Migraine: Causes, Symptoms, Effects, & Treatments


A migraine is a serious, painful headache that can be preceded and accompanied by sensory warning sign such as flashes of light, blind spot, vomiting and nausea, tingling in the arms and legs, and increased sensitivity to light and sound. Normally, migraine headache affects the one half of the head, are of pulsating nature. The excruciating pain that migraines bring can last for one to 72 hours. Physical activity made the pain even worse. It is not just a bad headache, Researchers believe that a migraine is a neurological disorder involving nerve pathways and brain chemicals. It is commonly misdiagnosed as a sinus headache and tension-type headache. They are more common in women than men, and 3% percent of people have a chronic migraine where they experience symptoms of half of the month for six months.

Types of a Migraine

There are several major types, Including:

  • A migraine with aura (formerly called classic and complicated migraine): where there are specific warning signs just before it begins, such as flashing lights and visual disturbance. Symptoms that appear about 10 to 60 minutes before an actual headache and usually last no more than an hour.
  • A migraine without aura (formerly called common migraine): Most common type, where it occurs without the specific signs and is usually felt on one side of the head. It comes along with nausea, blurred vision confusion, mood changes and increased sensitivity to sound smell and light. The attack occurs typically 4 to 72 hours.

Other types include the following:

  • A migraine without a headache
  • A migraine with Brainstem aura
  • A hemiplebic Migraine
  • A renital Migraine
  • A chronic migraine

Some of the other typical unofficial migraines are a Hormonal, abdominal, morning and complex migraine.



The exact cause of a migraine still largely unknown. Even so, they are believed to be related to a mix of an environmental and genetic factor. Also, it is thought to be due to abnormal brain activity causing a temporary alteration in the nerve signals, chemicals and blood flow in the brain. It’s not clear what causes this change in brain activity, but it’s possible that genes make more likely to experience a migraine as a result of a specific target. A number of psychological conditions are associated including anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder as are many biological triggers.

Migraine triggers


Various migraine triggers have been suggested, including hormonal, emotional, medicinal physical, dietary, and environmental.

Hormonal changes

Some women experience a migraine around the time of their period, possibly because of the changes in the level of hormones such as estrogen around this time. Some women only experience it around the time before two days of their period and three days after, which is known as pure menstrual migraine. However, most women experience them at other times too, which is called menstrual-related migraine.

Emotional triggers

Medicinal triggers

  • Some type of sleeping tablets
  • Combined contraceptive pill
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Physical triggers


Dietary triggers

  • Alcohol
  • Dehydration
  • Caffeine product such as coffee, coke
  • Irregular meal

An environmental triggers

  • Bright lights
  • Loud noise
  • Strong smell
  • A stuffy atmosphere
  • Climate change like humidity or very cold temperature
  • Smoking or (smoky room)

Triggers do not always cause a migraine and avoiding triggers does not prevent.


Symptoms can occur a while before a headache, immediately before a headache after a headache and during a headache also. Though all the migraines are not the same, typical symptoms are as follows.

  • Moderate to extreme pain, usually confined to one half of the head during an attack, but can occur on either side of the head and may affect the face or neck.
  • The pain is usually a severe throbbing sensation that gets worse when you move.
  • Feeling sick and physically being sick
  • Increased sensitivity to sound and light, relieved by lying quietly in a dark room.
  • Increasing pain during regular activities.
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

Some people also occasionally experience other symptoms, including:

Not all who suffered migraine experience these additional symptoms and some people may experience them without having a headache.



There is no specific test to diagnose a migraine. It can be unpredictable, sometimes occurring without the others symptom. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis can be hard and take time sometimes. For an accurate diagnosis to be made, doctors must identify a pattern of recurring headaches along with the associated symptoms. On your first visit, your doctor may carry out a physical examination and your vision, coordination, sensation and reflexes. These will help figure out some other possible underlying causes of your symptoms.

Doctors may ask if your headaches are:

  • On one half of a dead
  • A pulsating pain
  • Worse by physical activity or movement
  • Come with vomiting, nausea
  • Come with increasing sensitivity to light and sound
  • Hard enough to prevent you carrying out daily activities

To help with the diagnosis, it can be useful to note keep down useful details including date, time, what were you doing when a migraine begins, how long the attack lasted, what symptoms you experience and what medicine you took. It can become difficult to treat if you are taking too many painkillers. You shouldn’t take painkillers for more than 10 days every month. If a diagnosis is unclear, treatment isn’t helping to control your symptoms and if you experience migraines in 15 days or more per month (a chronic migraine), your doctor may decide to refer you to a neurologist for further assessment and treatment


There is no cure for a migraine till the date, So treatment is about preventing a full-blown attack, and alleviating symptoms if they come. Different people use a different treatment. Some lifestyle alternation might help reduce a migraine which  includes:

Its treatments are focused on avoiding triggers, controlling symptoms and taking medicine.

Prophylactic therapies for a prevention 

The prevention starts with avoiding that trigger the condition. The main purpose of prophylactic therapies is reduced to the painfulness, frequency and duration of migraine headaches and also to increase the effectiveness of abortive therapies. There are different categories of a preventive migraine, ordering from diet changes and exercise to prescription drugs. Some of these includes:

  • Prescription Beta-blocker
  • Antidepressants (Tricyclics and SSRIs)
  • Anticonvulsants (Topiramate)
  • Botulinum Toxin A (Botox)
  • Gabapentin
  • Spinal cord stimulator implantation
  • Vision correction
  • Exercise, sleep, sexual activity
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy
  • Chiropractic care of acupuncture

Medications use 


Drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, paracetamol and other analgesics like Excedrin are often the first abortive therapies to eliminate a headache or reduce the pain. Painkillers should be taken before allowing the headache to develop.


Metoclopramide may also use to control nausea and vomiting.


This class of treatment usually effective if administered at the first sign of a migraine.


Serotonin agonists:

  • Sumatriptan may also be prescribed for chronic migraines or that are not responding to the over-the-counter medications.
  • Antidepressants such as tricyclic.
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Other drugs:

  • Combinations of acetaminophen, isometheptene and dichloralphenazone (Amidrine, Duradrin, and Midrin)
  • Combinations of barbiturates, aspirin or paracetamol, and caffeine.


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