Migraine Pain

A migraine is a severe and very disabling headache that is one of the most common headaches that people seek help from their doctor. Migraine pain is accompanied by sensitivity to light, sound and movement.

What are migraine headaches?

A migraine headache is a severe and very disabling headache. It is called a vascular type of headache, which means that it has to do with blood flow in the brain. The pain from a migraine is many times so severe the person can’t do anything until the treatment starts to work. Migraine headaches are the most common headaches that people seek help at the emergency room or their family doctor’s office.

What are the symptoms of a migraine?

Migraine headaches are some of the most severe headaches a person can have. Every person who suffers from migraine headaches can have slightly different symptoms. The most common signs and symptoms of a migraine are:
  • Headache that lasts 4-72 hours
  • Headache only on one side of the head
  • The pain has a pulsating quality
  • Moderate to severe pain from the headache
  • The headache pain gets worse by routine physical activity (e.g. climbing stairs)
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Light sensitivity – bright lights make the pain worse
  • Sound sensitivity – loud sounds make the pain worse
  • Aura in some people


Migraine aura

Some people with migraines will have what is called a migraine aura before the pain starts. The aura most often happens 20 to 30 minutes before a headache, and is often gone within 15 minutes. A migraine aura causes the person to see or feel strange things and their speech could be disturbed. Common symptoms of a migraine aura are:
  • Visual
    • Seeing flickering lights
    • Seeing spots, lines or zig-zags
    • Temporary loss of vision
  • Feeling
    • Feeling pins or needles
    • Feeling numbness
    • Tingling in a part of the body (such as face, arm, leg)
  • Person can have fully reversible speech disturbance
    • Speech


Diagnosing a migraine and other types of headaches

Doctors tell the different between the different headache types by the symptoms the person has. For example, a tension headache normally happens on both sides of the head, is more a dull ache and the pain is not as severe as in migraine headaches.
There are no blood tests, X-rays, CT scans or MRIs that will tell your doctor that you are a migraine sufferer. For this reason make sure you are able to describe your headaches and exactly what you were doing and feeling when you got the headache.


What causes migraines?

For a person to have a migraine they have a combination of a genetic disorder and they have to come into contact with a migraine trigger. A genetic disorder is a condition that is passed down in the genes from your mother, father or both. Having the genetic disorder on its own doesn’t mean you will have migraines, it just means you are at risk for them. People need to come in contact with a migraine trigger to have a migraine.


What is a migraine trigger?

A migraine trigger is a food or situation that brings on a migraine attack. There are many different triggers for migraine headaches. Every person with migraines has slightly different triggers. The average migraine sufferer will have about 7 different triggers that can cause a migraine attack. Below are some of the most common triggers.
  • Stress
  • Hormones (women only) – around menstruation, pregnancy and menopause
  • Not eating
  • Weather
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Perfume or certain odours and smell
  • Neck pain
  • Lights
  • Alcohol
  • Smoke – cigarette or from a fire
  • Sleeping late
  • Heat
  • Exercise
  • Food
    • Foods containing tyramines (aged cheese, pickled foods)
    • Nitrates in cured meats (many sandwich meats)
    • Chocolate
    • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
    • Red wine
    • Excessive caffeine or caffeine withdrawal


Who is at risk of migraines?

Migraines can happen in almost anyone but there are certain things that put you at a higher risk of a migraine. These include:
  • Family history of migraines
  • Younger than the age of 40
  • Being female – migraines are three times more common in women
  • At times of hormone changes – e.g. pregnancy and menstruation

How do I treat migraines?

If you are a migraine sufferer your doctor will work with you to:
  • Help avoid migraine attacks if possible
  • Treat migraines quickly if they happen
  • Return you back to your normal life with no effect on your quality of life
  • Prevent any problems with the medications that you are using to treat your headaches


Important information

Content powered by:
Healthy rewards for a healthier you
Participate in personalized wellness
programs for rewards at
Copy content included in this article is © BestLifeRewarded, 2014
This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



Store details