What is a Migraine?

A migraine is a throbbing headache that results in specific changes in the brain and nervous system. The pain experienced is usually on one side of the head, and is accompanied by sensitivity to sound (phonophobia) and light (photophobia). Symptoms typically last 4 to 72 hours and may be severe.

What Causes It?

Genetics/ Family History

If another family member experiences migraines, then you are more likely to experience them too.

Common symptoms of MigrainesĀ 

  • Pain on one side of your head
  • Pain that feels throbbing or pulsing and is moderate or severe in intensity
  • Sensitivity to light, sounds, and sometimes smells and touch
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision, which can last up to one hour Light-headedness, sometimes followed by fainting Stiffness and pain in the neck

Some sufferers have also described symptoms such as reduced balance, coordination, postural control, motor planning and reduced mood. Numbness can also be felt along the side of the head/face and in rare cases, some may experience speech disturbances.

Some of the common factors that can trigger migraines include:

  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Strong stimuli like noises and light
  • Routine physical activity
  • Weather changes
  • Certain foods like meat, alcohol or coffee
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Some medication

Interesting facts

  • Migraine headaches are the second most common type of headaches.
  • Approximately 12% of people experience migraines at some point in their lives.
  • Young adults are the most affected.


Proper use of medication is vital to manage migraines. So it is crucial to speak to your GP and discuss possible medications to reduce your migraines:

How Physiotherapy can help

Tips and tricks for managing daily activities

Have a regular schedule for eating and sleeping

Take prophylactic medications as prescribed by your doctor

  • Try and avoid foods/activates that you know may trigger a migraine
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages
  • Exercise regularly and include relaxation exercises like meditation and yoga.