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Healthy Way: Dealing with Migraines

OhioHealth Neurologist Weighs in on What Happens, How to Treat

Migraines can impact someone's life. So much so, it can bring that life to a halt, and several times a day. For neurologists, figuring out what is happening, what is causing the migraines in the first place can be a challenge. The triggers can differ vastly from patient to patient.

"What sets migraines, chronic or not, apart from headaches caused by allergies, viruses, and other conditions is where the pain shows up and what it feels like," says Geoffrey Eubank, MD, system medical chief of general neurology at OhioHealth Neuroscience.

What sets migraines apart from a headache is the severity and frequency that the person suffers from the problems.  In many cases, it can cause a person to not be able to handle noises, conversations, lights, and more.

"Typically, migraine pain is on one side of the head, but it can be on both sides, and it can be in the front of the head or even the face, Eubank says. "That can make it confusing for sufferers, who often confuse migraines with sinus headaches."

As for causes, there can be many. They can be hard to predict, hard to pinpoint, and difficult to know how to turn them off.

“There definitely appears to be genetic influences the predispose some people to migraines, and there are many environmental triggers,” Dr. Eubank says. “Ultimately, it appears there may be an imbalance of serotonin in people with migraines and drops in serotonin levels seem to occur before migraine happens. This causes the release of other neurochemicals within the brainstem that ultimately triggers the headache and many of the other symptoms that occur during migraine.”

Experts say there are options for treatments that can include pharmacedicals, congnitive therapy, and biofeedback.

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