- Occurring with an aura (formerly called "classic")
- Occurring without an aura (formerly called "common")
- Environmental triggers (eg, odors, bright lights)
- Dietary triggers (eg, alcohol)
- Certain medicines
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Physiologic changes (eg, menstruation, puberty)
- Weather changes
- Gender: more common in adult females
- Age: most migraines occur by age 40
- Family history of migraines
- Changes in mood, behavior, and/or activity level
- Food craving or decreased appetite
- Nausea, diarrhea
- Sensitivity to light
- Flashing lights, spots, or zig zag lines
- Temporary, partial loss of vision
- Speech difficulties
- Weakness in an arm or leg
- Numbness or tingling in the face and hands
- Dizziness, lightheadedness
- Speech disturbances
- Cognitive dysfunction
A headache (usually on one side but may involve both sides) that often feels:
- Moderate or severe intensity
- Throbbing or pulsating
- More severe with bright light, loud sound, or movement
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Trouble concentrating
- Sore muscles
- Mood changes
- Computed tomography (CT) scan—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the head
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
- Blood tests
|CT Scan of the Head|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Prevent headaches
- Reduce headache severity and frequency
- Restore your ability to function
- Improve quality of life
- Quiet nerve pathways
- Reduce inflammation
- Bind receptors for serotonin, a brain chemical
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) (eg, naproxen)
- Medicines for nausea
- Combination medicine that contains caffeine
- Calcium channel blockers
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin-II receptor blockers (ARBs)
Self-Care During the Migraine
- Apply cold compresses to painful areas of your head.
- Lie in a dark, quiet room.
- Try to fall asleep.
- Keep a diary. It will help identify what triggers migraines and what helps relieve them.
- Learn stress management and relaxation techniques.
- Consider talking with a counselor. They can help you learn new coping skills and relaxation techniques.
- Exercise regularly.
- If you are a smoker, quit. Smoking may worsen a migraine.
- Avoid foods that trigger migraines.
- Eat regular meals.
- Maintain your regular sleep pattern even during the weekend or on vacation.
- Avoiding those things that trigger the headache
- Following your doctor's recommendations—The doctor may consider using medicines to prevent headaches such as:
- Butterbur extract
- Medications that lower blood pressure
- Maintain regular sleep patterns.
- Learn stress management techniques.
- Do not skip meals.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Exercise regularly. Consider yoga as one type of activity.
- Ask your doctor if acupuncture is right for you. It may help you to have more headache-free days, as well as lessen the intensity of headaches when they do occur.
- Mind-body therapies such as:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Guided imagery (may improve pain coping)
- Massage therapy
- Nuts and peanut butter
- Beans (eg, lima, navy, pinto, and others)
- Aged or cured meats
- Aged cheese
- Processed or canned meat
- Caffeine (intake or withdrawal)
- Canned soup
- Buttermilk or sour cream
- Meat tenderizer
- Brewer's yeast
- Red plums
- Snow peas
- Soy sauce
- Anything with MSG (monosodium glutamate), tyramine, or nitrates
American Headache Society http://www.americanheadachesociety.org/
The National Migraine Association http://www.migraines.org/
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
Epilepsy symptoms. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/epilepsy/ds00342/dsection=symptoms . Updated April 28, 2011. Accessed July 24, 2012.
Gilmore B, Michael M. Treatment of acute migraine headache. Am Fam Physician. 2011:83(3):271-280.
Migraine in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated June 13, 2012. Accessed July 24, 2012.
Migraine prophylaxis: prescription medications. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated May 10, 2012. Accessed July 24, 2012.
NINDS migraine information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/migraine/migraine.htm . Updated July 6, 2012. Accessed July 24, 2012.
Warning signs of stroke. National Stroke Association website. Available at: http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=symp . Accessed July 24, 2012.
12/16/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Jena S, Witt CM, Brinkhaus B, Wegscheider K, Willich SN. Acupuncture in patients with headache. Cephalalgia. 2008;28:969-979.
2/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White A. Acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;CD001218.
11/10/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Guyuron B, Reed D, Kriegler JS, Davis J, Pashmini N, Amini S. A placebo-controlled surgical trial of the treatment of migraine headaches. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009;124(2):461-468.
10/25/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : US Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves Botox to treat chronic migraine. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm229782.htm . Published October 15, 2010. Accessed October 25, 2010.
3/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Chankrachang S, Arayawichanont A, Poungvarin N, et al. Prophylactic botulinum type A toxin complex (Dysport) for migraine without aura. Headache. 2011;51(1):52-63.
9/25/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Herman A. Episodic migraine linked to obesity. NEJM Journal Watch. 2013 Sept 12.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 09/25/2013 -