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It’s not only limited to a headache!

Astrial William D’mello,

St. Xavier's College (Autonomous),

Mumbai, Maharashtra, India


What is a migraine?

Migraine is an episodic headache that is a result of the activation of the Trigeminovascular system (TGVS). A neurobiological condition that can lead to various other symptoms that can be attributed to changes in cortical functions.Its consequences in mild or excessive routine complications which feel like a throbbing ache on one facet of the head. A migraine episode is completely different from a normal headache.

Causes of migraine:

1.Cerebral cortex – There are several pieces of evidence regarding migraine that are associated with changes in cortical activity. Migraine is related to numerous signs and symptoms which might be related to changes in cortical function. Functional imaging research showed that dramatic changes in blood flow and metabolic activity are related to migraine.

2. Brainstem – According to Functional imaging studies, proved that always there may be activation of the brainstem all through migraine attacks, particularly the area of the dorsolateral pons in migraine patients.

3. Trigeminal pathway – Migraine is caused by activation of TGVS in which trigeminal afferents lead to the activation of structures that are involved in the transmission and perception of pain and there is the liberation of vasoactive peptides (leading to neurogenic inflammation).

4.Genetic component – two genes lead to a rare form of migraine they are CACNA1A (encodes a subunit of Ca2+ channel) and ATP1A2 (encodes a subunit of Na/K ATPase).

Common reasons are exposure to bright lights, excess stress, dehydration, hormone changes in women, loud sounds, intense physical activity, smoking, traveling, changes in sleep patterns, etc.

Different types of migraine:

But before the headaches, some sensory changes are known as an aura. Different types of migraine are migraine with aura, migraine without aura, migraine without the headache which is also known as silent migraine and another type of migraine are chronic migraine in which there are 15 headaches days a month and migraine headaches on at least 8 days, menstrual migraine occurs due to decrease in usual estrogen levels that take place just before the menstrual period, hemiplegic migraine in which patients experience migraine headache with weakness on any one side of the body, abdominal migraine in which there is belly ache instead of a headache, vestibular migraine which shows constant dizziness and basilar migraine show symptoms in which sight is affected.


The most common symptom is a headache on one side of the head. Symptoms for migraine are increased sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, pulsing and throbbing head pain, increase thirst and urination, mood changes from depression to euphoria, and vomiting. symptoms for prodrome stage that is 2-3 days before migraine are food cravings, depression, hyperactivity, irritability, and neck stiffness.


There is no permanent cure for migraines, but steps can be taken to reduce the frequency and intensity of the attack. Medications such as pain-relief are used to treat symptoms.

Migraine is the third most common disease in the world with an estimation of one in seven people suffering from it. This condition is the most disabling lifetime condition but still, there is very little awareness and understanding about this. According to the Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients (CHAMP), National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month are recognized in June by the Federal government. Various hashtags are used to spread awareness such as #letsbeatmigraine and #migraineawaressweak. There are various risk factors such as migraine in family history can lead to huge chances of developing ahead, as well as women are three times more likely to suffer from migraine rather than men. Awareness is necessary to detect migraine in the acute stage so that the necessary precautions are taken.


· Pietrobon, D., & Striessnig, J. (203 C.E.). Neurobiology of migraine. Neurobiology of Migraine, 4, 386–398.

· Migraine - Symptoms, and causes. (2020, January 16). Mayo Clinic.,interferes%20with%20your%20daily%20activities.

· Nall, R. M. (2017, December 20). Everything You Want to Know About Migraine. Healthline.

· Webberley, H. M. (2020, August 19). Everything you need to know about migraine. Everything You Need to Know About Migraine.

· The neurobiology of migraine. (2017, July 3). The Neurobiology of Migraine.

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