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Is My Headache a Migraine?
Symptoms of Migraine Headaches
Screening and Diagnosis for Migraines
Treatment Options for Migraines
What is The Treatment for Moderate or Severe Migraines?
Alternative Ways for Treating Migraines
How Can You Prevent or Avoid Migraines?
What Are Migraine Triggers?
Prophylactic Medications to Reduce or Avoid Migraines
Types of Migraines
Cryotherapy:  Ice Relief for Migraine Headaches
An Optical Migraine FAQ
Migraines and Pregnancy
The Art of Massaging Migraine Headaches
Migraine Headaches and the Weather
Menstrual Migraines
Migraines and the Smoking Connection
Well-Known Migraine Triggers
The Migraine-Aspartame Connection
Stress & the Migraine Sufferer
Sexually-Triggered Migraines
Eye Problems & Migraines
Fragrance Migraine Triggers
Treating Menstrual Migraines
Migraine Treatment:  A Natural Approach

Is My Headache a Migraine?

A lot of people throw around the word "migraine" any time they've got a headache but those who truly suffer from migraines know the difference between one which is and one which isn't.Let's examine just what migraine headache truly is.

A migraine is a type of vascular headache.It's caused by a combinaton of an enlargement of the blood vessels (known as vasoldilatation) and a releasing of chemicals which coil around those blood vessels from the nerve fibers.In a migraine attack, the person's temporaal artery becomes enlarged  (This is the artery lying on the outside of the person's skull, right beneath the skin of his / her temple).When the temporal artery becomes enlarged, this stretches the nerves which coil around the artery, and then causes the person's nerves to release chemicals.These chemicals then cause pain, inflammation and even more enlargement of that artery.As the artery continues to enlargen, the pain becomes even more magnified.

When a person suffers from a migraine, typically his sympathetic nervous system is then activated.Think of the sympathetic nervous system as the portion of the nervous system which directs primitive responses to pain and stress the "fight or flight" reaction.As activity of the sympathetic nervous system increases, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting often result. Also, this sympathetic activity often delays the stomach's emptying into the small intestine.As a result, oral medications take longer to be absorbed and therefore migraine medications are often ineffective.

It's estimated that 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, with significantly more females (17 percent of the population) suffering than males (6 percent).However, migraines are probably under-diagnosed and consequently undertreated. 

A migraine headache is usually described by the sufferer as an intense, pounding pain that normally involves one temple.Sometimes it's located in the forehead, around either the eye or back of the peson's head, but it's almost always on one side of the head. It's not uncommon for the unilateral headaches to change sides:  affecting the left side one time, but the right side the next.Many daily activities such as walking upstairs aggravate migraines.

Some common symptoms that accompany migraines include vomiting, nausea, diahrrea, cold hands and feet, facial pallor, and sensitivity to sound and light. Because of this sensitivity to sound and light, those suffering from a migraine nomrally prefer ying in a dark, quiet room.A migraine attack will usually last four to 72 hours.

It's estimated that between 40 and 60  percent of migraine headaches will be preceded by warning symptoms which last several hours to several days.Some of these "premontory" symtoms includ sleepiness, fatigue, irritability, depression, euphoria, excessive yawning, and cravings for salty or sweet foods.Family members who are acquainted with the migraine attacks in the family member can often tell by the presence of these symptoms that a migraine attack is coming.

After a migraine attack, often for 24 hours following, the migraine sufferer feels drained of energy  and continues feeling a lower-grade headache and sound / light sensitivity. 

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