Migraine is the commonest cause of headache in the world, affecting about 15% of all women and 5% of all men. It affects younger people, affecting their education or employment. It is important to make an early and accurate diagnosis of migraine so that the best treatment can be started early.
Diagnosis of migraine is based on clinical signs and symptoms and usually no investigations are necessary.
Following features are suggestive of a migraine:
1. Headache- classically on one side of the head, but it may occur on both sides, it is described as pulsatile or throbbing type. Headache episodes last for more than 4 hours, and upto 72 hours.
2. Nausea (a feeling of vomiting) or vomiting
3. Photophobia or phonophobia- headache gets worse on exposure to bright light or noise.
Following features may not be suggestive of migraine and in these cases, one should consult a neurologist (a brain scan may be necessary):
1. Most severe headache of the lifetime,
2. Early morning headaches,
3. Drowsiness along with headache,
4. Weakness of one side of body,
5. Occurrence of fits or convulsions.
If you notice any of the above symptoms, please contact your neurologist or family doctor.
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD (Internal Medicine) DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant Neurologist
Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, India