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Migraine Headaches - Cause

Experts aren't sure what causes migraines.

They run in families, and experts have found a genetic link. But it isn't clear why some people get migraines and others don't.

Recommended Related to Migraines/Headaches

Lifestyle Tips to Manage Migraines

Brian Carter, 41, had his first migraine in his 20s. "I worked from home, and I'd try to keep working but couldn't," he says. "I'd get nauseous. Doing anything felt painful, so I'd lie down and put a pillow over my head." Sound familiar? If you're one of the 36 million Americans who get migraines, you probably know that the awful pain is no ordinary headache. Migraines are defined as moderate to severe pain lasting 4 to 72 hours, usually on one side of the head. The pain gets worse with exercise,...

Read the Lifestyle Tips to Manage Migraines article > >

Certain things can bring on a migraine. These are called triggers. Your triggers may be different from someone else's. Having several triggers increases the chance you will get migraines.

Some common triggers include:

  • Stress.
  • Not eating.
  • Poor sleep habits.
  • A change from your normal routine.
  • Red wine.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Strong odors.
  • Chocolate.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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