A migraine without aura is more than just a headache. The pain alone is enough to stop you from carrying on your daily activities. And then there's the nausea, maybe vomiting, and more.
What makes this headache a migraine? What does it mean to have a migraine without aura? How is this different from other headaches or other migraines? Most important, what can you do to make the migraine go away?
When a tension headache strikes, most people head for their medicine cabinet or drugstore, looking for an over-the-counter painkiller such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
But if you get them often, that plan can backfire.
“Frequent use of these drugs can cause rebound headaches,” says Priyanka Chaudhry, MD of the Baylor Neuroscience Center Headache Center.
There can also be side effects, as with any medicine. Taking too much acetaminophen is bad for your liver, and overdoing ibuprofen can upset...
A migraine without aura is the most common type of migraine headache. They account for about 60% to 80% of all migraines. Another name you might hear is "common migraine." It doesn’t have the early symptoms, called an aura, that some people have before a migraine begins, like vision changes, dizziness, confusion, feeling prickling skin, and weakness.
Scientists aren't sure what causes migraines. They think that at least two brain chemicals -- serotonin and dopamine -- play a role. The theory is something goes awry in the way these chemicals regulate how the brain works, which makes the brain and the body's immune system overreact. When that happens, a flood of immune cells flows through the blood vessels to the brain. The brain's blood vessels open wider to accommodate these cells. Then even more chemicals are released to help control the vessels' muscles. The vessels open and constrict. A severe, sometimes throbbing headache results.
Migraines often run in families, so researchers think there may be a genetic link for the condition. Other things can trigger migraine attacks for some people, like some foods, smells, stress, and things in the environment.
Migraines often begin in childhood and get worse through adolescence. Although more boys than girls have migraines, more adult women than adult men have them. But they usually happen less over time. Migraines become rare after age 50.
Although painful, a migraine without aura is not life-threatening.
What Are the Symptoms?
Most people feel migraine pain in the front of the head, on one or both sides of the temples. It may throb or be steady. The headache may last from 4 to 72 hours.