Migraine is a common clinical condition classically marked by severe, throbbing headaches. Unfortunately, the headaches are both under-diagnosed and over-diagnosed depending on various factors. The exact mechanism underlying migraines is not known yet; but it is generally related to the functional status of cerebral and vascular systems of the brain, which can be genetically determined.
Apart from headaches, migraine patients also report visual disturbances, irritability and lack of concentration. Very rarely it can present itself as slurring of speech, swallowing difficulty, weakness in the limbs and even confusion in severe cases. Classically the symptoms are episodic and can last for up to 72 hours.
Diagnosis of migraine is done mostly on clinical grounds. Since the striking presentation is headache which is a very nonspecific symptom one may need to undergo a few tests including MRI/CT brain depending on the presentation to rule out other conditions that can cause headache.
Treatment of migraine is generally tailor-made to individual patients. There are medications to terminate the episodes of migraine. These medications are generally taken orally but in severe cases there may be a need to take injections or nasal preparations of medications. There are also medicines for migraine prophylaxis. The choice of such medications or combination of medications is determined by individual presentation. For chronic migraine there is also an option of Botox injection and other advanced procedures including vagal nerve stimulation.