Migraines: Symptoms, Causes, Types, Treatment and Prevention

They are severe, recurring headaches and even more intense than normal.

They can be preceded or accompanied by sensory warning signs and other symptoms, also known as migraine attacks.

The extreme pain caused by migraines can last for hours or even days.

According to the American Migraine Association , this ailment affects 36 million Americans, approximately 12 percent of the population.

Migraines can follow an aura of sensory disturbances, followed by a severe headache that often appears on one side of the head. They tend to affect people ages 15 to 55.


Migraine symptoms can begin sometime before the headache, immediately before the headache, during the headache, and after the headache. Although not all migraines are the same, typical symptoms include:

  • Moderate to severe pain – usually confined to one side of the head but can occur on either side.
  • Severe head pain – May be throbbing or throbbing, increased pain during physical activity or when you are unable to perform regular activities due to pain from touch.
  • High sensitivity to light and sound : pain is relieved by lying quietly in a dark room.

Some people experience other symptoms such as sweating, temperature changes, stomach pain, and diarrhea.


The cause of migraines is not yet known.

They are suspected to be the result of abnormal activity in the brain . This can affect the way the nerves communicate, as well as the chemicals and blood vessels in the brain .

Genetics can make someone more sensitive to triggers that can cause migraines.
However, the following factors are likely to trigger migraines:

  • Hormonal changes : women may experience migraine symptoms during menstruation, due to changes in hormone levels.
  • Emotional triggers : Stress , depression , anxiety, excitement, and shock can trigger a migraine.
  • Physical Causes : Tiredness and lack of sleep, shoulder and neck strain, poor posture, and overexertion have been linked to migraines. Low blood sugar and jet lag can also act as triggers.
  • Diet changes : Alcohol and caffeine can contribute to triggering headaches. Some specific foods can also have this effect, such as chocolate, cheese, citrus fruits, and foods that contain the additive tyramine.

Irregular meals and dehydration have also been named as potential triggers.

  • Medications : Some sleeping pills, hormone replacement therapy medications, and the combined contraceptive pill have been named as possible triggers.
  • Environmental causes : Flickering screens, strong odors, secondhand smoke, and loud noises can trigger a migraine. Congested rooms, temperature changes, and bright lights are also possible triggers.

Types of migraine

There are two main types of migraine. This classification depends on whether the individual experiences any alteration of the senses that leads to a migraine.

Headaches with Aura

These are known as auras. They have aura representation with a fuzzy hue around a tree.

This image is an illustration of what a person experiencing migraine with aura can see. For many people with this pathology, the auras act as a warning, telling them that a headache is yet to come.

The effects of an aura can include:
  • Confused thoughts or the experience of the perception of strange, bright or flashing lights.
  • Lines that move in the visual field.
  • Blind or blank spots at the tips of vision and needles in an arm or leg difficulty.
  • Stress in shoulders, neck or extremities.
  • Smells.

If the following symptoms are unusual for the person with migraine, they should not be ignored, an unusual headache can lead to severe sensation disturbances and slurred speech when migraines with aura affect vision.

The patient can see things that are not there, such as transparent chains of objects.

They may also not see parts of the object in front of them or even feel part of their field of vision appear, disappear, and then return.

People who experience an aura may describe the visual disturbance as similar to the sensation that follows from being exposed to a very bright camera flash.

Migraine without aura

Most commonly, a person experiences a migraine without any sensory disturbances leading to the attack. Between 70 and 90 percent of migraines occur without an aura.

There are other types of migraines associated with specific syndromes or triggers, including:

  • Chronic migraine: refers to any migraine that triggers attacks on more than 15 days of the month.
  • Menstrual migraine: This is when the attacks occur in a pattern connected to the menstrual cycle.
  • Hemiplegic migraine: This causes weakness on one side of the body for a temporary period.
  • Abdominal migraine: this is a syndrome that connects pain to irregular function in the intestine and abdomen. It occurs mainly in children under 14 years of age.

Contact a physician after identifying a migraine pattern in any experienced headache. This way they will be able to advise you on the type and prescribe the appropriate treatment.


There is currently no single cure for migraines. Treatment is aimed at preventing a full-blown attack and alleviating the symptoms that occur.

Symptom treatment focuses on avoiding triggers, that is, managing symptoms and taking medications.


The last decade has seen the development of new approaches to treating migraines.

A doctor can administer an injection of botulinum toxin, or Botox, to the extracranial sensory branches of the spinal trigeminal and cervical nerves.

These are a group of nerves in the face and neck linked to migraine reactions.

A 2014 review also showed that surgical decompression of these nerves could reduce or eliminate migraines in patients who do not respond to first-line treatment.


Migraines are often managed through a course of medications. There are many different types of medications, including pain relievers.

Pain relievers should be taken early in the progress of a migraine rather than allowing the headache to develop.

Effective over-the-counter medications to treat migraines include:

Other pain relievers, such as caffeinated aspirin and acetaminophen, can often stop the headache or reduce its intensity.

Many pain relievers are available to buy online, including naproxen, acetaminophen, and caffeinated aspirin. Always talk to a doctor before taking new medications.

Drugs that treat migraine nausea

Some people who experience migraines will need to take medications to treat accompanying symptoms.

Metoclopramide can be used to control certain symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antidepressants, such as tricyclics, are prescribed to reduce migraine symptoms, although they are not approved in all countries for this purpose.

In addition, there are several medications and supplements that help prevent migraine attacks, including: antidepressants, Coenzyme Q10, Herbal extracts, such as Fiefmagnesium Citrate, Vitamin B-12, Riboflavin supplement.

You can buy many supplements online, including vitamin B-12 and feverfew. Before buying, make sure it is safe to take these supplements together with other medications.

It’s worth noting that some people may experience a medication overuse headache or a rebound headache.

This can happen after taking too many medications in an attempt to prevent migraine attacks.

Migraine facts

Some people who experience this condition can clearly identify triggers or factors that cause headaches, such as allergies, light, and stress . They may also feel a warning symptom before the onset of the migraine.

Many people with migraine can prevent a complete attack by recognizing and acting on the warning signs.

Over-the-counter medications can eliminate or reduce pain, some specific medications can help some people with migraine. People who have severe attacks can take preventive medications.


Lifestyle alterations that can help reduce the frequency of migraines include:

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Avoid certain foods.
  • Regular physical exercise.

Some people also find that special diets can help, such as avoiding gluten.

Consider seeking additional treatment if the above changes do not relieve migraine symptoms or frequency.