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Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches involve intense pulsing or throbbing pain localized to one part of the head.
Migraine pain is sometimes preceded by visual disturbances called auras; it can be accompanied by light and sound sensitivity, and nausea. Migraine headaches are often a chronic problem as opposed to an isolated incident, and many times certain environmental stimuli trigger a migraine headache (e.g. anxiety, lack of food or sleep, hormonal fluctuations). Experts currently think that migraine headaches are caused by an inherited abnormality of one of the genes that controls brain activity. Treatments for migraine headaches include stress management, hormone treatments, medications that prevent the onset of a migraine, and medications that treat the symptoms of a migraine.

Observing Migraine Headaches in the Classroom

Faculty might observe the following in students with migraine headaches:

  • Might appear to be in pain or cover their eyes
  • May leave the classroom unexpectedly
  • Might be absent more frequently than other students
  • May have difficulty with very bright or flickering lights.


Related Functional Characteristics

Allergies : Migraines are often triggered by pollen, environmental or food allergies.

Dietary Needs : Migraines can be triggered by food allergies or preservatives such as MSG or sulphites.

Flicker or Pattern Sensitivity : Exposure to repetitive patterns, flickering video, and stroboscopic lights may trigger or exacerbate a migraine headache.

Glare Sensitivity : Squinting or otherwise compensating for glare sensitivity can cause migraine headaches.

Pain Management : Students with migraine headaches often experience debilitating pain.

Sensory Distractibility : If a migraine occurs, students may experience hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli (e.g. bright lights, ticking clocks) and be unable to concentrate.

The Building Accepting Campus Communities (BACC) project was funded by the US Department of Education Office of Secondary Education grant #P333A080070-09. The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.