Migraine is a headache that can cause serious pain usually on one side of the head. It is a severe and often reoccurring headache accompanied with nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light.

The attack can last for few hours or days which can make a person unable to carry out his daily activities.

Migraine affects more women than men because it affects 1 in every 5 women and 1 in every 15 men.

Symptoms of Migraine

Migraine usually has four stages and each of these stages have symptoms associated with them. The stages of migraine include:


This stage is associated with symptoms that manifest one or two days before a migraine. They are warning signs that a migraine is under way. The symptoms experienced at this stage include:

  • Stiffness of the neck
  • Changes in the mood from feelings of depression to having feelings of euphoria
  • Craving for food
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation
  • Frequent yawning


 These are symptoms of the nervous system that usually occur before or during a migraine attack. In this stage a person experience symptoms such as:

  • Seeing flashes of light and shapes
  • Speech difficulty
  • Needle or pin sensations in the arm of leg
  • Numbness in the face or on one side of the body.
  • Weakness
  • Loss of vision

These symptoms begins one after one another can last for an hour.


This is the stage where the pains and discomforts associated with migraine are in full force. The migraine symptoms may last for 4 to 72 hours if it is not treated. Migraine can occur few times or severally in a month. In this stage a person can experience symptoms such as:

  • Pain usually on one side of the head or on both sides of the head
  • Pulsating or throbbing pain
  • Sensitivity to light, sound and sometimes smell  or touch
  • Nausea or vomiting

Post – drome

These are the withdrawal stage of migraine. The person will feel exhausted, confused and drained. The symptoms can last up to a day before the symptoms will disappear.

Causes of Migraine

The cause of migraine is not known, but some researchers believe that temporary changes in nerves and blood vessels of the brain can cause migraine.

Migraine Triggers

There things that can trigger migraine and they include following:

  • Stress
  • Changes in sleep pattern like sleeping too much or sleeping too little can cause migraine.
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Hormonal changes in women especially during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause.
  • Medications such as sleeping pills and birth control pills.
  • Changes in atmospheric pressure
  • Bright lights
  • Loud noise
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive heat
  • Smoking
  • Jet lag
  • Low blood sugar
  • Skipping meals
  • Environmental factors like strong smells, second hand smoke, humidity, changes in temperature.

Risk factors of migraine

There are factors that make a person to be at a higher risk of developing migraine. These factors include:

  • Gender: Women are at greater risk of developing migraine than men. They are 3 times more likely to have migraine than men.
  • Family history: If you have family members that have migraine there is a greater chance of you having migraine too because according to a study four out of five people with migraine have a family member that has migraine.
  • Age: Most people develop migraine between the age of 10 and 40 and by 50 the migraine either becomes better or go away

Others include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Bipolar disorder

Types of migraine

There are so many types of migraine but two of them are most common. They are:

  • Migraine without aura: This is the type of migraine that is not accompanied by aura. This is the most common type of migraine as most people with migraine do not experience aura.
  • Migraine with aura: this is a type of migraine that is accompanied with aura. About 25 percent of migraine suffers experiences an aura.

Other types include:

  •  Migraine aura without headache: This is also known as silent migraine where the aura and other symptoms that accompany migraine are present but there is no headache.
  • Vestibular migraine: This is a type of migraine that has symptoms such as vertigo, nausea, vomiting, and balance problems. The migraine may be come with headache or no headache. People who have history of motion sickness usually experience this type of migraine.
  • Menstrual migraine: This is the type of migraine headache that is linked with your menstrual period. The headache usually shows up 2 days before the commencement of your menstrual period and continues until 3 days after. Menstrual migraine is usually without aura.
  • Hemiplegic migraine: This is a type of migraine that comes with paralysis or weakness at one side of the body for a short period of time. The person may also experience numbness and dizziness. These symptoms should not be ignored because they can be a sign of a stroke, so once you notice them see your doctor for immediate medical attention.
  • Abdominal migraine: This type of migraine causes vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. It happens mostly in children and can progress to migraine headaches over time.


There is no cure for migraine but some medications can be used to prevent symptoms or treat them whenever they arise. These medications should be taken judiciously and all the triggers of migraine avoided. These medications include:  

  • OTC drugs: These are over-the-counter drugs that can be used to relieve migraine pains. They are pain killers. Examples of OTC drugs include acetaminophen, aspirin and ibuprofen. Do not take use these drugs too much because they can cause adverse side effects.
  • Triptans: These drugs help to reverse the changes in the brain that may cause migraines. Examples of triptans include electriptan (Relpax), zolmitriptan (Zomig), sumatriptan (imitrex), Almotriptan (Axert).
  • Antiemetics: These are drugs used to treat nausea and vomiting. Examples of antiemetics include aprepitant(Emend), dexamethasone (DexPax), dolasetron (Anzemet), granisetron (Kytril), ondasetron (zofran).
  • Gepants: Gepants are drugs that can block calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) a protein which is involved in inflammation and pain. Examples of gepants include CGRP antagonists, rimegepants, ubrogepants, and atogepants
  • Ergotamine: These drugs help to work on the chemicals in the brain causing the migraine. Cafergot, Ergomar and Migergot are examples of Ergotamine.
  • Lasmiditan (Reyvow): This drug brings relief from pain, sensitivity to light or sound and nausea associated with migraine. Lasmiditan may work by stopping pain signals from being sent to the brain and also stopping inflammation of the nerve that cause symptoms of migraine.

Home remedies

There are things that you can do at home to bring relief from migraine symptoms. They include:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take time to rest in a dark quiet room.
  • Put an ice pack or cool compress on your forehead

Preventing migraine

  • Know what triggers migraine and avoid them.
  • Eat at the right time.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Exercise regularly but let it be moderate.
  • Get enough rest after you have been stressed.

There are new gadgets that can used to prevent migraine. One of them is Cefaly which will be worn on the head. It sends electric impulses through the skin of your forehead which will affect the trigeminal nerve which triggers migraine headache. Celfaly can be used once a day for 20 minutes. Another one is gammaCore. It sends out electrical signal to the vague nerve in the neck thereby relieving pain and prevents migraine

By Ekene Arodiogbu

Ekene Arodiogbu is the CEO of Excedel World. He loves to listen to good music and watch movies in his spare time.

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