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marmoset's avatar

Are migraines (without aura) inherently harmful to the body?

Asked by marmoset (1258points) September 29th, 2011

I know migraines with aura can be inherently dangerous for the brain (because the aura usually represents a lack of blood flow to the brain, like a “mini-stroke”). But what about migraines that are only pain? Do they have any lasting health effects or dangers—or is their only bad effect the pain and other sensations while they’re actually happening?

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10 Answers

creative1's avatar

how the heck do you know which you have??? I get them since a car accident last year and I have to take toprimate and it helps reduce them but before then I was suffering daily from them… heck I have one now I am having a wine to help me cope with it. I wish what ever occurred in my car accident would just heal so I could just go back to the way I was.

wundayatta's avatar

I get ocular migraines, but not the pain kind. I assume by “aura” you mean the twinkling expanding circle you get that looks like it’s out there, that is common for ocular migraines. No one ever told me that they represent a lack of blood flow to the brain. Where do you get this information? My guess is the pain is much worse than only the visual effects, which I suspect are most stress and computer induced.

jaiyan's avatar

I don’t think so, my Dad gets them from time to time, sadly the only advice I can give is take an asprin and have a lie down somewhere quiet.

keobooks's avatar

I hope you don’t think I’m too nit-picky here, but the auras themselves are not dangerous. They are a sign or symptom that something dangerous may be happening in your head. The pain from migraines aren’t directly dangerous—unless they come on without warning while you are driving or something like that. The migraines MAY be your body’s way of telling you something dangerous may be going on in your body.

This may seem nitpicky but there here is where the big difference comes IMO. This is a purely hypothetical example. You may not die from your migraines, but you could die from the undiagnosed brain tumor in your head and is causing the migraines. Or you could die from the insane high blood pressure levels that are causing the migraines.

We really can’t diagnose anyone on the internet. There are many many reasons people get migraines. Many of the causes aren’t lethal, but some are lethal or dangerous. This is like asking if a pain in your foot is dangerous. It’s not dangerous if you stubbed your toe. It is dangerous if you have bone cancer in your toe.

snowberry's avatar

My son in law gets a type of migrane that is associated with strokes and he’s had several strokes. In the online article I just looked at, it does not mention his specific type of migrane. Anyway, it does mention auras and risk of stroke.

“Up until now, the evidence on this subject indicates that people who suffer from migraine headaches, especially those which occur in association with an aura, have an increased risk of suffering ischemic strokes. As stated above, this risk is highest in women who are younger than 45 and who smoke and/or use birth control pills. This increased risk tends to normalize in the elderly, probably because migraine headaches improve or disappear as people age.”

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jaiyan's avatar

Right I ‘ve done a bit more research, migrane’s are caused by blood vessels in the brain spasaming – sometimesa change in diet can help but it’s something you need to talk to a doctor about.

That wasn’t much more helpful than my first post, sorry.

marmoset's avatar

Thanks to everyone for the help. It’s a tough call in my case, which I’ll keep talking to my doctors about. I’ve been on a medication that is helping immensely with other pain but appears to be causing occasional migraines.

courtney1946's avatar

The information given by “snowberry” seems quite good. I had migraines most of my adult life, both with aura and without. Certain foods, such as aged cheese, seemed to be almost sure triggers for me. Foods with MSG would give me severe “not aura” headaches. Migraines seem to impact the entire system, causing perhaps nausea and vomiting, and (for myself) temporary cognitive problems. I don’t see how symptoms as severe as migraines could be truly non-hurtful. We’ve heard about strokes, but I wonder what else. So I think you are on to something by asking your question. There are good books that go into depth about migraines, including lists of likely food triggers and activities to avoid. Check at your library, and Good Luck!

trailsillustrated's avatar

I’ve had migraine with aura my whole life, sometimes 2–3 a day. The rx for it made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack. Weird but since moving to a drier and warmer climate I’ve only had 3 in a whole year.

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