Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Migraine Headaches

Migraine Headaches

What are migraine headaches?

This throbbing type of headache is distinguished by the fact that symptoms other than pain occur with the headache. Nausea and vomiting, lightheadedness, sensitivity to light (photophobia), and other visual disturbances are common migraine symptoms.

Migraines are also unique in that they have distinct phases. Not all individuals experience each phase, however. The phases of a migraine headache may include:

What are the most common types of migraines?

Migraine classification helps to guide treatment. The categories below help to narrow down the classification process.

How are migraines diagnosed?

Migraine headaches are diagnosed primarily based on reported symptoms, but a thorough medical exam, which may include other tests or procedures, may be used to rule out underlying diseases or conditions.

Tracking and sharing information about your headache with your doctor helps with the process of making an accurate diagnosis. Consider writing down the following information to take to your medical appointment:

Diagnostic tests that may be used to confirm a migraine diagnosis include computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imagining (MRI), and spinal tap (lumbar puncture). These tests help to rule out other problems, such as tumors, infection, or blood vessel irregularities, that may cause migraine-like symptoms.

What is the treatment for migraines?

Specific treatment for headaches will be determined by your doctor based on:

The ultimate goal of treatment is to stop migraines from occurring. Adequate management depends on the accurate identification of the type of headache and may include:

Migraine headaches may require specific medication management including:

Some headaches may require immediate medical attention, including hospitalization for observation, diagnostic testing, or even surgery. Treatment is individualized, depending on the underlying condition causing the headache. Full recovery depends on the type of headache and other medical problems that may be present.

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Nervous System Disorders

 

Top of Page return to top of page