An Overview of Migraine Headaches by Dr. Carey Dachman

April 13, 2011

Caused by vasodilation of the blood vessels, migraine headaches bring about the release of chemicals from nerve fibers coiled around the arteries of the brain. This chemical release stems from the enlargement of the arteries, which stretches the nerves and causes pain and inflammation. Each of these factors exacerbates the others, causing the often debilitating symptoms associated with migraine headaches.

While migraine headaches themselves create sometimes extraordinary levels of pain, they also provoke increased nervous activity in the intestines. Because of this issue, many people who suffer from migraine headaches endure added discomfort in the forms of vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea. The primitive instinct of fight or flight causes delays in the stomach’s ability to empty into the small intestine. As such, oral medications used to treat migraine headaches take longer to enter the intestines to be absorbed. In addition, sufferers often complain of chills, light sensitivity, and blurred vision because sympathetic activity in the body related to pain decreases blood circulation.

With 28 million Americans undergoing the pain and related symptoms of migraine headaches, the problem affects public health and productivity in the workplace. The effects usually last between four hours and four days, making recovery a lengthy process. For some patients, migraine headaches include symptoms such as auras in which light and color seems to flash or zigzag before their eyes or in their peripheral vision. Other patients experience hallucinations, double vision, or vertigo. In some cases, migraine headaches instigate a pins and needles feeling, paralysis or muscle fatigue, stroke-like episodes, and blind spots or blindness. Rare cases of ocular migraine headaches can trigger irreversible loss of vision.

For more information about migraine headaches and to learn state-of-the-art treatment methods, visit the website of Dr. Carey Dachman at


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