What are the causes of migraine headache?

Updated: Oct 21, 2019
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Migraine was previously considered to be a vascular phenomenon that resulted from intracranial vasoconstriction followed by rebound vasodilation. Currently, however, the neurovascular theory describes migraine as primarily a neurogenic process with secondary changes in cerebral perfusion associated with a sterile neurogenic inflammation (see Pathophysiology).

A genetic component to migraine is indicated by the fact that approximately 70% of patients have a first-degree relative with a history of migraine. In addition, a variety of environmental and behavioral factors may precipitate migraine attacks in persons with a predisposition to migraine (see Etiology).

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