Harvard Health Letter

Talking about migraine

Dr. Paul B. Rizzoli is director of the John R. Graham Headache Center at Faulkner Hospital in Boston. He is co-author of The Migraine Solution: A Complete Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment, and Pain Management, a Harvard Health Publications/St. Martin's Press book.

What is a migraine headache?

Migraine can be defined as a limiting headache — a headache that stops you from functioning. The pain is not a mild, insignificant thing you can ignore; you must actively decide what to do about it. Nausea is also a common symptom.

More and more it seems like migraine is a separate illness. In the future, it's likely that we'll be able to define migraine by its distinct genetic pattern.

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