June 16, 2023

Migraine: What it is and how to treat it

A fairly common health problem that affects a significant percentage of the population affecting their daily life is migraine, a form of headache that usually occurs in young adulthood.

What is a migraine?

The word migraine is often used for any type of headache, however it should be understood that it is actually a complex chronic neurological disease with special characteristics. This means it’s not just a headache. It is the second most common form of headache after tension headache and affects approximately 12% of the population, a very significant percentage if we consider the burden on the patients’ quality of life and everyday life. It usually appears in adolescence and young adulthood and peaks in the 4th decade of life, while after the 5th decade it tends to decline gradually. It is up to 3 times more common in women.

What causes a migraine?

The clear etiology and exact mechanism of migraine are not fully understood, as it has a complex neurobiological basis. It is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Often there is a hereditary background, and we find a positive family history in almost 70% of patients during history taking.

What are the effects of migraine on the patient’s life?

Many migraine sufferers report that the pain of a migraine is some of the strongest they have ever experienced. In addition, the pain may show little response to common analgesics leading the patient to abstain from work, family and social life while waiting for the pain cycle to complete, which can last up to 3 days with each episode. Accompanying symptoms beyond pain, such as nausea, photophobia, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and vomiting, also have a great impact on the patients’ quality of life. It is worth noting that migraine is worldwide the first cause of disability in patients under 50 years of age and is associated with a large socio-economic burden.