At Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Neuroscience Institute, we work with you to diagnose and relieve your pain. We use personalized treatment plans and a wide range of treatment options – including promising new medications that may prevent migraines from starting – to get you much-needed migraine relief.
Migraines involve much more than throbbing head pain. They are the subject of intense investigation by medical researchers, and physicians currently believe that a migraine is a medical disorder that affects the brain and nervous system. Doctors still have much to learn about the exact cause of migraines and the most effective ways to treat them.
Although people usually experience migraine headaches on one side of the head, some people have pain on both sides. A migraine attack can last hours or even days, and some people may only find comfort by lying down in a quiet, dark room.
Learn more about other types of headaches, including cluster headaches and tension headaches.
People may experience migraine symptoms differently. The most typical migraine symptom is an intense throbbing and pounding pain, which may come with nausea and vomiting or extreme sensitivity to light and sounds. There are known migraine symptoms that often occur before, during, or after an attack:
One or two days before a migraine, you may notice slight changes that indicate an oncoming migraine, including:
Some people experience an aura (visual change) or other nervous system symptoms that usually begin slowly and may last for 20 to 60 minutes, including:
When untreated, a migraine usually lasts from four hours to three days. This timeframe differs in each person. You may have migraines several times a month or much less often. You may experience any or all of these symptoms:
The final phase of a migraine is known as postdrome, or after the attack. During this time people often feel drained and washed out. Some people report feeling mildly euphoric, or overjoyed.
We offer expert guidance on headache care. We may recommend imaging tests to confirm a diagnosis or rule out other potential causes of your pain.
We talk with you to help pinpoint the cause of your headache pain. During a thorough medical history and physical examination, we may ask you about:
We pursue multiple options when treating migraines. Our physicians work with you to determine the best treatment choice (or choices) for your situation and symptoms. Read more about our expert approach to headache care.
Migraine treatments include: