More About Migraines
Download a Patient Information Sheet (PDF) about migraines.
UT Southwestern Medical Center brings together the latest research and therapies to offer patients compassionate, comprehensive care for migraines.
At UT Southwestern, we recognize that migraine care is not one size fits all. We tailor each patient’s treatment to meet his or her unique needs.
Migraines are the most common type of disabling headache and a leading cause of missed workdays and lost productivity. Approximately 15 to 20 percent of the population is affected (18 percent of women, 6 percent of men and children). After puberty, the headaches are three times more common in women than men.
Migraine headaches in adults usually last for hours, but sometimes they last for days. The visual or neurological symptoms can last between seconds and hours but usually last less than 45 minutes. These symptoms can become permanent. Migraines in young children are briefer, usually lasting less than two hours.
Activity usually makes migraine symptoms worse, so most people prefer to lie down in a dark, quiet room and can often get relief with sleep.
Headache specialists at UT Southwestern combine the latest research and therapies to offer people with migraines relief from their symptoms and reduce migraine frequency.
Migraines can produce many kinds of visual or neurological symptoms, which are caused by transient inflammation of vessels, dilation of blood vessels, and abnormal firing of nerve cells in the brain. These symptoms sometimes develop in progression – for example, a person might develop numbness on the face that resolves, then weakness of the arm that resolves, then flashing lights. Some people know “it will be a migraine day” because of tiredness, excessive energy, mood changes, yawning, or food cravings that precede the actual migraine symptoms.
Symptoms of a migraine vary from person to person. They include any of the following, as well as other, less common symptoms:
In addition to these classic symptoms, many people also experience:
There is also an association between migraine and some medical conditions, such as:
Migraine headaches often run in families, and knowing about other family members’ headaches is often helpful for the diagnosis and treatment of the condition. If a patient’s symptoms are typical for migraine and the neurological exam is normal, usually no additional tests are needed to make a diagnosis, particularly if there is a family history of migraine.
If a patient’s symptoms are not typical, or the headaches develop later in life, a brain scan and other tests might be recommended to rule out other conditions, such as vascular disease or blood clots from the neck or heart.
The key to successful management of migraine is communication between patient and physician. UT Southwestern specialists work with each patient to come up with a solution that works for the individual.
April 19, 2018
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