About Migraines

A migraine can cause severe pain, pulsing or throbbing in the head that can last from a few hours to a few days if untreated. This—in addition to symptoms other than pain—makes migraines distinct from just a bad headache.

Migraine headaches are a neurological condition that can occur with varying frequency—from only rarely to many days each month. For some people, the symptoms can be so disabling that it disrupts their personal, family and work life.

Migraines are about three times more common in women than men1

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How a doctor may diagnose migraines

A physician trained in treating headaches can diagnose migraines based on:

  • Symptoms
  • Medical history
  • Family history of migraines
  • Physical and neurological exam

Your doctor may also order additional tests, such as an MRI or CT scan, to rule out any other causes.

Migraine symptoms

Symptoms vary from person to person and can include:

  • Intense throbbing or pulsing pain
  • Pain on one side of the head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Extreme sensitivity to light, noise or smells
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness

After a migraine attack, you may also feel exhausted, confused, moody, dizzy or weak.

What are auras?

Some patients experience an “aura” before a migraine. Auras begin gradually, build up and then fade, and can include:

  • Flashing lights, zigzag patterns or blind spots
  • Tunnel vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the face or hands
  • Muscle weakness

Migraine triggers

While the causes of migraines aren’t well understood, for some people certain “triggers” can raise the risk of having a migraine attack. These may include:

  • Hormones
  • Stress
  • Certain foods, drinks or smells
  • Alcohol or caffeine
  • Bright lights or loud noises
  • Weather changes
  • Lack of sleep
  • Hunger or dehydration

Living with migraines

While we don’t yet have a cure, taking preventive medications, such as Qudexy® XR, can help reduce the frequency of migraines.

Here are some additional things you can do to be proactive about your migraines:

  • Be alert for signs that may signal an upcoming migraine, including mood changes, food cravings, increased thirst and urination, even frequent yawning.
  • Pay attention to what seems to trigger your headaches and avoid the triggers when you can.
  • Help manage your migraines by changing your diet; eating, sleeping and exercising regularly; and reducing stress.
  • Talk to your family, friends and employer to help them understand how your migraines can affect your ability to fulfill your responsibilities.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to stop migraines before they start.

Migraine resources

Mayo Clinic
Information about migraine symptoms, causes and treatment.

American Migraine Foundation (AMF)
Patient support, education and advocacy.

Migraine Research Foundation
Migraine research projects and clinical data.

U.S. National Library of Medicine/Medline Plus
Migraine-related topics for adults and teens.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you suffer from severe migraines, talk to your doctor about your symptoms.