Migraine is not “just a bad headache” or “all in your head”
Migraine is a serious, often complex condition of the neurologic (nervous) system. It can significantly disrupt time with loved ones, education, and careers. The World Health Organization categorizes migraine as one of the most disabling medical illnesses worldwide.
Approximately 1 in 7 Americans age 18 and older, an estimated 14% of the US population, suffers from migraine.
Migraine is a recurring, painful attack with a wide variety of potential symptoms
The headache of a migraine usually includes severe, recurring, throbbing pain on one side of the head. But migraine sufferers can also have pain on both sides of their head.
In addition to pain, there are a number of other symptoms that can happen that may vary from attack to attack. While there are some common symptoms of migraine, each person’s individual experience is different.
The most common migraine symptoms during the headache phase include:
- Extreme sensitivity to light or sound
- Throbbing pain
- Scalp tenderness
About 20% of migraine sufferers will experience “aura” before a headache
Auras are sensations that signal a migraine is coming. They often cause visual symptoms, such as seeing spots or flashing lights. Auras can also produce other sensations, such as tingling in the arms or face, difficulty speaking, and tunnel vision.
For patients with frequent migraine attacks, or those that do not respond to acute treatments, preventive medicines can be important.