A severe headache with throbbing pain on one side of the head is usually a migraine. Many people have symptoms like feeling sick and high sensitivity to lights or sounds.
The condition is common, affecting one in five women and one in fifteen men. They begin early in adulthood. There are several types of migraine, including:
- Migraine without aura: A most common type where the condition happens without any warning signs
- Migraine with aura: Where the particular warning signs begin just before the migraines, such as seeing flashing lights
- Migraine aura without headache or silent headache: Where the symptoms happen without developing a migraine
Some might have frequent migraines, multiple times a week, while others have occasional migraines, which can also be between years.
The specific cause of migraine is unknown, but there are results of temporary changes in the brain’s chemicals, blood vessels, and nerves. More than half who experience migraines also have a close family member with a similar condition. For some, it can also develop due to some triggers, which can include:
- Beginning of the menstrual cycle
- Specific drinks or foods
The primary symptom is an intense headache on one side of the head. The pain is usually a throbbing sensation that worsens and prevents you from carrying out everyday activities. If the pain occurs on both sides of your head, it can also affect your neck or face.
Additional symptoms are:
- Feeling sick
- Being sick
- Increased sensitivity to light and sounds (so many with the condition want to rest in a quiet, dark room)
Some might also experience:
- Poor concentration
- Feeling cold or hot
- Abdomen pain
One in three people will have temporary migraines warning signs called the aura. Those include:
- Visual problems
- Tingling sensations
- Difficulty speaking
- Loss of consciousness
These symptoms typically develop for about five minutes and last up to an hour.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022