Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

When your headache could be something more

A woman holds her head in pain.

Nearly everyone has an occasional headache, but when it becomes a regular occurrence, you may be suffering from a headache disorder. Migraine headaches are one of the most common causes of headaches and disproportionately affect women, according to Harvey Chim, M.D., F.A.C.S., a UF Health plastic surgeon who specializes in migraine surgery.

“Migraine headaches have certain characteristics that distinguish them from an ordinary headache such as originating from a certain area of the head,” Chim said. “They can sometimes cause light flashes and can be worse with certain triggers such as temperature, noise or menstrual periods.”

Migraine headaches affect 12% of the population worldwide and women make up 85% of those sufferers. Common symptoms include throbbing pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell. Medical treatment is the first line of defense to help ease the symptoms of migraine headaches.

While women make up a large majority of sufferers, migraine is common in people between the ages of 18 and 44. While the causes aren’t completely understood, the disorder is often hereditary. Diagnosis is normally made through a neurologist.

Luckily, people with severe, chronic migraines have surgical options to reduce their symptoms or pain. The surgery aims to decompress the sensory nerves around the skull that contribute to pain from migraine headaches. Chim says the procedure can immensely improve a patient’s quality of life and ease the pain caused by the disorder. There is more than 20 years of published evidence supporting surgery for treatment of migraine headaches.

June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month and aims to raise awareness and recognition of migraine and other headache disorders. In recognition of this month, learn more about how UF Health can help treat your migraine headache.

About the Author

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Peyton Thomas

Marketing Intern

Peyton Thomas is a fourth-year public relations major with a concentration in business. She is also pursuing a combined master's degree in digital strategy. Peyton is from Vienna, VA, where...Read More