A to Z: Migraine

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A to Z: Migraine

A migraine is a recurring headache that causes intense throbbing in a particular area of the head.

More to Know

Migraines often include symptoms of nausea; dizziness; and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell. Sensory warning signs, called auras, sometimes signal that a migraine is coming on. Most auras are visual disturbances like flashing lights, zig-zag lines, or blind spots.

Migraines can be debilitating, lasting anywhere from hours to several days. Migraines are thought to be related to changes in the brain as well as genetic factors (they tend to run in families). Common migraine triggers include sleep disturbances, stress, diet, and hormonal changes.

Medications can be prescribed to help ease migraine symptoms. Lying down in a quiet, dark place and keeping hydrated can be very helpful.

Keep in Mind

Migraines are common, affecting about 12% of the U.S. population. While they can be disabling, forcing students to miss school and activities, most can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. The best treatment is, when possible, avoiding triggers that bring on the migraines.

Frequent or severe headaches should be evaluated by a doctor to determine the cause and best treatment plan.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Related Resources

OrganizationNational Headache Foundation (NHF) NHF's mission is to serve as an information resource for people who get headaches, their families, and the health care providers who treat them.

Related Articles

First Aid: Headaches Headaches are rarely a sign of something serious. Here's what to do if your child has a headache.
Headaches Headaches affect kids as well as adults. Learn about common causes and when to talk to a doctor.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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