What Is a Migraine?

Numerous individuals have severe migraines that disrupt their lives. This type of headache is debilitating because of its intense pain. When someone has a migraine, she will also have other symptoms, including:

• Sensitivity to sound
• Nausea
• Visual problems
• Nasal congestion
• Sensitivity to light
• Vomiting
• Throbbing sensations
• Sensitivity to odors
• Irritability
• Pain in the scalp

Within the United States, there are 3 million cases of migraines each year. This medical condition affects children, teenagers and adults. If someone experiences migraines during childhood, then she will probably continue to have problems with this type of headache for a lifetime.

How Long Can a Migraine Last?

The pain from a migraine is excruciating, and the discomfort can radiate into the shoulders or neck. In addition, a migraine can last as long as 72 hours, making it impossible to live a normal daily lifestyle. Some individuals have these severe headaches several times a month, and they must take a lot of medication to prevent or eliminate the problem. Approximately 30 percent of the individuals who have migraines also have auras that signal that the headaches are about to occur.

What Causes Migraines?

Research reveals that migraines tend to occur in family groups. Before puberty, more males have migraines than females, but after puberty, women are more likely to have these painful headaches. After women begin menopause, the incidence of these headaches often declines, leading researchers to believe that migraines are often caused by hormonal levels. Scientists also believe that migraines are caused by differences in the brain’s nerves and blood vessels. Some individuals treat migraines with store-bought pain relievers, but other migraine sufferers require prescription medications to control the nausea and discomfort.

Auras Are Common During Migraines

Scientists have collected information from the patients with migraines in order to understand the condition. Some patients describe having a craving for certain foods, developing digestive issues or noticing odd odors. Other individuals have a change in their mood or energy level before a migraine begins. The most common symptom is an aura that involves visual or auditory disturbances. During a migraine, an individual is unable to do anything, and many patients prefer to sleep in a dark room where there is no noise. Some individuals have a migraine that stops quickly, and they feel energetic afterwards, but other individuals have migraines that dissipate slowly, and they feel ill for several days afterward.