The following article is based on Chapter 1 from our forthcoming book
The Real Truth about Migraine
Much is being presented here and worth re-reading as it poses Questions that may not yet have been considered.
What is Migraine?
Migraine is an extremely common disorder, characterised by the recurrence of painful and non-painful episodic phenomena and a variety of neurological manifestations.
It is thus a chronic illness (migraine seen as a “disease”) interspersed with acute signs and symptoms (migraine is seen as an “attack”). The mechanisms underlying migraine appear to be increasingly complicated, and the term complex disease is used to define the nature of the illness and to describe the whole breadth of the clinical and subclinical aspects that it encompasses. (1)
Migraine is not simply a bad Headache. A migraine is an intense headache that may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea (feeling sick), vomiting (being sick), visual problems and an increased sensitivity to light or sound.
- Migraines commonly last between 4 hours and 3 days
- Some experience migraines several times a week
- Others experience attacks every few years
Headaches on 15 days or more each month and 8 of these headaches are migraines, this is known as Chronic Migraine.
Although migraines are not life threatening and do not shorten people’s life expectancies, they can significantly damage the quality of people’s lives.
A World Health Organisation study identified migraine as the 6th highest cause worldwide of ‘years lost due to disability’ (which could also be understood as the number of years spent in less than ideal Health). Repeated migraines can have a negative impact on family life, social life and employment. (2)
Do we understand in this short section what a migraine is?
Do we need to spell it out in very Simple terms, so we all get it?
Firstly – it is EXTREMELY COMMON and that means a lot of people are suffering with migraine.
Next – it is a chronic illness and that means it is a dis-ease and they use the word “attack”.
So, something happens to us and it feels like we are being attacked. Right ?
Next – the experts, those that are supposed to know more than us are saying that the process underlying a migraine is very complicated and the term given to define migraines is a ‘complex disease’.
For the record – we are told this is not just a bad headache like some of us think it is.
Migraine is an intense headache, but it comes with other stuff like vomiting, sight problems and a hyper sensitivity to light and sound.
Next – our World Health Organization tells us that migraine happens to be the 6th highest cause worldwide of ‘years lost due to disability’.
We could stop at this statement and ask a few sensible Questions:
The fact that migraine is in the top 10 list worldwide speaks volumes and we ought to be asking how come?
WHY have we not got to the root cause of WHY and HOW anyone gets a migraine?
What triggers a migraine and dis-ables a person from living the ‘ideal health’ as stated above?
What are our individual definitions of ideal health and are we as a world united and one-unified on the word Health?
In other words, do we have different people assuming or subscribing to what they call ideal health and others saying they don’t agree, as it is not healthy in any form.
If we are to be Honest here, we live in a world where there is much division and differences with words like ‘health’ and this is something we need to keep in our awareness at all times.
Back to migraines – WHY have we not nailed this chronic disease that is robbing years off the quality of our lives?
WHY are we not making big noises and demanding that independent researchers (those funded by the public purse and that means there can be no bias get back to their job, work with others around the world and only report back their findings when they have something that makes sense to ALL of us?
Yes, we have organizations and conferences and all the bigwigs and kingpins in the industry doing their bit but that has not gotten us any closer to the root cause of migraine.
This is something we now need to be mind-full of as we go further with the reading of this article.
Let us continue and present some more details about the types of Migraine.
There are 2 main types of Migraine – without Aura (sometimes called common migraine) and Migraine with Aura (sometimes called classical migraine). (2)
Migraine Without Aura
‘Aura” is a warning sign of a migraine. It is most commonly a symptom that affects our sight, such as blind spots or seeing flashing lights. A migraine without aura does not give a warning sign that a migraine attack is about to start.
Attacks of migraine without aura usually last between 4 hours to 3 days if they are not treated or if the treatment is not effective. The frequency of these attacks varies. They could happen every few years or several times a week. Migraine without aura used to be called ‘common migraine’ or ‘hemicrania simplex’. (3)
Migraine with Aura
One third of those that experience migraines, experience an aura before their attack. Whilst most auras happen before the migraine, they can occur during or even after the Headache stage.
Aura is the name given to part of the migraine made up of a range of temporary neurological symptoms. The main symptoms of an aura are visual problems such as blurred vison (difficulty focussing), blind spots, flashes of light, loss of half of the field of vision (hemianopia) or a zig zag pattern moving from the central field of vision towards the edge.
Other aura symptoms include tingling sensations (pins and needles) and numbness in the face, lips and tongue or in the arms and legs; speech problems, such as slurred speech; dizziness; a stiff neck; and very rarely, loss of consciousness. (2)
Migraines often start with a trigger such as:
- Hormonal changes
- Certain foods
- Bright lights
- Strong odours
- Barometric pressure changes (changes in air pressure)
The current theory is that these triggers may set off a phenomena known as Cortical Spreading Depression (CSD) which is like a wave of electrical activity across the cortex, the surface of the brain, followed by no activity. This activates the trigeminal nerve and other sensory nerves, resulting in a sensation of pain. Overactive nerves also release small peptides such as Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) and other molecules that narrow blood vessels and lead to inflammation. This inflammation makes the pain last longer and feel more intense. (4)
OK – let’s stop here and explore some of the triggers which ‘often start’ a migraine.
Stress – first and foremost read on this website our in depth article called THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT STRESS as it presents many sensible Questions to consider before dismissing or negating it as a possible trigger for a migraine.
What if we got our scientists working on the link between Stress and migraines?
What could they learn from anecdotal evidence and observational studies?
In other words, looking at real life case studies and not the double blinded, laboratory, closed conditions with the hypothesis and all the data that goes with that.
Could it be possible that we could learn a lot more if we got down on the ground and studied those living sciences (those bodies) that suffer with this crippling and debilitating dis-ease that we call migraine?
Certain Foods – this is a good one to explore for ALL of us.
- What are we eating and WHY are we eating this or that?
- WHY are we not bothering to educate ourselves when it comes to foods?
- WHY are we ignoring the signs that our body gives us after we have eaten certain foods?
If we are paying attention to our ‘diet’ and still having migraines, can we be super honest and admit if we have not been really Honest when it comes to eating foods that we do know are not really helping us.
Yes Dear World, let us not forget the importance and value of quality Sleep1
Note – the word “Quality” does not mean go to bed when we want because we can and not bother taking Responsibility for this important aspect of human life.
Before we go on reading any further, much wisdom by way of Simple questioning has been offered here for us to consider.
We want that pain to go away and leave us. We don’t like the way it takes over our life and interrupts our lifestyle. We see it as an attack and we are left ‘unawake’ so to speak, in the dark, fumbling around trying this and that, but notice there is no real Change when it comes to our migraines. In fact, many of us now have them like it was just a regular Headache.
Question – could it be possible that we initially started off with Headaches, which we happened to Ignore as that was easy for us and before we realised, we were having such intense pain in our head region, the medics told us the diagnosis was migraine?
Let us not continue thinking or believing in a phenomena or other diagnosis (even if it is right). Instead let’s start at ground zero and just simply say SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT and we need to dig deep and keep asking Questions.
We need to be more aware and reading further into this article, some may be able to relate to what is being said.
Back to Basics here – if Stress and certain foods are often the start that trigger a migraine, would it not make sense to do what it takes to find out more about Stress and learn what it really is and by way of our own living study pay attention to what goes in our mouth and take note when certain foods have an adverse effect on our body?
It does not have to be ‘stop eating it if it triggers a migraine’. A wise move would be to eliminate a certain food from eating it, if there are any other symptoms, like bloating or stomach pain. Get it? Is this making any sense?
We take matters into our own hands and of course we go and seek professional and medical help – that is a given, but we do not dis-empower ourselves and Give Up and make out we are not capable of taking personal Responsibility. There is much we can do before we get the doctor and others involved.
For those that need more – the book is coming and there are many more chapters, including:
History of Migraine
Caffeine and Migraine
Migraines and Work
Children and Migraine
Migraine Research Studies
Neurobiology of Migraine
(1) Antonaci, F., Nappi, G., Galli, F., Camillo Manzoni, G., Calabrese, P., & Costa, A. (2011, April). Migraine and Psychiatric CoMorbidity: a Review of Clinical Findings. NCBI. Retrieved August 27, 2021 from
(2) (2016, December). Migraine. Brain and Spine Foundation. Retrieved August 14, 2021 from
(3) (n.d). Migraine Without Aura. The Migraine Trust. Retrieved August 30, 2021 from
(4) DiLiberto, R. (2019, June 14). This is Your Body on a Migraine. Everyday Health. Retrieved August 28, 2021 from