Migraines & Headaches
A migraine is a throbbing, intense headache. Painful and sometimes disabling, they are also sometimes accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light, noise or smell.
Migraines tend to recur, typically lasting 4 to 24 hours and sometimes longer. During a migraine attack, changes to chemicals and blood vessels in the brain are thought to be the cause of the pain.
The most common symptoms of a migraine include:
– A severe, throbbing and prolonged headache which can last anywhere between 4 hours and 3 days – this is usually felt on one side of the head or the front, but can extend over the whole head and even to the face and neck
– The headache will often get worse with movement
– Once the headache has ended it is not uncommon to feel fatigued for up to a week after
– Increased sensitivity to light or sound
– Stomach upset
– Feeling either very cold or very hot
– Difficulty with concentration
This is by no means a complete list of the symptoms, but if you suffer from these it may be a sign that you have a migraine.
Causes of Migraines
Unfortunately, the exact nature of how a migraine is caused has not yet been discovered, but it is believed to be a result of changes in the blood vessels and chemicals of the brain. If you are experiencing severe headaches or migraines you should visit your GP to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
How common are migraines?
One study by the UK charity Migraine Action† found that 1 in 7 Brits regularly suffer from migraines.
How big an impact are Migraines having on the UK?
The same study also showed that migraines may be incredibly costly to the UK’s economy, with 90% of migraine sufferers having had to take time off work, while a quarter of sufferers admit to having had to take over 15 days (the equivalent of 3 working weeks) off work due to their migraines.
†Survey by Migraine Action on behalf of YorkTest, 2014