Common Migraine Questions

What is migraine?
Migraine is more than a headache. It is a disorder that affects the brain, as well as the nerves found throughout the spinal cord and the rest of the body, and it causes intense pain on one side of the head. Migraine attacks usually include symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and/or sound. Generally, there are 2 common types of migraine: aura and without aura. Aura causes people to see flashes of light, have blind spots, or feel tingling in their hands and feet.1 About 20 to 25% of people who have migraine have it with aura.2
What are the stages of migraine?
Migraine can work through 4 key stages: prodrome, aura, attack, and postdrome. But not everyone who has migraines goes through all stages.3
Are men and women impacted equally?
No. Around 3 times more women than men have migraine. One out of 4 women will have migraine attacks at some point in their lives.4
What to know about migraine post-pregancy.
It's estimated that 25% of women will have a migraine attack within 2 weeks of giving birth, and up to 50% of women will have one within a month of giving birth.5
What type of doctor should I talk to about migraine?
Not every doctor is an expert in migraine, so your primary care physician or general practitioner may refer you to a neurologist—a specialist who treats diseases of the brain and spinal cord, who can help fine-tune your treatment regimen.6
How many people globally are impacted by migraine?
Migraine affects more than 1 billion people each year across the world, so it is a lot more common than you might think. And it is one of the most common disorders that affect the brain and nervous system.7
Is migraine heredetary?
It is estimated that up to 60% of people with migraine have close family members who also live with migraine.8
Can migraine frequency and severity change over my lifetime?
As people living with migraine age, migraine attacks may become less frequent and severe. They may also experience decreased sensitivity to noise, light, and smells.9
Do I need a formal diagnosis from a neurologist to get treated for migraine?
According to the American Migraine Foundation, migraine symptoms can be similar to the symptoms of stroke, seizures, or other conditions. Your doctor will exclude other medical conditions to confirm a migraine diagnosis.5
References: 1. Migraine. National Health Service (NHS). Updated May 10, 2019. Accessed January, 2023. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/migraine/. 2. Brain and Life. Should I be concerned about ocular migraines? Published July 2014. Accessed January 31, 2023. https://www.brainandlife.org/articles/should-i-be-concerned-about-ocular-migraines. 3. Migraine symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Accessed January 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201. 4. Al-Hassany L, Haas J, Piccininni M, Kurth T, Maassen Van Den Brink A, Rohmann JL. Giving researchers a headache: Sex and gender differences in migraine. Front Neurol. 2020;11:549038. 5. New moms with migraine: Understanding postpartum headache. American Migraine Foundation. Published January 25, 2018. Accessed January 30, 2023. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/postpartum-headache/. 6. Upham B. How is migraine diagnosed. Reviewed March 14, 2022. Accessed January 30, 2022. https://www.everydayhealth.com/migraine/diagnosis/. 7. Amiri P, Kazeminasab S, Nejadghaderi SA, et al. Migraine: A review on its history, global epidemiology, risk factors, and comorbidities. Front Neurol. 2022;12:800605. 8. Migraine headaches. Cleveland Clinic. Reviewed March 3, 2021. Accessed January 30, 2023. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/5005-migraine-headaches. 9. How migraine evolves with age. American Headache Society. Accessed January 30, 2023. https://americanheadachesociety.org/news/migraine-evolves-age/.