What is a migraine headache?
The term migraine means a neurological syndrome which is commonly characterized by headaches and a feeling of nausea also known as sea-sickness. When you first get migraine the pain is more severe compared to a normal headache (everyday headache) which doesn’t feel as overwhelming. By severe I mean in terms of feeling a pulsation in your head, sensitive to light and everyday sounds like traffic and listening to the radio and not to loud noises.
Normally the pain is in one side of the head and you can sometimes feel the pain moving from one side to the other. The pain often comes like a burst and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to four days! Most people suffering from migraine headaches often prefer a dark and silent room to rest in (hence the sensitivity to light and sound).
Currently we don’t know what causes migraine headache but there are several theories that might have something to do with migraine headache occuring. One theory is that migraine headache is a result of disorder in the serotonergic control system (the system which handles the transmission of serotonin in your body). This often cause a bloodflow increase up to three times more than normal. This is probably something you have felt if you have experienced a migraine headache. Most people who gets headaches everyday often has a increased bloodflow and some of them can feel their bloodvessels enlarge upon a migraine, along with the pulsuating pain which many migraineurs experience. Sometimes a light massage in these areas can help and aleviate the pain. The most common place to have this pulsuating pain is around your temple.
Statistics show that headaches affect more females (up to three time more often) than males in the US, and about the same rate during puberty. Severe Migraine headaches is most common from age 12 to age 40 and declines thereafter. In US white women tend to have the highest frequence of migraine. In the last 20 years the frequency of migraine headaches have increased. Some people believe that migraine headache can be hereditary. In a study of people who suffered from severe migraine 70% of those had a relative (it could be their mother, father or brother and sister) who also had some sort of migraine problem.
Different types of migraine
There are different types of migraine. Two of the most common migraines are: migraine with aura (classic migraine) and migraine without aura (normal migraine). When you have symptoms of migraine with aura (classic migraine) you normally experience things that sooner turns into a more severe type of migraine. Symptoms like seeing lightnings and silverthreads in your perifery and a more narrow perifery. You could also have trouble hearing. These symptoms accour about 20 to 40 minutes before the real migraine start.
Migraine without aura is also called normal migraine and it’s practically a normal migraine except the symptoms of aura. People who have a headache every day have a “normal headache”