Research, Technology

What causes a migraine - perhaps the reason is brain abnormalities

Everyone suffers from headaches from time to time.pain - it can occur during a cold, as a result of severe fatigue, prolonged stress, and due to many other reasons. Sometimes people are attacked by a particularly severe pain in the head, which is accompanied by partial blindness, nausea, and other unpleasant symptoms. Such a headache is migrainefound in both young people andadults. Scientists generally know why people get severe headaches, but they still don't know what changes in the brain cause them. In the course of recent scientific work, scientists are one step closer to unraveling this mystery. Perhaps the results of this study will help them develop the most effective way to treat migraine, so let's look into the details.

For the first time, scientists have studied photographs of the brains of people with and without migraines, and found differences


  • How is a migraine different from a regular headache?
    • 1.1 Causes of headache
    • 1.2 Migraine symptoms
  • 2 Causes of migraine - what do scientists say?
  • 3 What triggers a migraine - a new discovery
  • 4 What medicines help with migraine

How is a migraine different from a regular headache?

First, let's figure out how to distinguish a migraine from a regular headache.

When a person has a headache, it may seemthat the source is the brain. This is a misconception because there are no pain receptors in the brain. They are only found in the meninges and blood vessels - the pain originates in them and is transmitted to the brain so that we know that there is some kind of health problem.

When a person says that he has a headache, we are not talking about the brain - it's about the vessels

Causes of a headache

Meninges and blood vessels canget sick for many reasons. Among them are high blood pressure, high body temperature, injuries and prolonged stress. In general, the usual headache most often occurs due to the fact that something is wrong with the vessels.

Most often, a common headache is the result of overwork, stress, or lack of fresh air.

The head can hurt in different places.The cause of the headache can be identified by the area of ​​concern. With increased pressure, the head usually hurts in the back of the head and throbs. Prolonged stress causes pain, which seems to "squeeze the head like a hoop." During a cold or flu, a person has a sore area above the eyebrows and temples. Sometimes the head hurts due to problems with the spine, osteochondrosis is a sharp pain in the back of the head or at the temples.

Osteochondrosis is another common cause of headaches.

On the topic of osteochondrosis: Why it is harmful to sit at a computer for a long time and how to fix it

migraine symptoms

Believe me, if a person has a migraine, he will understand about it right away. Many people learn about the onset of a migraine in advance, during the “prodrome” period.

Approximately 15-30 minutes before the onset of headache,a person begins to see worse - the so-called "aura" appears in the eye, which blocks part of the surrounding world. There are also difficulties in thinking, nausea, high sensitivity to light and sounds, changes in smell and taste.

The migraine aura looks something like this

After this, the symptoms of the prodrome usually disappear, butexcruciating pain begins on one side of the head. It usually lasts from 4 to 72 hours, and the frequency is from once every few years to periodic attacks every month. Most often, women suffer from migraines, but men also sometimes have them.

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Causes of migraine - what do scientists say?

If you search the Internet for information about what causes migraine, you can understand that the answers are very banal.

Here are the most commonly cited causes of migraines:

  • Wrong nutrition. For some people, migraine occurs with alcohol, coffee abuse, lack of water, and frequent skipping meals;
  • Sleep problems. A person is also at risk of suffering from a migraine due to lack of sleep, lying in bed too long, or a sudden change in daily routine.
  • Environmental changes. Another likely cause of migraine is long journeys, excessive physical activity, frequent change of time zones.
  • Anxiety and stress. Everyone already knows perfectly well that a long stay in stress does not lead to anything good. Emotional stress can cause both ordinary headaches and migraines.
  • Hormonal changes. A little higher, we noted that women most often suffer from migraines. Perhaps this is due to the adoption of contraceptives, menstruation and the passage of hormone replacement therapy.

Undoubtedly, all these factors can cause migraines. If you had it, you may have already noticed that one of the points listed above hit the mark.

Stress is a common cause of migraine

But this is only a superficial explanation of the reasonmigraine occurrence. What if we dig deeper? What in the human body makes it predisposed to attacks of severe headache? Recently, scientists have found that the cause may lie in the features of the brain.

Read and remember: 5 Best Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy

What triggers a migraine - a new discovery

As part of a new scientific work, Americanneurophysiologists studied the MRI of the brain of 25 people. Ten people were diagnosed with chronic migraine, ten more had episodic migraine, and five people were completely healthy - these are members of the control group for comparison of results.

The arrow on the left indicates microbleeding in the brain in migraine with aura. The arrow on the right shows the asymmetry in the appearance of the vessels.

Image analysis showed that people with migrainethere are oddities in the perivascular spaces - the so-called fluid-filled places around the blood vessels of the brain. In people with frequent headaches, these spaces were markedly enlarged in the semi-oval center, which is located just under the cerebral cortex. Scientists still don't know what role the perivascular spaces play, but they are definitely part of the fluid excretion system in the brain. There are good reasons to believe that increasing them somehow makes people more prone to migraines.

Arrows indicate dilated perivascularspaces of the semioval center in the brain of a person with chronic migraine. Image B shows the brain of a healthy person who does not have these abnormalities.

According to researcher Wilson Xu,this is the first MRI study to study microvascular changes in the brain to identify the causes of migraine. The reason that some people often have a severe headache with aura in the eyes may be due to an abnormality in the brain. Perhaps this discovery in the future will help scientists develop the best medicine for migraine.

Required reading: What are the most popular myths about the brain and why?

What medicines help with migraine

Usually migraine helps combinedanalgesics - painkillers. It is difficult to name a specific brand, because each person has his own body, and what helps one may be useless for another. It is recommended to drink them during the prodrome, when blind spots appear before the eyes, but there is still no pain in the head.

Combined decongestants work well for migraine

It is also better for people with migraines to stop working and lie down in a dark room with fresh air. Some people report that showering sometimes helps with migraines, but this method may not be suitable for everyone.

If the headache disturbs often and lasts a long time, you need to see a doctor This could be a symptom of a serious illness. If severe pain occurs suddenly, need to call an ambulance, because it can be a sign of a sharp deterioration in health, in which you can not hesitate.

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Finally, I would like to ask if you have ever suffered from a migraine? How did you get through it? Share your experience in the comments or our Telegram chat.