A migraine is a form of headache which is often associated with several side-effects, which include issues relating to vision and nausea. Migraines are more common in women than men. Often migraines are extremely painful and can last for long periods of time.

Symptoms of migraines

The most obvious symptom of a migraine is serious pain; often this occurs on one side of the head and pain is usually heightened during movement. Symptoms are usually dependent on the type of migraine; however, general symptoms include a lack of concentration, sweating, an inability to control body temperature and abdominal pain.

Classical migraine

Classical migraines are often known as migraines with aura; this means there is a warning sign before the onset of the headache. These warning signs include blurred vision and seeing spots or patterns, tingling sensations in the neck and shoulders, a lack of coordination and balance, speech problems and unconsciousness (this is rare).

Common migraine

Common migraines have no symptoms before the onset of the headache. When the headache comes on, people who suffer from common migraines often experience nausea and heightened sensitivity to light and sound; many people with migraines prefer to sit in the dark during a migraine for this reason.

Causes of migraines

Experts believe that migraines are caused by an imbalance of chemical substances in the brain; most commonly migraines are attributed to a decreased level of serotonin (this is involved in the process of sending messages to and from the brain). Hormone balance can also cause migraines (this is demonstrated by the larger proportion of women who suffer from migraines; most women experience migraines around the time of their period). Other contributing factors may include stress, anxiety, disturbed sleep patterns, dehydration, poor posture, bright, darting lights and a lack of food.

Treating migraines

Although there is no outright cure for migraines, there are medications which ease the symptoms of a migraine; commonly these include pain relief medication and anti-inflammatory medicines. There are also medications to target nausea and some pharmacists stock medications which contain a combination of analgesic and anti-sickness medicines. Alternative therapies may also prove beneficial for migraine sufferers; these include homeopathy and acupuncture.

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