Migraine headaches are one of the most frustrating and benign disorders known to medicine. The more than 25 million Americans afflicted with migraines have a profound and often frustrated appreciation for the impact this disorder can have on someone's life.
Migraines are one end of the headache spectrum, tending to occur more frequently in women, and often running in families. Associated with "warnings" called auras in about 20 percent of patients, migraines in some people can also be associated with nausea, vomiting, light and hearing sensitivity. Most migraine sufferers report their headache tends to manifest on one side of the head with varying intensity.
Doctors used to believe that migraines were created by vascular abnormalities where blood vessels in the brain first constricted and then dilated. Current thinking is that migraines are caused by a neurological event in the brain stem, the base of the brain, which causes the nerves and blood vessels in the brain to interact and cause pain. The head pain can be so severe that the individual cannot function. Experiencing migraine headaches can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining.