Can Migraines Affect Other Areas of Your Body?

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The severe pounding of a migraine headache can last for hours... or even days. But pain isn't the only symptom. Migraines can affect other parts of your body, too.

Scientists now believe migraines are caused by a wave of stimulation on the surface of the brain. During a migraine attack, the trigeminal nerve is also stimulated, releasing chemicals called neuropeptides and causing inflammation in the meninges -- the membrane that covers the brain.

One chemical -- called CGRP -- is thought to play a major role in worsening migraines and prolonging their effects.

CGRP causes blood vessels to dilate and triggers additional inflammation, which results in pain and sensitivity.

The trigeminal nerve also stimulates the thalamus which reacts like the brain's relay station, sending messages to other parts of the body. The thalamus controls the body's sensitivity to light, sound, and movement.

Auras can occur as a warning before the migraine strikes -- triggering flashes of light, or wavy, zigzag, and blurred vision.

Auras may also cause tinnitus or ringing in your ears. Some people even lose their ability to see or hear normally.

A migraine attack can also affect your digestive system causing nausea and vomiting.

When a migraine finally subsides, the physical effects can linger.

Muscle weakness, dizziness, confusion -- along with light and noise sensitivity -- can last up to 24 hours.