Severe Migraine


What Is Severe Migraine?

Migraine headaches are a common type of headache characterized by intense, throbbing head pain accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Severe migraine is a relatively new term in the world of migraine headaches. It is defined as a migraine headache that is associated with disabling intensity, frequency, and duration of pain, and with other disabling symptoms for three or more days a month. Severe migraine affects up to 15 percent of adults with migraines.

Signs and Symptoms

Severe migraine is characterized by a greater degree of head pain and additional symptoms than are associated with a typical migraine. Signs and symptoms of severe migraine may include:

  • Intense throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head.
  • Other disabling symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, worsened by physical activity.
  • Severe migraine headaches that last for more than 72 hours.
  • Impaired ability to work and perform daily activities.
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and smells.


The exact cause of chronic migraine is not known, but research has identified some possible factors:

  • Genes: Migraines can run in families.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Changes in hormones can trigger migraine episodes, especially in women.
  • Stress: High levels of stress can trigger or worsen migraine episodes.
  • Foods: Certain foods can trigger or worsen migraine episodes.
  • Sensory Stimulation: Exposure to bright lights or loud noises can trigger or worsen migraine episodes.


Treatment of severe migraines focuses on preventing future migraine episodes, reducing their frequency and severity, and alleviating the associated symptoms. Treatment may include:

  • Medications: Pain-relieving and anti-nausea medications, as well as preventive medications for migraine.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Changes in diet, sleep habits, exercise, and stress management can help reduce migraine episodes.
  • Stress Management: Learning and utilizing techniques to better manage stress can reduce the frequency and severity of migraine episodes.
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an alternative treatment that can be used to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine episodes.
  • Behavioral Therapy: Behavioral therapy helps patients learn to identify and modify behaviors that contribute to migraine episodes.