The Dysfunction of Migraine Headache Essay

3136 Words 13 Pages
The Dysfunction of Migraine Headache

As a disorder reaching nearly every culture, historic and contemporary, headache has been experienced in some form by the majority of the human population. Despite its relative age and prevalence, we have yet to fully ascertain either its cause, its organization, or its cure, and continue to suffer everything from quotidian tension-type headache to cluster or "suicide"-type headache with little substantial relief. So just what is it we know about headache? Broadly, headache is largely understood in terms of its external characteristics, that is, its symptoms and their effects on the sufferer. Headache is described as "a throbbing, pulsating or dull ache, often worsened by movement and varying in
…show more content…
Now, hundreds of years later, researchers are engaged in the continuing search for proof of the true pathogenesis of migraine and its cure. What has thus far been accepted is the rather vague definition of migraine headache as "a primary episodic headache disorder characterized by various combinations of neurological, gastrointestinal and autonomic changes" (1). Yet for its pervasiveness and deleterious effects, what do we truly understand about migraine headache? How is migraine related to other neurological dysfunction? Is there a cure? if so, how can it be found?

That which is most understood about migraine is of course that which is most readily observed and documented--its manifest symptoms. Previously lacking the objective means of discovering the underlying cause, researchers were constrained to understanding headache "by analyzing its symptoms" (3). Migraine headache has thus been divided into two types according to the accompanying symptoms: common migraine, which affects the majority of sufferers, and classical migraine, which affects about 15% of migraine patients (3). Both common and classical migraine are associated with extreme throbbing pain that is often unilateral (one-sided), nausea, and "exquisite" sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sound (sonophobia) (3). Those with classical forms of migraine, however, experience an additional symptom, "a distortion of vision that can be
Open Document