Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Migraines & Headaches Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

New Hope for Migraine Sufferers

By
WebMD Health News

April 24, 2000 -- Her mother had migraines. Her sister has migraines. Hers are as predictable as her monthly cycle. Arlene O'Connor, RN, age 55, has been pushing through life -- getting through exhausting workdays -- despite having pounding, nearly incapacitating migraines since she turned 30.

But new guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of migraines may help primary care physicians find a solution faster for people like O'Connor.

O'Connor had taken "the gamut" of pain medications, prescribed by her primary care doctor, with no relief. Twice she had gone to the ER for the debilitating pain. She even had brain scans to make sure there was no tumor. Finally, three years ago, she got her "miracle" -- a new drug that stops her migraines before they become full-blown.

"My life has changed drastically," she says. "I've gone six months without a headache. It's unbelievable."

Migraines occur because of increased excitability in the nervous system, Stephen Silberstein, MD, tells WebMD. The trigeminal nerve -- in the center of the brain stem -- is believed to be key in causing painful inflammation of blood vessels, he says. Very often, migraines are triggered by certain foods, intense exercise, or flashing lights. Even environmental factors like changes in the weather or excessive noise can mean migraine. Silberstein is a neurologist at the Jefferson Headache Center of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Nearly 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. An estimated 10 million migraine sufferers seek doctors' help every year, yet more than half are dissatisfied, says Silberstein.

"Migraine is not so much complicated as it is ignored," he tells WebMD. "Most patients who have migraine don't know they have it. And in fact, when they go to a doctor, they don't get diagnosed; they don't get adequately treated. A lot of times, doctors don't have the time; they don't want to be bothered. They aren't educated about it, and they think headache is a trivial disorder."

But the guidelines created by Silberstein and the U.S. Headache Consortium offer new hope for migraine sufferers. The U.S. Headache Consortium is composed of neurologists, family care physicians, emergency room doctors, and osteopaths.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Business woman with hand on face and eyes closed
What aura looks like, triggers, and more.
woman with migraine
Get the truth about migraines.
 
headache in the bedroom
Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
woman with hands on head
Test your knowledge of triggers, types, and more.
 
woman with migraine
Quiz
drinking coffee
Article
 
Migraines Headaches Basics
Article
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Slideshow
 
Tired young man
Slideshow
spraying perfume
Article
 
man with a headache
Article
headache in the bedroom
Article