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By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Attacks of unilateral headaches in one side of the head, vomiting and sensitivity towards sound and light are typical. Not all attacks are equally bad. Most people with migraine have 1 to 2 attacks a year. Migraine attacks are of no risk of permanent damage to the health. Effective medication for migraine exists.

Migraine is one of the most common kinds of headache. The frequency of the attacks is usually low with 1 to 2 cases a year and only few has more than 2 attacks a month. Often, migraine begins during childhood and is rarely seen after the age of 60. Thus, a lengthy rung with few attacks is typical for the illness.

Some people can feel when the attacks are approaching. They describe sensations like hunger, urge for certain foodstuffs or restlessness some hours before the attack itself. Typically, the migraine attack starts in the morning, however, it can arrive at any hour of the day.

Migraine attacks appears as headache that usually lasts from 4 to 72 hours. The headache is typically located in one side of the head. The pains are described as pulsating and worsened by physical activity, for example walking on stairs. Most people have nausea and possible vomiting. Many complain about heightened sensitivity towards sound and light. Therefore, they go to bed with the curtains and door closed.

With some people, the migraine attack is initiated with a few minutes of flicker for the eyes followed by headache. Other migraine attacks being with reduced eyesight, paralyses, for example in an arm, trouble with speaking or sensory disturbances that often lasts half an hour, before the headache sets in.

Migraine attacks are of no risk of permanent damage to the health.


Some attacks are handled with painkillers bought over the counter (paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin) together with prescribed antiemetics. Other cases should be treated with special migraine medication that is only available on prescription.

What can you do?

A lot of people with migraine know what causes a migraine attack. Stress, emotional problems, hormones and contraceptive pill can affect the development of a migraine attack. Also, certain foodstuffs like for example red wine is able to trigger a migraine attack. There is however no established rules for how the conditions mentioned affects exactly your migraine. Therefore, you have to gain knowledge about what to avoid, through your own experiences. A few medical remedies can also trigger migraine.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If you through a period of time have had more migraine attacks than usual. If your attacks change radically, for example lasts longer and become more severe. If you use migraine medication more than 7 days a month.

Contact the doctor immediately

If you in spite of your own treatment still have a headache.