MIGRAINE
Last Updated : 2/2/2010
Dr. Ira Shah
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What is

migraine

?

Migraine is a particular kind of headache that is episodic (generally occurs from one to four times a month), is throbbing in nature and generally on side of the head. Sometimes pain may be on both sides of head.

What is the

cause of migraine

?

Migraine occurs due to spasm of the blood vessels supplying the brain. This leads to expansion of other blood vessels and throbbing of vessels to maintain blood and oxygen supply to the brain. This leads to a pounding and throbbing headache.

Usually migraine occurs due to certain triggering factors. Common triggers are:
-

Exposure to bright light


-

Exposure to certain food (chocolates, cheese, bananas, yogurt, fried food,
monosodium glutamate).


-

Stress


-

Menses


-

Too much caffeine


-

Sleep problems


-

Travel



Though, why a particular person gets migraine is still not known, it is usually found to run in families and may have a genetic basis.

What happens with a migraine?
Most migraines last from half an hour to few hours. Most children have an aura that a migraine is coming on. Common auras include blurred vision, seeing bright lights or jagged lines or smelling a certain odor. An aura usually starts about 10 to 30 minutes before the start of migraine followed by throbbing headache.

What is the

treatment for migraine

?

Most migraines respond to painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Sometimes anti-vomiting drugs may be required to reduce nausea and vomiting. If migraines are too frequent leading to absentees from school, certain "preventive" medications need to be taken to reduce frequency and severity of migraine. These medications need to be taken under a doctor's supervision. Biofeedback mechanism to learn to relax and suggestions to control heart rate and muscle stress may help to remain calm and stop the attack. Avoiding triggering factors helps to prevent migraine.

Is migraine a life long condition?
Most of the children outgrow their migraine.



Contributor Information and Disclosures

Dr. Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India


First Created : 1/2/2001

References

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