Dr. Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India
First Created: 01/02/2001  Last Updated: 08/01/2015

Patient Education

What is migraine?

Migraine is a particular kind of headache that is episodic (generally occurs from one to four times a month), is throbbing in nature, and generally on side of the head. Sometimes the pain may be on both sides of the head.

What is the cause of migraine?

Migraine occurs due to spasm of the blood vessels supplying the brain. This leads to the expansion of other blood vessels and the throbbing of vessels to maintain blood and oxygen supply to the brain. This leads to a pounding and throbbing headache.

Usually migraine occurs due to certain triggering factors. Common triggers are:

  • Exposure to bright light
  • Exposure to certain food (chocolates, cheese, bananas, yogurt, fried food, monosodium glutamate)
  • Stress
  • Menses
  • Too much caffeine
  • Sleep problems
  • Travel

Though, why a particular person gets migraines is still not known, it is usually found to run in families and may have a genetic basis.

What happens with a migraine?

Most migraines last from half an hour to a few hours. Most children have an aura that a migraine is coming on. Common auras include blurred vision, seeing bright lights or jagged lines, or smelling a certain odor. An aura usually starts about 10 to 30 minutes before the start of migraine followed by a throbbing headache.

What is the treatment for migraine?

Most migraines respond to painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Sometimes anti-vomiting drugs may be required to reduce nausea and vomiting. If migraines are too frequent leading to absentees from school, certain "preventive" medications need to be taken to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. These medications need to be taken under a doctor's supervision. The biofeedback mechanism to learn to relax and suggestions to control heart rate and muscle stress may help to remain calm and stop the attack. Avoiding triggering factors helps to prevent migraines.

Is migraine a life long condition?

Most of the children outgrow their migraines.

Migraine Migraine https://www.pediatriconcall.com/show_article/default.aspx?main_cat=pediatric-neurology&sub_cat=migraine&url=migraine-patient-education 2015-08-01
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