Migraines are chronic headaches that can cause significant pain for hours or even days. They may occur with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light. In many people, a throbbing pain is felt only on one side of the head. Migraines usually begin in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood.
A migraine is caused by abnormal brain activity, which is triggered by stress, certain foods, environmental factors, or something else. Most medical experts believe the attack actually begins in the brain itself, where it involves various nerve pathways and chemicals. Genetics and environmental factors both seem to play a role in the development of migraines. People who have close relatives who suffer from migraines are more likely to develop them themselves.
Migraine treatment consists of two main aspects: preventing the attacks by avoiding triggers, and medications that are taken on a daily basis if the attacks are frequent and severe. For many patients, common painkillers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen are effective. Migraine headaches generally represent no significant threat to your overall health.