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When one hears migraine, one tends to think “terrible headache.” But a migraine is more than a headache; and in fact, head pain, a common component of migraine, is not a necessary component. A migraine is best thought of as an episodic intense heightening of sensation, especially in those sensory systems served by the cranial nerves. Generally, this results in severe head pain, but heightened sensitivity to light (photophobia), sound (phonophobia), odors (osmo-phobia), and touch to the skin (allodynia) occur too. This entry discusses the types of migraines, some of their physical symptoms, and migraine research.

Migraines have been described in literature and in medical writings since antiquity. The basic characteristics of migraine headache—its throbbing nature, the fact that it is usually more intense on one ...

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