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headache migraineThe estimated global prevalence of migraine is about 15%, ranking it as the third most common disease in the world to affect both males and females (The Global Burden of Disease Survey, 2010). Women are more likely to have migraines, but males account for as much as 1/3 of those suffering from migraine.  Ramifications include work loss, missed social or family events, increased medication consumption and health costs, reduced quality of life, and more.


Migraine characteristics often include:

  • Throbbing pain that may be on one side or both sides of the head
  • Moderate to severe intensity
  • May have associated symptoms such as:
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • light sensitivity
    • sound sensitivity


Not all migraines have “aura” symptoms such as seeing spots, stars, or having an altered taste or smell. Only about 25% of migraines are preceded by an aura. Furthermore, someone that experiences auras may not have them with every migraine, making it more challenging to identify a headache from a migraine. Not all migraines are the same and should be evaluated by a trained healthcare provider.


Migraine can be broken down into episodic or chronic migraine:

  • Episodic migraine = 1 to 14 headache and migraine days per month
  • Chronic migraine = 15 or more headache and migraine days per month


Many migraine treatments exist. Some treatments may work great for one person but not at all for the next! Often people do not realize they have migraines and are taking over-the-counter medications without enough relief. This could even be causing MORE migraines! Or, patients have gone through trialing many medications over a long period of time until finding one that works for them. New medications are on the horizon that can be taken to PREVENT a migraine and can be used even for patients with EPISODIC migraines.


Adriane Arnold, DNP, FNP-C