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All You Need to Know About Migraines

All You Need to Know About Migraines

Written By: Talia Glickman-Simon, MPH on June 08, 2020

The term “migraines” has become relatively common, but what does it mean? Is it a bad headache or something more? A migraine is a recurring headache that can cause varying levels of pain. While migraine symptoms vary, some of the most common include nausea, weakness, and sensitivity to light and sound. 

What causes migraines?

Genetics, stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to migraines. Other triggers may include getting too much or too little sleep, or skipping meals. Consumption of alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, or aged cheese can also cause migraines.  

What are the symptoms of migraines?

  1. Prodome starts roughly 24 hours before the migraine and might involve food cravings, mood swings, and excess yawning. 
  2. Aura begins just before or during a migraine and includes changes in vision (flashing lights, bright lights, or zig-zag lines), muscle weakness, or tenderness. 
  3. Headache usually happens gradually during the migraine and involves throbbing or pulsing pain, and increased sensitivity to light, noise, and odors. There can also be nausea and vomiting, and worsened pain when you move, cough, or sneeze. 
  4. Postdrome occurs after the headache and is usually characterized by feelings of exhaustion, weakness, and sometimes confusion. Postdrome may last up to one day. 

How are migraines treated?

Since there is no cure for migraines, treatment is aimed at relieving and/or preventing symptoms. This may include: 

  • Taking pain relievers 
  • Resting your eyes in a dark, quiet room 
  • Placing something cold on your forehead
  • Drinking fluids 

How can you manage and/or prevent migraines?

The best way to manage migraines is to focus on your physical and mental health. This could include managing your stress, keeping a log of triggers, and talking to a doctor about how migraines may be affecting you. 

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