Frequently asked questions

Disease Info

What is a migraine?
Generally, migraine begins as a dull ache and then develops into a constant throbbing and pulsating pain that you may feel at the temples, as well as the front or back of one or both sides of the head. The pain is usually accompanied by a combination of nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise. Some people (about 15% of those living with migraine disease) experience an aura before an attack. The cause of migraine is believed to be chemical reactions in the brain. (NHF)
What is an aura?
About 15-20% of people with migraine get an “aura,” which is a manifestation of neurological symptoms that occurs before a migraine headache. You may see wavy or jagged lines, dots, or flashing lights; or you might experience tunnel vision or blind spots in one or both eyes. The aura can include visual or auditory hallucinations and disruptions in smell (such as strange odors), taste, or touch. Other symptoms include numbness, a “pins and needles” sensation, or difficulty in recalling or speaking the correct word. These neurological events may last as long as sixty minutes and will fade as the headache begins. (NHF)
What is a trigger?
Certain physical or environmental factors, such as foods, hormonal changes, weather, and stress, can lead to or “trigger” a migraine. However, it’s important to remember that triggers are different for everyone. That’s why, to help prevent migraine attacks, you need to figure out which triggers affect you and which ones don’t. Keeping a headache diary is an effective way to track triggers, and it will help you talk to your healthcare professional about your condition. (NHF)
What is cluster headache?
Cluster headache gets its name because the attacks come in groups. The pain arrives with little, if any, warning and is usually on one side of the head. A tearing or bloodshot eye and a runny nose on the side of the headache may also accompany the pain. Cluster headache, believed to be caused by chemical reactions in the brain, has been described as the most severe and intense of any headache type. Treatment for cluster headache includes prescription medication and oxygen. (NHF)
What is New Daily Persistant Headache?
How many headache diseases are there?
According to the National Headache Foundation, headaches are divided into two basic categories: primary/benign (tension-type, migraine, cluster) and secondary (organically caused). All headaches fall into one of these two categories depending on their causes and symptoms. (NHF)
Can I have more than one type of headache disease?
It’s not uncommon for an individual to experience more than one type of headache. According to the late Dr. Seymour Diamond, Founder of the National Headache Foundation, people with mixed headache problems — such as migraine with tension-type headache — are not unusual. (NHF)
Are headaches hereditary?
According to estimates, approximately 29.5 million people in the United States suffer from migraine. Four out of five (80 percent) of them report a family history of migraine, but scientists are not sure if this is genetic or a family predisposition. Despite the uncertainty, a child has a 50% chance of having migraine if one parent suffers and a 75% chance if both parents suffer. (NHF)


Are there alternatives to medications for treating my migraine?
While we do believe that there are specific flaws in our bodies that predispose some people more than others to migraine symptoms, this does not mean that AMD believes that medication is the only solution to controlling this disease. There are many lifestyle changes, including dietary changes, which are known to be effective. There are alternative therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback, and stress reduction, which are known to help. Some supplements, such as riboflavin, magnesium, and feverfew, can be safe and effective. And there are different forms of electromodulation and Botox. (AMD)
What are acute medications?
Acute medications are a type of medicine to be used at the onset of an attack.
Are there medications specifically for migraine?
For the first time, new medications have been approved specifically for the use in treating migraines.
Are there preventive medications for migraine?
Are there medications specifically for cluster?
Is oxygen really a treatment for cluster?
What are CGRPs?
What are mAbs?
What can I do if nothing helps?

Insurance and Disability

Will my insurance cover my medications?
I can't work because of my migraine disease. Can I get disability?


Who can I talk to?
Who can my child talk to?
How can I get involved?


Who is CHAMP?
CHAMP is a coalition of 21 organizations and leaders in headache diseases.