Migraine Headache is clinically defined as a vascular headache. The pain and other symptoms are associated with changes in the size of the brain’s arteries. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to trigger these changes. The most common causes include:

Emotional stress, and the "flight or fight" physical reactions that follow. We’re not talking about severe stress here. Everyday tension is enough for some unlucky people. (It’s not unusual to express that tension by clenching the jaw, or grinding teeth while awake or asleep. But scientists have some new solutions that we’ll discuss later.)

Food sensitivity, caffeine, changing weather conditions, and hormonal changes.

Finally, there are two triggers that fibromyalgia sufferers know all too well; excessive fatigue and changes in normal sleep patterns.

Although not a symptom, another clue to migraine recognition is its links with other conditions. Statistics show that these headaches are commonly associated with asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypertension, stroke and, as with fibromyalgia, sleep disorders.

If you have a parent with a history of migraines, researchers say there’s a 50 percent chance of following in their footsteps. If opposites didn’t attract and both parents have the problem, your odds jump to 75 percent. As unfair as it seems, even a distant relative increases your odds by 20 percent.

Migraine headaches are divided into two categories, and as long as we’re mentioning percentages, about 30 percent of migraine sufferers experience what’s known as the "classic" migraine. The classic is known for a 15-60 minute visual aura that signals the onset.

The auras sound like something from the 60’s drug culture: bright flashing dots or lights, blind spots, distorted vision, short-term vision loss, and jagged or wavy lines. Sometimes other senses are affected, such as: ringing in the ears, numbness, a pins and needles sensation, and changes in smell, taste or touch.

The majority of migraine sufferers don’t experience the classic and its aural prelude. Instead, they have "common" migraines. Once again, there are early warning signs similar to fibromyalgia. Common migraines often begin with anxiety, depression and fatigue. As for the actual symptoms of a migraine, it’s easy to see some more commonalities.

Most people report pounding and throbbing headaches. These often grow from dull to throbbing pain. In a survey by the NHF, 79 percent of the respondents reported sensitivity to light and sound as the most common symptom. Physical activity just makes matters worse. Migraines don’t play favorites inside your head. The pain can start in one location and shift to the other, or feel like it’s saturating the brain.

As for duration, it’s about four hours for the typical migraine. However severe migraines can last up to a week. At least the average for migraine frequency isn’t staggering. The common migraine sufferer experiences two to four per month. Obviously, even two to four migraines per month is a serious problem. Even more so in the context of fibromyalgia and pain intensity. Studies have shown that fibromyalgia sufferers appear to feel pain more acutely than others.

Migraine Headaches – – National Headache Foundation – http://www.headaches.org/

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