Migraine News

A migraine is a serious form of headache. Usually, it differs from a less severe headache, such as a muscle tension headache, in that it causes a very intense pulsing or throbbing pain. This is often felt on just one side of the head. Migraines, which can last from a few hours to a few days, affect about 10 percent of the population.

Some migraines, called classic migraines, are preceded by an "aura," described as flashing lights or other disturbances in your vision. Migraines that don’t begin with an aura are called common migraines. In addition to the telltale throbbing pain, migraine sufferers may also experience nausea and vomiting, light or noise sensitivity, blurred vision, fatigue, sweating, stiff neck and other unpleasant symptoms.

Causes of Migraines

Migraines seem to be related to serotonin levels in the body. In some people, when serotonin levels become low, the blood vessels swell, which can lead to migraine pain. People also seem to have triggers for migraines. These can include bright lights, loud noises, strong odors or changes in the weather. Smoking, not getting enough sleep and intense physical activity, including sex, seem to bring on migraines in others. Certain foods can trigger migraines, and some women get them along with hormonal changes caused by menstruation or use of birth control pills.


There's no cure for migraines, but many people have been able to manage their migraines by reducing their frequency and also treating the symptoms of the migraine when it occurs. For some, over-the-counter pain medications are sufficient for relieving the symptoms of a migraine. But others may need to see a doctor to get a prescription medication for migraine relief. Many can also help manage an active migraine by resting in a dark room or using a cold compress or a head massage to relieve the symptoms. Keeping a healthy sleep schedule, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and avoiding triggers all seem to play a role in preventing migraines.

SOURCES: U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; American Academy of Family Physicians

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Migraine and Weight

Both obesity and being underweight increase migraine risk, study finds.

A Healthier Weight May Mean Fewer Migraines

Study found risk increased in both obese and underweight people

Study Ties Some Migraines to Artery Tears in Neck, Raising Stroke Risk

Problem also more likely in men and patients under 39, though chances are still low

Nasal 'Nerve Block' May Help Ease Kids' Migraines

But one headache expert says procedure not without risks, pain relief not significantly better than meds

Wireless Arm Patch May Blunt Migraine Pain

Study found electrical stimulation reduced ache if started soon enough

'Off-Label' Antidepressants Common, But Where's the Evidence?

One-third are prescribed for conditions like pain or migraine with little scientific backup, study says

Migraine Linked to Higher Stroke Risk After Surgery

The risk is small, but concerning, researchers say

Cluster Headaches Can Defy Diagnosis But Respond to Treatment

Pain is so intense it often wakes people from their sleep, neurologist says

Migraine and Stroke Risk Linked Again

Researchers suggest doctors consider severe headaches a potential risk factor for brain attack

Study Questions Use of Migraine Meds in Kids, Teens

Researchers found sugar pill worked as well as commonly prescribed drugs

Mouth and Gut Germs May Be Linked to Migraines

People who get the severe headaches have more nitrate-reducing microbes, researchers say

For Migraine Sufferers, Is a Chiropractor's Touch All in the Mind?

Study participants who had sham treatment reported pain relief, too

Migraines and Chiropractic Therapy

Does chiropractic spinal manipulation help prevent migraines?

Can You Blame Your Headaches on Your Thyroid?

People with migraines had 40 percent higher risk of thyroid problems, study suggests

Sound Waves: An Rx for High Blood Pressure, Migraine?

Sound therapy balances brain signals, researcher says

Homing In on the Genetics of Migraine

International team reports 30 new variants

Vitamin Deficiencies Common in Young Migraine Sufferers

But study couldn't determine if supplements made a difference

Experimental Drug Acts Fast Against Chronic Migraine

Begins working within 3 to 7 days, study finds

Exploring the Link Between Estrogen and Migraines

Study sees big drop in levels of the female hormone in the days before menstruation

Women With Migraine May Face Higher Threat of Heart Disease, Stroke

Researchers say it should be considered an independent risk factor for future heart trouble

Migraines Take Toll on Spouse

Family activities, parenting duties often affected, survey finds

Health Tip: Have Headaches? Speak to Your Doctor

Learn as much as possible about your condition

Giving the 'Green Light' to Migraine Relief

Experimental light therapy finds it can ease sensitivity, pain for some patients

Botox Can Be Used for Chronic Migraine, Experts Say

American Academy of Neurology issues new guideline on use of the drug

Severe Migraines Linked to Complications During Pregnancy, Childbirth

Women older than 35 appear most at risk, study finds

Emotional Abuse During Childhood Linked to Adult Migraine Risk

But no similar association seen with physical, sexual abuse, researchers report

Do Genes Link Headaches, Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Study finds evidence of shared DNA, but more research is needed

Stroke Risk May Be Greater for Certain Migraine Sufferers: Studies

Patients having visual disturbances or taking estrogen face increased odds, researchers suggest

Migraines May Worsen as Menopause Approaches

Researchers say hormonal changes and painkiller overuse may be to blame

Marijuana May Help Treat, Prevent Migraines, Study Says

Average number of headaches cut in half, but experts say more research needed

Asthma Linked to Chronic Migraines in Some People

Study suggests odds doubled for those with the airway disease

Sleepwalkers Feel No Pain When Injured: Study

But they're more likely to get headaches and migraines when awake, researchers added

Blood Test Might One Day Help Spot Migraines

Researchers found levels of certain fats indicated which women suffered debilitating headaches

Older Smokers With Migraines May Face Added Stroke Risk

Study finds no increased risk among nonsmokers

Childhood Trauma Tied to Migraine Risk as Adult

Study found witnessing parental domestic violence produced most powerful association

Migraine's Link to Higher Heart Disease Risk May Not Be Genetic

Study suggests non-genetic factors may be what increases risk

Surgery May Help Teens With Frequent Migraines, Study Contends

At least one expert questions whether improvements are due to the procedure

New Drugs Might Prevent Migraines Before They Start

Injectable medications appear promising in early trials, but more research needed

High School Football Players May Be at Doubled Risk of Migraine

Head injuries likely play a role in these headaches, second study suggests

Most Children With Migraines Don't Get Proven Treatments: Study

Nearly half don't get any pain relievers at all, researcher adds

Many Migraine Sufferers Given Narcotic Painkillers, Barbiturates

These are a poor choice, especially for children, doctors say

Pregnancy Often Leads to Changes in Migraines

Many women have fewer headaches while expecting, experts say

Chronic Migraines Take Big Toll on Families, Survey Finds

Debilitating headaches meant less participation in family activities, canceled plans each month

Migraines Often Undiagnosed, Doctor Says

Proper identification of headache type can lead to better treatment

Migraines and Family Life

Most migraine sufferers believe their condition makes life more difficult for loved ones, survey finds

Migraine Drug May Up Risk of Eating Disorders in Some Teens

Case reports don't prove the medicine caused problems, however

Migraine, Carpal Tunnel May Be Linked

Patients with one are more than twice as likely to have the other, study says

Could Your Child Have Migraines?

Symptoms can include nausea, abdominal pain, experts say

Nerve Treatment Via Nose Shows Promise Against Migraines

Therapy reduced pain level by about one-third for up to a month, study found

Kids Can Get Migraines Too

Tracking pain patterns and getting treatment can help, experts explain