine causes, types, symptoms and treatment

Definition: Migraine is a recurring type of headache which causes severe throbbing (or pulsating) pain most propably on one side of the head and it is usually preceded by aura (warning symptoms) and maybe accompanied by vomiting, nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

Migraine sometimes cause severe disabling pain that can last for hours or even days, and the warning signs may be flashes of light, tingling sensation in one side of the face or arm or leg or blind spots.

What are the causes of Migraine?

Though researchers concluded that migraines have genetic causes and risk factors, there are some factors that may cause or trigger migraine, these factors are:

  • Stress: one of the most common causes of headache in general and migraine in particular.
  • Hormonal changes (as in menstruation in women).
  • Anxiety.
  • Some medications.
  • Sudden weather and environmental changes.
  • Sleep disorders including too much sleep not only deficient sleep.
  • Loud noises and strong smells.
  • Tobacco (smoking).
  • Caffeine withdrawal.
  • Skipped meals and too much physical activity.
Some foods and beverages that trigger migraines:
  • Chocolate.
  • Alcohol.
  • Yeasts.
  • Cured or processed meats.
  • Aged cheeses.
  • Monosodium glutamate.

Who are the groups at risk of migraines?

  1. Women: it is 3 times more common in femaes than males.
  2. Family history: Most patients with migraine have positive family history.
  3. Other diseases: like anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, bipolar disorders and epilepsy.

Types of migraine:

It is divided into two main subdivisions:
  • Classic migraine: migraine with aura (Prodroma) of blurring of vision scintillations and paresthesia
  • Common migraine: Migraine without aura.

What are the symptoms of Migraine?

  • Aura (warning symptoms): prodromes like blurring of vision scintillations and paresthesia (numbness) and flashes of light.
  • Paroxysmal attacks of hemicranial headache.Headache is throbbing and occurs in episodes lasting from 4 - 72 hours and it starts gradually.
  • It is usually associated with one or more of the following: nausea, vomiting, photophobia and phonophobia.
  • There is a strongly positive family history of migraine.
  • Postdrome (following the headache): The patient may feel exhausted, weak, and confused after a migraine. This can last up to a day.

What is the treatment of Migraine?

Acute attack
  • Ergot derivatives. 
  • Analgesics. 
  • Selective serotonin receptors agonists.
  • Beta blockers (Inderal). 
  • Calcium channel blockers.


Migraine causes, types, symptoms and treatment
Dr.Tamer Mobarak


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