Migraines can damage the brain
People who get migraines have structural differences in their brains—differences that might make life more painful in many ways. When neurologists scanned the brains of people who got migraines, they found that their brains were 21 percent thicker than normal in an area called the somatosensory cortex. This region detects and reacts to sensations such as touch, temperature, and pain from all over the body. “Repeated migraine attacks may lead to or be the result of” changes to this brain region, Dr. Nouchine Hadjikhani tells the London Guardian. During a migraine, a sufferer feels throbbing pain and crippling nausea, and becomes acutely sensitive to light and sound. Repeated migraines, Hadjikhani says, may sensitize this portion of the brain, which is why migraine sufferers often also complain of pain in their backs and jaws and have hypersensitive skin. Brain scans showed that a migraine can actually damage the brain like a minor stroke, so Hadjikhani advises doing whatever is necessary to prevent them. “It has to be taken seriously,” she says, “because it can induce changes in your brain.”