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With some questionable health advice being posted by your friends on Facebook, politicians arguing about the state of the American healthcare system and a new medical study being summarized in just a sentence or two on TV---that seems to contradict the study you heard summarized yesterday---it can be overwhelming to navigate the ever-changing landscape of health news.

To Your Health: Migraines

Virginia Woolf wrote in 1930, “"The merest school girl when she falls in love, has her Shakespeare or Keats to speak her mind for her,but let a sufferer describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry."

Hello, I’m Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs at Southeast Missouri State University. The American Migraine Foundation estimates that at least 39 million Americans live with migraine, but because many people do not get a diagnosis or the treatment they need, the actual number is probably higher.

The Mayo Clinic reports migraines can progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome. Not everyone who has migraines goes through all stages. The most frequently recognized symptoms occur in the attack stage: pain that throbs or pulses, sensitivity to light, and sound, nausea and vomiting.

You should see a doctor if you experience a headache with migraine symptoms more than once a week. Because, as Virginia pointed out, it can be hard to describe the pain of a headache to a doctor, do your best to be prepared with additional information, such as when you get headaches, if anything triggers them, and how long the headaches last. The two primary types of treatments for migraine: are acute and preventive. Acute medication is used during an attack to relieve pain and to stop the migraine from progressing. Preventive treatment aims to reduce the frequency, severity, and length of attacks.





Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Middle & Secondary Education. She writes for special publications of The Southeast Missourian and is a certified Community Health Worker.