A migraine is a throbbing headache which often attacks one side of the head. Nausea, vomiting, sleep disruption and sensitivity to light, sound and odour, good and bad are associated with migraine. Depression is also a symptom. Migraine attacks are often recurrent and the severity decreases with increase of age.

Migraines can occur at any age, but normally begin 10 and 40 years of age. It may diminish after 50 years of age. Few suffer a lot and others may have only few attacks in their lifetime.

Around 75% of migraine sufferers are women.

The most common migraines are migraine with aura and migraine without aura. The less common types include abdominal migraine, basilar artery migraine, opthalmoplegic migraine, status migraine, headache-free migraine and carotidynia.

Migraine without aura is the most common type and can occur on one or both sides of the head. Tiredness and mood changes may be experienced a day before the attack. The accompanying conditions are nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light.

Abdominal migraine is common in children with a family history of migraine. The symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and flushing and paleness. These children often develop migraine in adulthood.

Basiliar artery migraine is caused by the disturbance of the basilar artery in the brainstem. The symptoms include severe headache, double vision, slurred speech, poor muscle coordination and vertigo. This type occurs mainly in young adults.

Carotidynia is also called facial migraine. The symptoms are deep, dull pain and sometimes piercing pain in the jaw or neck. This type occurs commonly in old people.

Headache-free migraine is shown by the presence of aura without headache. This occurs in persons with a history of migraine with aura. Visual auras are described as bright shimmering lights around objects or at the edges of the field of vision or zigzag lines, castles, wavy images and hallucinations. Others may experience temporary vision loss. Nonvisual auras include motor weakness, speech or language abnormalities, dizziness, vertigo and tingling or numbness of the face, tongue or extremities.

Opthalmoplegic migraine begins with a headache felt in the eyes and is accompanied by vomiting. With increase of the headache, the eyelid droops and the nerves responsible of eye movement are paralysed. It may continue for days or weeks.

Status migraine is a rare, but severe migraine involving intense pain which lasts usually longer than 72 hours. The patient requires intensive treatment.

The diagnosis is done by your neurological specialist and he will treat you also. Your doctor analyse your migraine history and make an appropriate treatment programme. The aims are to prevent and reduce the migraine attacks and also shorten the duration of migraine.

The drugs used are beta blockers, antiepileptic drugs, calcium channel blockers, SSRIs and antidepressants. Persons with very severe migraines are treated with methysergide maleate. Mono or multi drug therapy is used according to the need. 60% patients need drugs. All these medicines have adverse side effects.