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Migraines are a type of headache characterized by intense, throbbing pain, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. They can last for hours to days and significantly affect daily activities. Migraines typically occur in stages:

1. Prodrome:

This stage occurs hours or days before the migraine and includes symptoms like mood changes, food cravings, neck stiffness, frequent yawning, and increased thirst and urination.

2. Aura:

Some people experience auras before or during migraines. Auras are reversible symptoms of the nervous system and usually visual, but can also be sensory, motor, or verbal disturbances.

3. Attack:

The actual migraine headache usually lasts from 4 to 72 hours if untreated. The pain is typically on one side of the head but can occur on both sides. Other symptoms during this stage can include nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, lightheadedness, and sensitivity to light, sound, smell, or touch.

4. Post-drome:

After the migraine attack, a person may feel drained, confused, and washed out for up to a day. Sudden head movement might bring on the pain again briefly.

Causes and Triggers

The exact cause of migraines is not fully understood, but they are believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. Common triggers include:

  • Hormonal changes: Especially in women, such as fluctuations in estrogen during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or menopause.
  • Foods: Aged cheeses, salty and processed foods, food additives like aspartame, and MSG.
  • Drinks: Alcohol, especially wine, and caffeinated beverages.
  • Stress: Emotional stress and anxiety.
  • Sensory stimuli: Bright lights, sun glare, loud sounds, and strong smells.
  • Sleep changes: Too much or too little sleep.
  • Physical factors: Intense physical exertion.
  • Weather changes: Changes in weather or barometric pressure.
  • Medications: Certain medications can trigger migraines.

Treatment and Prevention

Acute Treatments
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers: Such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen.
  • Triptans: Prescription medications that block pain pathways in the brain.
  • Ergots: Medications that are particularly effective for pain lasting more than 48 hours.
  • Anti-nausea drugs: To control nausea and vomiting.
  • Gepants and ditans: Newer classes of medications that target migraine-specific pathways.
Preventive Treatments


  • Lifestyle changes: Regular exercise, balanced diet, adequate sleep, and stress management.
  • Avoiding triggers: Keeping a headache diary to identify and avoid specific triggers.
  • Alternative therapies: Acupuncture, biofeedback, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

If you suffer from frequent or severe migraines, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider to develop a tailored treatment plan.

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