A migraine refers to a headache that causes severe pain beyond a normal headache. Migraines usually present with a throbbing, pulsing sensation along the side of the head. Migraines also often coincide with nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. These attacks can last anywhere between several hours to days and can interfere with daily activities.

What are the symptoms of a migraine?

Early warning signs of a migraine can occur 1-2 days before the migraine itself, with sometimes subtle symptoms such as:

  • Constipation
  • Mood swings
  • Cravings for food
  • Stiffness of the neck
  • Fluid retention and frequent need to urinate
  • Yawning

For some patients, a warning symptom known as an aura occurs before or alongside the headache. This “aura” is described by patients as a visual disturbance, such as blind spots or hazy flashes of light. Other disturbances such as a physical tingling sensation on one side of the face or difficulty speaking may also herald the onset of a migraine.

What are the causes of a migraine?

Genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role in migraines, however, migraine’s direct causes currently remain unknown.

Changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve (a major pain pathway) may be a cause. Imbalances in brain chemicals — including serotonin, which helps regulate pain in your nervous system also may contribute.

Neurotransmitters including calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) play a role in the pain of a migraine.

What triggers a migraine?

  • Hormonal changes in women: Fluctuations in estrogen, pregnancy, menstrual cycles, and menopause seem to be a trigger in women. Oral contraceptives also can worsen migraines, however,  some find that their migraines occur less often when taking these medications.
  • Drinks: Alcoholic drinks (especially wine) and caffeine, such as coffee.
  • Stress
  • Sensory stimuli: Bright or flashing lights, loud sounds, and strong smells — such as perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke, etc. — trigger migraines in some people.
  • Sleep changes: Too much or too little sleep can trigger migraines in some people.
  • Physical factors: Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, might provoke migraines.
  • Weather changes: Migraines can be triggered by weather changes or barometric pressure.
  • Medications: Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can prompt migraines.
  • Foods: Processed foods, salty foods, and aged cheeses may trigger migraines. Skipping meals may also aggravate migraines.
  • Food additives: The sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG) often lead to migraines.

What are the treatments for a migraine?


Patients can use medications that can help mitigate migraines and make them less painful or avoid them altogether.

If you or a loved one suffers from migraines, contact us. Let Nextgen Wellness give you the care you deserve.




Our mission is to help patients to return to work, improve their quality of life, reduce dependence on medication and healthcare providers, and avoid persistent injuries.

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