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Migraines

Migraines are so much more than just a headache. For some sufferers, they are a debilitating medical condition. A lot of progress has been made in understanding why these terrible headaches occur and how to treat them.

What are migraines?

Migraines are severe, throbbing headaches. They may occur on either side of the head, behind the eyes, or, less frequently, encompass the whole head. They are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Very often the person becomes very sensitive to noise and light and many resort to laying in a dark room until the pain has passed.

Migraines are so much more than just a headache. For some sufferers, they are a debilitating medical condition. A lot of progress has been made in understanding why these terrible headaches occur and how to treat them.

What are the symptoms of migraines?

There are many symptoms of migraines that differentiate them from headaches. These include:

  • Pain in one or more areas of the head may be dull, throbbing, or extreme
  • Pain in the face or neck
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Distorted or blurry vision
  • Seeing flashes of light

What causes migraines?

The prevalent theory as to the cause of migraines today is that your brain overproduces certain chemicals in the brain. The overabundance of these chemicals causes irritation and the swelling of the brain tissue. The swelling causes pressure on the nerves in the brain leading to pain and all the other symptoms.

What researchers are less sure about is why this production of chemicals happens. It seems to vary from person to person. Some people’s migraines are triggered by stress. Others seem to be a reaction to environmental factors. Some seem to be brought on by hormonal changes such as those seen in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Still others are triggered by nothing at all, seeming to pop up randomly.

Can any complications arise if left untreated?

Migraines are not usually a symptom of an underlying condition and are not progressive. Left untreated, they may result in a significant loss of quality of life but are not considered life-threatening.

What medications treat migraines

The main complication that arises from not treating migraines is the possibility of continuing episodes of disruptive pain. If you have severe headaches accompanied by nausea and any of the other listed symptoms, talk to your doctor. There are new treatments for migraines that go beyond simply treating the immediate pain. These medications can alleviate the onset of migraines by blocking some of the pathways in the brain and preventing inflammation.

Common medications may include

Analgesic or Antipyretic Non-Narcotic and Combinations
Acetadryl acetaminophen acetaminophen / aspirin / diphenhydramine acetaminophen / butalbital acetaminophen / butalbital / caffeine acetaminophen / caffeine

Show More Medications

Analgesic or Antipyretic Non-Opioid and Combinations
Acetadryl acetaminophen acetaminophen / aspirin / diphenhydramine acetaminophen / butalbital acetaminophen / butalbital / caffeine acetaminophen / caffeine

Show More Medications

Anticonvulsant - Monosaccharide Derivatives
Qudexy Topamax topiramate Trokendi

References

Migraine Headaches - Cleveland Clinic

Everything You Want to Know About Migraine - Healthline

Migraine - Mayo Clinic