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Migraine Headache
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What is Migraine Headache?

A migraine headache is a type of vascular, or muscle contraction headache that includes abnormal muscle contractions of the head. Migraine headaches are usually marked by severe pain on one or both sides of the head, an upset stomach, and, at times, visual disturbances. Women are 3 times more likely than men to have migraine headaches. Migraine headaches are a type of vascular, or muscle contraction headache, that appear to involve the abnormal, involuntary tightening or tensing of facial and neck muscles. Migraine headaches do not usually require medical attention, in spite of their intensity of pain and disturbance of regular, day-to-day activities, but some headaches may signal a more serious disorder and call for medical attention.

Migraine is an intense form of headache that...

What causes migraine headache?

Migraine headaches result from a combination of blood vessel enlargement, abnormal blood vessel contraction, and the release of chemicals from the nerve fibers that wrap around these enlarged blood vessels. During the headache, when an artery enlarges, usually on the outside of the skull, just under the skin of the temple, it causes a release of pro-inflammatory chemicals that can cause pain. The result is further swelling of the artery, which compounds the painful symptoms and prolongs the pain and recovery time from the migraine headache.

A migraine headache causes abnormal changes in the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which regulates some of the automatic functions of the body such as digestion, blood circulation and sensory perception....

What are the symptoms of migraine headaches?

Migraine headaches are a chronic health condition with reoccurring bouts of intensely painful headaches. Most migraine episodes are associated with headaches, although some of the symptoms of migraine can occur without a headache.

  • Migraine headache is described as an intense throbbing or pounding pain that involves one temple. Sometimes pain involves the forehead, around the eye, and the back of the head.
  • The pain usually is unilateral, or occurring on one side of the head. One third of the time the pain is on both sides of the head, or bilateral.
  • The unilateral headaches can change sides from one attack to the next. If the headache is always on the same side of the head, you should see your health care provider to...

Migraine headache diagnosis is based on the presence of certain symptoms outlined by the International Headache Society (IHS). These diagnostic criteria create a standardized framework for physicians in distinguishing migraine headache from the other most common headache types, including tension and cluster.

A diagnosis of migraine headache may be made when a patient has at least five occurrences of headache that meet the following criteria:

  • Headache attacks or episodes that last four to 72 hours (untreated or unsuccessfully treated)
  • Headache that has at least two of the following characteristics:
  • Unilateral location
  • Pulsating or throbbing quality
  • Moderate to severe intensity
  • Aggravation by walking stairs or similar routine physical activity
  • During...

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