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Migraines getting you down? Here's how to deal with the pain

If you’ve experienced a migraine, you know that it’s way more than just a headache.

Migraines can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours, and the symptoms can make doing everyday activities nearly impossible. In addition to intense throbbing pain on one side of the head, migraine sufferers can also experience nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

One of the most frustrating things about migraines is that we don’t really know what causes them. Old theories suggested that changes in blood flow to the brain triggered symptoms. However, new research shows this may contribute to pain, but it’s not the source. Today, doctors predict that an imbalance in brain chemicals, like serotonin, could irritate a major pain pathway called the trigeminal nerve, resulting in a migraine.

What we do know is that 36 million Americans live with migraines, and women are three times more likely to get them than men. One of the reasons women suffer more could be due to fluctuations in estrogen, especially during puberty, menstruation, and menopause.