Migraine represents a disorder of function with no demonstrable structural disease of the brain. Classification is complex, largely because of inexact clinical criteria, variability in patients’ relating of symptoms, and both the apparent overlap and coexistence of common migraine and tension headache.

Keywords: headache; migraine; migraine variants; diagnosis; treatment

Figure 1.

Schema of the phases of a classical migraine attack.

Figure 2.

Simplified diagram of migraine mechanisms.


Further Reading

Blau JN (ed.) (1987) Migraine. London: Chapman Hall.

Dalessio DJ and Silberstein SD (eds) (1993) Wolff's Headache and Other Head Pain, 6th edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Goadsby PJ and Lipton RB (1997) A review of paroxysmal hemicranias, SUNCT syndrome and other short‐lasting headaches with autonomic feature, including new cases. Brain 120: 193–209.

Holroyd KA and Penzien DB (1990) Pharmacological versus non‐pharmacological prophylaxis of recurrent migraine headache: a meta‐analytic review of clinical trials. Pain 42: 1–13.

Hoskin KL, Kaube H and Goadsby PJ (1996) Sumatriptan can inhibit trigeminal afferents by an exclusively neural mechanism. Brain 119: 1419–1428.

International Headache Society (1988) Classification. Diagnostic Criteria. Cephalalgia 8(supplement 7): 19–45.

Lance JW (1993) Mechanism and Management of Headache, 5th edn. Oxford: Butterworth.

Lipton RB and Stewart WF (1993) Migraine in the United States: a review of epidemiology and health care use. Neurology 43(supplement3): S6–10.

Liveing E (1873) On Megrim, Sick Headache, and Some Allied Disorders: A Contribution to the Pathology of Nerve Storms. London: Churchill.

Pearce JMS (1994) Headache. Neurological management series. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 57: 134–144.

Pearce JMS (1995) Headache. In: Weatherall DJ, Ledingham JGG and Warrell DA (eds) Oxford Textbook of Medicine, 3rd edn, vol. 2, pp. 136–141. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Pearce, JMS(Apr 2001) Migraine. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002316]