What causes migraine?

Causes of migraine. The brain contains a natural chemical called serotonin. When a migraine happens, something triggers a drop in serotonin levels. This causes an area of the brain to send messages to a nerve in the face and to blood vessels in the head. The blood vessels widen, and it's this that causes pain. The serotonin drop also affects the way other parts of the brain work, which can result in other symptoms that some people experience as an "aura".


In women who suffer from migraines, hormone changes may also be involved. In some women, migraines occur a few days before, during, and immediately after a period. About 70% of women who have migraines can relate their migraine headaches to their menstrual period.


About 80% of people who get migraine headaches have a family history of migraines, which suggests that there may be a genetic basis to migraines.

Some people find that their migraines are triggered by something. Triggers might include:


• certain foods – such as chocolate, cheese, red wine, citrus
• fruits, coffee, tea, tomatoes, potatoes
• too much or too little sleep
• changes in hormone balance in women – such as periods, the pill, menopause
stress or even relaxation
• irregular meals
• caffeine withdrawal
• physical activity
• smoking
• flashing lights
• noise
• weather – high pressure conditions, changes in pressure, hot dry winds, seasonal changes, exposure to sun and glare
• exercise – too much or too little
• sexual arousal
• smells – paint, fumes from car heaters or perfume


Often, several triggers work together to provoke a migraine. Unfortunately, avoiding triggers may not prevent migraines, as most migraines are not caused by a single, identifiable trigger.
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Related Questions

What causes migraine?

Migraine cause. Over the years, many theories on the pathophysiology of migraine have been postulated but the exact cause of migraine is still controversial. Migraine pathogenesis involves an interrelationship between neuronal and vascular components. Read more...

What causes migraines? Got my 1st migraine on Tuesday, it lasted 3 days. How long does it usually last? Advice or tips for future?

Migraine. is chronic neurological disorder associated with focal neurologic deficit, alterations in cerebral blood flow and headache. Any headache must be viewed as a valid medical disorder and the headache assessment must be comprehensive. Imaging like CT or MRI are very important to rule out secondary pathology. Read more...

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What causes migraine and what precautions should be done from triggering it.

Keep a migraine. Diary to look for your causes and then see if avoiding them helps. Here is a good article: http://www.Mayoclinic.Com/health/migraine-headache/ds00120/dsection=causes. Read more...
Chronic daliy HA's. Migraine is a hereditary condition where headaches can be triggered by a variety of issues, such as foods, red wines, stress, weather changes, etc. Headaches can transform to virtually constant events if pain medication is used too frequently, and the main contributor to these is actually tylenol, (acetaminophen) but other analgesics can cause it too. Tough to disrupt but can be done. Read more...

What cause migraine? I will have about 2-3 migraine a year. Sometimes it happens when I feel stress but sometimes it just happen when I least expect it. What cause migraine and is there anything I can do about it?

Migraine . Migraine headaches have many causes, however, first it is important to see your doctor to have a thorough evaluation to make sure you are in fact having migraine headaches as there are many causes of headaches, some dangerous and some not. The most common triggers of migraine headaches are (in no particular order): too much or too little sleep, stress, dehydration, tyramines(found in dark chocolate, and some aged cheeses), alcohol, some medications, menstrual periods, nitrates(found in preserved meats like lunch meat, sausage, etc.), monosodium glutamate(another preservative found in chinese food), and caffeine withdrawal, to name a few. Migraines are thought to be caused by blood vessel dilation in the brain, so medicines aimed at contricting them work well. There is a class of medicines called triptans (most commonly imitrex) that do this well and are a good treatment. Others use antiinflammatories like Ibuprofen or alleve or medications that contain caffeine and aspirin(excedrin). There are many other medicines that help stop a migraine and for people that get them very frequently, there are daily medicines to help prevent migraines. Your doctor can suggest the best treatment for you based on your history and exam. Read more...
Many things. There are many causes of migraines. Stress, TMJ issues, a misaligned bite, neck issues and trigger points of the muscles of the face, head and neck. Often headaches can be caused by an accident, fall, contact sport that was experienced recently or many years ago. Visit a doctor that knows about trudenta. Go to www.Trudenta.Com good luck. Read more...

What causes migraine with spine pain?

Migraine back pain. Your problem must be long lasting! insomnia-1 + back pain-2 always lead to headache-3. Or in any order in a syndrome together= vicious circle. Cervical spine pain are as much muscles around spine than spine. Pain then irradiates to back of head then up to head. Pain closed to brain leads to insomnia which in the end leads to depression. Very abbreviated answer. Read more...

What causes migraine type headache with neck pain and nausea?

Cervicogenic. A cergicogenic headache is caused by painful spams in the posterior neck muscles pulling on the back of the skull. Because the muscles on the skull are all attached to the same membrane, tension on one part of this membrane sets up a chain rxn that can cause other muscles to spasm, resulting in severe headache pain and neck pain, which, if severe enough, can cause nausea. Read more...
Vague. Certainly need a lot more info. Could be due to trauma/whiplash injuries, tmj/tmd, posture, heredity, etc. Duration, intensity, location. Keep a pain diary if you can and document your headaches see a doctor. Read more...
Convergence. Because the nerves in the neck connect with the nerves in the head at the base of the brain, painful information can be sent to the neck when the head hurts. This is known as pain referral. This does not mean there is a probllem in the neck. This is also why the sinuses often hurt with migraine headaches. It is not a sinus problem, just excited nerves from the headache. Read more...

What cause migraines?

Many Factors . Heredity is a big one. Being female is another. Certain foods that are fermented such as wine, pickled foods, chocolate and caffeine can trigger migraine. Even weather changes can trigger. In women, hormonal changes during the normal menstrual cycle or menopause can trigger. Neck injuries also can trigger. Basically any change in your environment even getting too little or too much sleep , also.L. Read more...
Get checked out. A good start at finding potential headache triggers would be to maintain a diary. Every time you have a headache write down what you were doing, the foods you ate that day, alcohol, smoking, caffeine, stress, how much sleep you had the night before, eye strain, etc. Try to find patterns in your headache so that you can learn what things to avoid. Get checked by your doctor. Read more...