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What Does A Migraine Look Like In The Brain

The Significance Of Brain Lesions

What Happens In Your Body During Migraine | WebMD

We don’t really know what the significance of these brain lesions is yet. A number of studies have examined older people who do not have migraines but have white matter hyperintensities, and these lesions are associated with an increased risk of stroke, dementia, and thinking problems. Since migraine is associated with stroke, it’s possible that lesions in migraineurs could be an indication of a higher risk of stroke.

A 2012 study found that while female migraineurs had a higher incidence of white matter hyperintensities over a period of nine years compared to a control group, their cognitive functioning stayed the same. This indicates that these brain lesions may, in fact, mean nothing health-wise, which is reassuring news.

That said, if migraines and their associated brain lesions are found to have long-term neurological effects, this may alter the way neurologists treat episodic migraines. For example, healthcare providers may consider migraine preventive medication for episodic migraines in certain people who are at high risk for developing brain lesions or who already have them.

Do Brain Tumours Cause Headaches

Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of a brain tumour, but they are also common in healthy people, and can be due to many everyday causes.

The headaches are not caused directly by the tumour itself, as the brain has no pain receptors, but by a build-up of pressure on pain-sensitive blood vessels and nerves within the brain.

The build-up of pressure can be due to the tumour pressing on these vessels/nerves or by the tumour blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain.

Headaches are rarely the only symptom of a brain tumour.

Doctors do NOT generally worry if your headache is:

  • occasional
  • mild
  • doesn’t last long
  • has an identifiable cause, such as a hangover, lack of sleep, flu-like illness, sinus infection or if you have been ‘fasting’ or overusing medication.

However, people often worry whether their headache is due to something more serious, such as a brain tumour, particularly if they have frequent or severe headaches causing a lot of pain.

If you’re worried, you should speak to your doctor, who can undertake a neurological examination. This involves testing your vision, hearing, balance, reflexes, arm and leg strength, and coordination. If this examination does not show anything outside the normal range and you have no other symptoms, you are unlikely to have a brain tumour.

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What Causes White Spots On Mri Of Brain

In some people with migraine, MRI scans of the brain may show white spots or areas. These are caused by lesions or irregular areas in the white matter of the brain. White matter tissue is deep in the brain and is mostly made up of nerves. J Headache Pain. 2014 15 : 41.

What does migraine look like on an MRI? In some people with migraine, MRI scans of the brain may show white spots or areas. These are caused by lesions or irregular areas in the white matter of the brain. White matter tissue is deep in the brain and is mostly made up of nerves.

I often hear patients ask me how they can have such severe headaches and not have something seriously wrong in the brain. There is also a general feeling in the public that if you have bad headaches, you must have a brain imaging study done.

MRI scans also can look at parts of the brain that arent as easily viewed with CT scans, such as the spine at the level of the neck and the back portion of the brain. An MRI cant diagnose migraines, cluster, or tension headaches, but it can help doctors rule out other medical conditions that may cause your symptoms, such as:

In some people with migraine, MRI scans of the brain may show white spots or areas. These are caused by lesions or irregular areas in the white matter of the brain. White matter tissue is deep in the brain and is mostly made up of nerves. J Headache Pain. 2014 15 : 41.

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When Should I Seek Immediate Help Or Contact My Healthcare Provider

  • You are experiencing the worst headache of my life.
  • You are having neurologic symptoms that youve never had before, including speaking difficulty, balance problems, vision problems, mental confusion, seizures or numbing/tingling sensations.
  • Your headache comes on suddenly.
  • You have a headache after experiencing a head injury.

Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider if:

  • The number or severity of your headaches increase or your headache pattern changes.
  • Your medications no longer seem to be working or youre experiencing new or different side effects.

What Can An Mri Tell You About Headaches

What is migraine? Dr Julian Rodrigues

What can an MRI tell you about headaches? An MRI is a test that makes clear images of the brain without the use of X-rays. Instead, it uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce these pictures. The scan can give doctors information about the structure of the brain and brain chemicals to help them find the cause of your headaches.

What do headaches look like on an MRI? What does migraine look like on an MRI? In some people with migraine, MRI scans of the brain may show white spots or areas. These are caused by lesions or irregular areas in the white matter of the brain. White matter tissue is deep in the brain and is mostly made up of nerves.

Why would a doctor order an MRI for a headache? CT and MRI examinations are called imaging tests because they take pictures, or images, of the inside of the body. Many people who have headaches want a CT scan or an MRI to find out if their headaches are caused by a serious problem, such as a brain tumor.

What can MRI of the head detect? MRI can detect a variety of conditions of the brain such as cysts, tumors, bleeding, swelling, developmental and structural abnormalities, infections, inflammatory conditions, or problems with the blood vessels. It can determine if a shunt is working and detect damage to the brain caused by an injury or a stroke.

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What Medications Are Used To Relieve Migraine Pain

Over-the-counter medications are effective for some people with mild to moderate migraines. The main ingredients in pain relieving medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen and caffeine.

Three over-the-counter products approved by the Food and Drug Administration for migraine headaches are:

  • Excedrin® Migraine.
  • Advil® Migraine.
  • Motrin® Migraine Pain.

Be cautious when taking over-the-counter pain relieving medications. Sometimes overusing them can cause analgesic-rebound headaches or a dependency problem. If you’re taking any over-the-counter pain medications more than two to three times a week, report that to your healthcare provider. They may suggest prescription medications that may be more effective.

Prescription drugs for migraine headaches include:

Triptan class of drugs :

  • Sumatriptan.
  • Butterbur.
  • Co-enzyme Q10.

Drugs to relieve migraine pain come in a variety of formulations including pills, tablets, injections, suppositories and nasal sprays. You and your healthcare provider will discuss the specific medication, combination of medications and formulations to best meet your unique headache pain.

Drugs to relieve nausea are also prescribed, if needed.

All medications should be used under the direction of a headache specialist or healthcare provider familiar with migraine therapy. As with any medication, it’s important to carefully follow the label instructions and your healthcare providers advice.

When To Seek Treatment For Migraine

If your headache or migraine attacks are interfering with your everyday life or functioning, see a doctor. If you have migraine with aura, treatment with a combination of acute and preventative medication is necessary.

A doctor can do an exam and determine whether the cause is migraine or something else. An accurate diagnosis can help you get appropriate treatment.

Medical attention is necessary if your symptoms:

  • have a sudden onset
  • last more than an hour
  • dont completely resolve

Medical emergency

If you have symptoms like a loss of consciousness or weakness on one side of the body, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Migraine with aura increases the risk of stroke, and its important to avoid certain medications and treat any symptoms.

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Can You Prevent Brain Lesions

Scientists are still looking for ways to protect against brain lesions. They think keeping your migraines in check can help. Having frequent attacks is linked with a higher risk of lesions, so fending off migraines or treating them early on may help lower your risk. These simple steps could help:

  • Talk to your doctor. You may need to take medicine or get treatments, like Botox injections, to head off migraines.
  • Know your triggers. Bright lights, weather changes, and certain foods could set off your migraines. Once you know your triggers, you can learn to avoid them.
  • Keep a lid on stress. Make time to unwind and do things you enjoy every day.
  • Get moving. Exercise eases tension and boosts blood flow to the brain, which can help stave off headaches. Research also shows that physical activity may prevent white matter lesions.
  • Practice good sleep habits. A bad night could set off an attack. Try to go to bed and wake up at around the same time.

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Will An Mri Show Arthritis

Migraine Patients Not Hurt by ‘Freckles’ on Brain Imaging

MRI is the most effective way to diagnose problems within any joint and the image sensitivity makes it the most accurate imaging tool available in detecting arthritis and other inflammatory changes. MRI is also a key diagnostic tool when patients have lower back pain, radiating pain or hip/groin pain.

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A Migraine Attack Is Triggered

There is a lot of evidence that migraine attacks are triggered when the concentration of K+ in the ECF becomes too high. This corresponds to the situation where the dancer has dropped so many marbles around her feet that she ends up slipping on one of them. This increase in K+ in the ECF can happen for a number of reasons:

  • If the Na+/K+-pumps are not being supplied with enough oxygen and/or blood sugar, K+ cannot be pumped out of the ECF fast enough and the concentration of K+ in the ECF will increase . This can happen if the arteries supplying this part of the brain are very contracted so that too little blood flow is coming through, starving the Na+/K+-pumps of the oxygen and blood sugar that is normally being delivered in sufficient amounts by the blood. If it is too long since youve eaten a meal, your blood sugar may also be so low that the Na+/K+-pumps are not getting the energy they need to remove K+ from the ECF at a fast enough rate.
  • If the nerve cells have been firing at a very high frequency for a very long time, K+ in the ECF will increase . This can happen when you have been very stressed for a long time or have not had enough sleep.
  • If too little K+ is being removed by the blood flow that normally helps sweep up some of the excess K+ in the ECF. This happens if the blood flow to that part of the brain is insufficient.

I Have To Be In A Completely Dark Room With A Cold Compress And Hope To Fall Asleep Until It Passes Clare 27

At first they were extremely scary and I thought I was going blind, as I would have blurred and almost complete loss of vision. I have to be in a completely dark room with a cold compress and hope to fall asleep until it passes. One time, I was in the shower and almost slipped and fell because of my loss of vision. I cried out and one of my roommates came running and she helped walk me to my bed.

Its honestly difficult to manage as they come at random times every few months. However, Ive learned to recognize the symptoms and hopefully nip it in the bud before it gets too bad.

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How Can I Treat Migraines Without Using Medicines

It is very important to remember that many of the most effective preventive treatments for migraines do not require any medications. Frequent aerobic exercise is an excellent example of an effective way to improve headaches. Other strategies may include better sleep habits, stress reduction, massage, yoga, and acupuncture.

Imaging The Pain Network In Chronic Migraine


Pain experience is a complex process involving sensory, affective, and cognitive brain networks. Similar to previous findings in episodic migraine patients , an altered functional recruitment of brain areas involved in the sensory-discriminative and affective aspects of pain, including the insula, prefrontal, anterior cingulate and somatosensory cortex, has been demonstrated in chronic migraine patients . Maladaptive functional activation of brain networks involved in attentive and executive functions, such as the executive control, default mode and dorsal attention network, have also been revealed in patients with chronic migraine. Thus, suggesting that the reaction to painful stimuli, preparation of responses, and allocation of attentional resources to pain are impaired in chronic migraine patients . Whether cognitive symptoms, particularly deficits in attention and executive functions, might influence the functional activity of brain cognitive networks has never been investigated. A comprehensive neuropsychological assessment should be included in future studies. The salience network has a key role in defining the saliency of incoming painful stimuli. In chronic migraine patients, the presence of cutaneous allodynia was associated to an increased activity of the salience network. These findings support a possible involvement of the salience network in central sensitization .

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What Symptoms Must You Have To Be Diagnosed With A Migraine

Migraine with aura . This is a headache, plus:

  • Visual symptoms or vision loss.
  • Sensory symptoms .

Migraine without aura . A common migraine is a headache and:

  • The attacks included pain on one side of your head.
  • Youve had at least five attacks, each lasting between four and 72 hours.

Plus, youve experienced at least one of the following:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Lights bother you and/or you avoid light.
  • Sounds bother you and/or you avoid sounds.

Why Do I Need To See A Neurologist For Headaches

When to call a neurologist for migraine

If you have severe headaches or accompanying symptoms that are disrupting your life, it might be a good idea to see a neurologist. Consider making an appointment with a neurologist if: Your headache is continuous for more than a day or two. Your headaches tend to come on suddenly.

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Other Signs And Symptoms Of A Brain Tumour

Other features of headaches have been identified as “red flags,” which may suggest a brain tumour. These include:

  • a change in previous headache pattern
  • if your headaches are associated with:
  • any new muscle weakness, sensory symptoms , or visual symptoms, especially on one side of the body
  • a change in memory, personality, or thinking
  • seizures this does not have to be a full convulsive seizure, but could be a twitching of the hand, arm or leg, or an ‘absence’.

It is important to remember that all these symptoms can frequently occur in harmless headaches.

Auras Are Different For Everyone

Video Explanation: What are Headaches?

Auras are not one size fits all, meaning anyone who gets an aura may experience it differently. And they dont necessarily occur before every migraine attack, Dr. Diamond says. Auras can also be experienced as sensory or motor disturbances, which may include tingling, numbness, and weakness, or as a dysphasic aura, which causes verbal and language symptoms like mumbling or slurred speech. According to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, among people who experience auras, 90% to 99% develop visual auras, 36% develop sensory auras, and 10% of people develop dysphasic auras.

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I Think I Have A Brain Tumour What Should I Do

Brain tumours are rare, however, if you’re worried, if a symptom persists or if you have more than one of these symptoms then you may want to speak to a healthcare profession.

Talk to your GP

GP appointments are usually quite short, find out how to best prepare for your appointment with our guide to talking to your doctor.

Get an eye test

If your symptoms are limited to changes in vision and/or headaches, get your eyes tested by an optician before seeing your GP.

Should I go to A& E?

  • The headache is accompanied by a fever or stiff neck.
  • The headache is the highest degree of pain on the pain scale.

This does not mean it is a brain tumour, but it could be another serious complaint that needs immediate treatment.

For signs and symptoms to be aware of in children of different ages, including persistent or recurring headaches, visit our HeadSmart website.

Should I speak to a doctor during the coronavirus pandemic?

We understand you may feel worried about seeking help from your GP during the coronavirus pandemic but please don’t delay speaking to a healthcare professional.

The NHS and your GP are still here for you and have made changes that make it easier to safely speak to a healthcare professional and get medical help if you need it.

It’s more important than ever for you to prepare for your appointments by understanding what might happen during the appointment and what questions you want to ask.

What Are The Treatments For Migraine

There is no absolute cure for migraine. However, lots of treatments are available to help ease the symptoms of a migraine attack.

When a migraine attack occurs, most people find that lying down in a quiet, dark room is helpful. Sleeping can also help. Some people find that their symptoms die down after they have vomited .

Most people affected by migraine will already have tried paracetamol, aspirin and perhaps anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen before they seek advice from their doctor. If ordinary painkillers alone are not relieving your symptoms, your GP might prescribe you a triptan to be taken in addition to over-the-counter painkillers . Triptans are available in different forms to suit individuals , although it is important to note that some people develop short-term side effects when taking triptans. Your doctor may also prescribe you anti-sickness medication. If your situation does not improve after treatment, you might be referred to a specialist migraine clinic.

It is important to avoid taking painkillers on more than two days per week or more than 10 days per month as this can in fact make things worse by triggering medication overuse headaches.

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