Most migraines are caused by some type of problem with the pain-sensitive structures in your head, including the nerves, blood vessels, or muscles around your skull, or the chemical activity within your brain.
Although experts don’t completely understand precisely what prompts a reaction in the pain-sensitive structures in your head, a variety of potential triggers are associated with migraines, including:
Migraines usually cause a severe pulsing sensation on one side of the head, and they’re often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can last for a few hours or several days. People who have these debilitating headaches often find that they interfere with daily life.
Most migraines progress through four distinct stages, but you may not experience each one every time.
The first stage, which occurs about a day before a migraine strikes, may include subtle bodily changes that signal an impending attack, such as neck stiffness.
This stage can occur before or during a migraine. It includes visual disturbances, such as seeing bright spots or flashes of light, and may also include a temporary loss of vision, facial weakness, or a pins-and-needles sensation in a limb.
The migraine itself can last anywhere from four to 72 hours, causing pain on one or both sides of your head, blurred vision, lightheadedness, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea or vomiting.
In the final stage, you may experience weakness, moodiness, dizziness, or confusion.
If you started having migraines after sustaining a head injury, you may be experiencing post-traumatic headache (PTH) disorder. PTH isn’t only an effect of severe brain trauma; it’s just as likely to occur after mild and moderate brain injuries, too.
Persistent PTH is post-traumatic headaches that don’t completely subside within three months, is more likely to affect patients who have a history of chronic headaches or those with a family history of migraines.