The word migraine is actually French in origin although it comes from the Greek hemicrania.
Migraine is, as a rule, a blinding headache, usually combined with flashing lights and vomiting. They can also occur in other parts of the body. Chronic sufferers often find it difficult to hold down a job because of their unpredictable nature; they can come on at any time and sometimes last for several days.
Very often there is no real effective medication, although there are plenty available. A cool cloth held to the head, when a person is suffering from a migraine headache, can be quite soothing, although rarely gets rid of the pain.
Frequently, sufferers have pain to just one side of the head (sometimes referred to a neuralgic migraine). Interestingly, three quarters of adult migraine patients are female but pre-puberty migraine affects approximately equal numbers of boys and girls. This could be due to hormones.
Some attacks will last for several days and can often be set off due to some kind of food intolerance, for example chocolate, cheese, fruit, alcohol have all been known to trigger an attack. Some triggers are hormonal; around menstruation for example. The contraceptive pill has also triggered migraine attacks.
It’s not common for pregnant women to suffer from migraine.
Migraines vary in severity from quite mild to almost unbearable.
Migraine is often hereditary but it is not a condition that is really understood.
During an attack, the blood vessels in the brain dilate and then draw together with stimulation of nerve endings near the affected blood vessels. These changes to the blood vessels are probably what cause the pain.
Sufferers should always attend their GP for an examination to eliminate the possibility of other causes.
A thorough initial consultation will help decide which is the best course of action, e.g Suggestion therapy or THRIVE .