What is a migraine? Migraine pathophysiology

Migraines are more than just headache. It's often a moderate to severe head pain accompanied by a range of symptoms which often include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, smell, movement or touch

There are many other symptoms that may also be expereinced which are described in some of the videos in more detail. Some of these may include:

  • Visual disturbances
  • Partial or temporary blindness
  • Loss of balance
  • Vertigo
  • Motor weakness
  • Numbness
  • Stroke like symptoms such as paralysis of limbs

How and why some people experience migraines is still not fully understood. 

There are however a number of helpful videos that take us deep into the brain to describe the hypothesised pathophysiology or mechanics of migraine.

Important Disclaimer:

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of these videos. They may be based on information which could be incomplete, limited or since outdated.

The purpose of these videos is to illustrate different perspectives of potential migraine mechanisms so that patients might gain a better understanding of their condition.

Understanding what happens during a migraine attack

This is probably one of the most updated and in-depth animations of a migraine from this collection. It was also published recently in December, 2016 for a more current perspective. 

If you want an indepth understanding of what you are experiencing, this is the video to watch.

A detailed, audio visual look at the current understanding of migraine pathophysiology using state-of-the-art graphics and the most current information available. Includes and explanation of new theories in the impact of sex hormones, why migraine mimics sinusitis and the evolution of migraine into a chronic disease.

This next video is a general introduction to migraine from the UK. It might take a minute to get used to the pronunciation of "migraine" as it is spoken differently there. It is also refers to the controversial vascular theory of migraine which some argue has since been disproven. 

What is a migraine?

Migraine is more than just a headache. In this short film we explain exactly what migraine is and what you can do to limit or even prevent the symptoms.

Why do we get migraines?

Here's one suggestion that links migraines all the way back to what we saw during childhood:

Why do we get them in the first place? Read More: Childhood adversities, including witnessing parental domestic violence, linked to later migraines http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150624071024.htm "Adults who were exposed to childhood adversity, including witnessing parental domestic violence, childhood physical and sexual abuse have higher odds of experiencing migraine headaches in adulthood, according to a new study."

Here is a slightly older perspective on the pathophysiology of migraine. 

Education and knowledge gained from understanding your migraine is the first step to managing your headaches.

Still looking for more? Here is yet another video from a different publisher with slightly different information.

Migraine biology

Here is a great video to show your family members who don't really understand what a migraine is. It also discusses the links to serotonin and genes.

If you've never had a migraine, you might think it's just a really bad headache. But if you've ever had them, or you know someone who does, you know that they're much worse -- and much more complicated -- than that. Hank explains the biology behind this disorder of the central nervous system, and how it can be treated.

Neurologist and migraine sufferer

Here is an interesting video straight from a migraine sufferer who is also a neurologist.

It's not just in your head

Hopefully you now have a better understanding about what goes on during a migraine and why you might be experiencing them.

If you've come across some great videos sharing the 'how' or 'why' about migraine please let me know in the comments below.