Migraine is a neurological disease that can cause a wide range of symptoms during an attack. The most commonly thought of symptom is headache. A migraine can be disabling — with symptoms so severe, all you can think about is finding a dark, quiet place to lie down.
People who get migraines often describe the pain as pulsing or throbbing in one area of the head. During migraines, people are very sensitive to light and sound. They may also become nauseated and vomit. Attacks are often recurrent and tend to become less severe as the migraine sufferer ages.
There is a migraine "pain center" or generator in the brain. A migraine begins when hyperactive nerve cells send out impulses to the blood vessels, causing them to clamp down or constrict, followed by dilation (expanding) and the release of prostaglandins, serotonin, and other inflammatory substances that cause the pulsation to be painful. Although much about headaches still isn't understood, some researchers think migraines may be caused by functional changes in the trigeminal nerve system, a major pain pathway in your nervous system, and by imbalances in brain chemicals, including serotonin, which plays a regulatory role for pain messages going through this pathway.
Emotional stress. This is one of the most common triggers of migraine headache.
Sensitivity to specific chemicals and preservatives in foods. Certain foods and beverages, such as aged cheese, alcoholic beverages, and food additives such as nitrates (in pepperoni, hot dogs, luncheon meats) and monosodium glutamate (MSG, commonly found in Chinese food) may be responsible for triggering up to 30% of migraines.
Bright lights, loud noises, and certain odors or perfumes
Physical or emotional stress
Changes in sleep patterns
Smoking or exposure to smoke
Lack of Water or dehydration
Alcohol or caffeine
Difference between Headache and Migraine
Migraine is disease, a headache is only a symptom. Migraine pain is caused by vasodilation in the cranial blood vessels, while headache pain is caused by vasoconstriction. During a migraine, inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain, i.e., neurogenic inflammation, exacerbates the pain. Therefore, medicine often prescribed to treat a headache, such as beta-blockers, dilate the blood vessels and therefore can make a Migraine worse.
Unlike a headache, the Migraine disease has many symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, auras (light spots), sensitivity to light and sound, numbness, difficulty in speech, and severe semihemispherical head pain. One Migraine attack alone can last for eight hours, several days, or even weeks.
Migraine is a true organic neurological disease. A Migraine is caused when a physiological (not psychological) trigger or triggers cause vasodilatation in the cranial blood vessels, which triggers nerve endings to release chemical substances called neurotransmitters, of which the neurotransmitter serotonin is an important factor in the development of Migraine.
Migraine can induce a host of serious physical conditions: strokes, aneurysms, permanent visual loss, severe dental problems, coma and even death.