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Migraine Headache

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is a migraine headache?

A migraine is a severe headache. The pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities. A migraine can last a few hours up to several days. The exact cause of migraines is not known. A family history of migraines increases your risk. Your risk is also higher if you are a woman or take medicines such as estrogen or a vasodilator.

What are the warning signs that a migraine headache is about to start?

Warning signs usually start 15 to 60 minutes before the headache:

What are the signs and symptoms of a migraine headache?

A migraine headache usually begins as a dull ache around the eye or temple. The pain may get worse with movement. You may also have the following:

Headache Types

What can trigger a migraine headache?

How is a migraine headache diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your headaches. Describe the pain and any other symptoms, such as nausea. Tell the provider if you think anything triggered the pain. The provider will also want to know what you ate and drank before the pain started. Tell the provider about any medical conditions you have or that run in your family. Include any recent stressors you have had. You may also need any of the following:

How is a migraine headache treated?

Migraines cannot be cured. The goal of treatment is to reduce your symptoms.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What can I do to manage my symptoms?

What can I do to prevent another migraine headache?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Learn more about Migraine Headache

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.