Migraine Headache

While very common, migraine headache causes are often not well understood by those that suffer from them. Questions range from inquiries about causes and symptoms to the effectiveness of different treatments. Despite some of the uncertainties and further research required regarding migraines, at Miami Headache Institute our staff has a successful track record in effectively treating migraine headaches.

Migraines tend to be severe in intensity and are often debilitating to patients. Nearly 40% of patients find it impossible to perform many routine tasks while suffering through an episode. Progressing from a dull ache in the front of the head to an intense pounding pain that may move to other parts of the head, a migraine can last anywhere from hours to days.

Migraine headaches are known to worsen after physical exertion and are often accompanied by increased sensitivity to light and sound. Exact migraine headache causes have never been isolated, but studies have shown that they are closely related to changes in the brain and to genetics. As many as four out of every five migraine sufferers have a history of migraines in their families. In fact, the chance of developing migraines increases by 75% if both of ones parents suffer from the disorder.

What researchers call a pain center for migraines has been discovered in the brain. This area of the brain has hyperactive nerves that cause blood vessels to constrict and expand, releasing an inflammatory substance to parts of the body. Migraines can be triggered by internal and external factors including stress, lack of sufficient sleep or nutrition, excessive caffeine consumption and fatigue.

Migraine Headache Disorder Treatment

A serious impairment in the ability to perform daily tasks is reported by 39% of migraine patients with more than half experiencing a more complete loss of function and requiring bed rest to deal with the pain.  Fewer than one in ten migraine patients do not suffer from this disabling effect. Migraines cost American businesses over thirteen billion dollars every year.  Many sufferers will miss over a week of work every year due to their migraines alone.

Migraine headache disorders are as many as three times more common in women than in men.  There seems to be a link between fluctuating female hormones and the occurrence of migraine symptoms and these hormonal changes are probably responsible for menstrual migraines.  Upwards of sixty percent of women suffering from migraines report increased onset during their menstrual cycle.

The majority of people with migraine disorders are not receiving medical care. This fact contributes to under and mis-diagnosis as well as self prescribed treatment and overuse of medication that can, in turn, lead to increased symptom frequency. Disorders also associated with migraines and chronic headaches are depression, sleep disorders, anxiety, epilepsy and stroke.  Migraines and these associated disorders can be treated with similar medications and share many traits.

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