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What Is Migraine?

  • Thomas Muehlberger
Chapter

Abstract

The definition of migraine is mainly descriptive: there is no diagnostic test and no useful biomarker. Migraine attacks are invisible but can present with an encyclopedia of neurological symptoms. Pain is commonly assumed to be the essence of migraine, yet there is no structural lesion correlated to it. It can range from no pain at all to excruciating misery. Still, even in its most disabling form, the pain is only one symptom among many others. Migraine is often accompanied by nausea and hypersensitivity to light and sound. Other symptoms may include speech deficits, mood alterations, neck stiffness, and inability to concentrate. Even this brief excerpt of possible clinical presentations points to the involvement of numerous different brain regions during an attack. Migraine can be seen as a temporary, self-limiting shutdown of the brain’s operating system followed by a restart. Almost any function of the brain can be affected which presents a considerable variability in clinical symptoms from one individual to the next and from one attack to another within the same patient.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Muehlberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Medsteps AGChamSwitzerland

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