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By Dr Carolyn Bernstein
Last updated at 10:00 AM on 10th May 2010

An Egyptian medical scroll dated 1500 to 3000BC is the first known mention of a migraine, and throughout the centuries they have been one of the least understood but most common diseases.

Yet despite its longevity, the single biggest misunderstanding is that a migraine is just a severe headache. It is, in fact, a complex neurological disease that affects the central nervous system and is accompanied by a range of physical and emotional symptoms.

I had my first migraine when I was a medical student in my early 20s. At first I thought I was just having bad headaches and it didn’t occur to me to talk to my doctor. The pain would always resolve, although sometimes I had to sleep it off.

But as I began to study neurology, I realised I was having migraines. I was shocked at the absence of solid medical data and horrified by the lack of sympathy. I learned what many migraineurs already knew: people who don’t get migraines – including many doctors – have a hard time believing how debilitating they are. Indeed, countless patients tell me their friends or employers have ordered them to ‘just deal with it’.

I’d already decided to specialise in neurology. But it was my own experience, and the realisation that we in the medical world still had so much to learn, that led me to investigate this fascinating disorder.

Migraines are caused by abnormal brain biochemistry and are not, as some believe, self-induced. They are not the consequence of psychiatric problems, nor a sign of hypochondria, nor the fault of the sufferer. They are a chronic, neurological illness that is present from birth and is in most cases inherited from one or both parents.

Read in Full:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1275419/Migraines–headaches-born–best-cure-cup-coffee-two.html?ito=feeds-newsxml



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