Five Things to Know About Migraine

Answers from a Headache Expert

By Matt Windsor   |   Illustrations by Ron Gamble


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1. Migraine Doesn’t Fit the Stereotypes

“Migraine is not just one type of headache,” says neurologist John F. Rothrock, M.D., director of the UAB Headache Treatment and Research Program. “It implies a spectrum of headache. A migraine attack may involve visual aura only, without any head pain, or it can involve what everyone thinks of as ‘migraine’—a throbbing, sickening, and very, very severe headache. Or it can be anything along the spectrum between those two extremes—including a relatively mild headache that precisely resembles a tension-type headache. Besides that, in individual patients the migraine follows its own particular path as the months and years pass. At some point some patients find their headache disorder may “transform” from episodic migraine to chronic migraine. Of these, some spontaneously may remit back to episodic migraine. It’s a dynamic disorder that changes its clinical pattern over the person’s lifetime.”

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