Although there has been much effort made to understand the underlying cause behind migraines, we are still in the dark regarding the true pathophysiological factors which cause migraine. Though it is known the migraine has a neurovascular component where the cranial vessels dilate instead of contract, the true mechanism behind this is still unknown.
It has been suggested that the most likely cause is a dysfunction of the ion channels which are used to regulate the sensory input and neuronal influences on the brain stem nuclei. Though there is ample evidence to show genetic susceptibility to certain types of migraine such as in the case of the CACNA1A gene for the familial hemiplegic migraine (Arulmozhi, Veeranjaneyulu, & Bodhankar, 2005).
Three theories have been supposed to using a scientific basis to provide cause behind the incidence and prevalence of migraines. The first is the vascular theory which was put forth in the 1930s by Harold Wolff. This theory is currently the most popular and is mentioned in the preceding paragraph. The basis behind this theory was discovered when Wolff found that treating migraine sufferers with the vasoconstrictor ergotamine relieved their pain and decreased arterial dilation (Arulmozhi, Veeranjaneyulu, & Bodhankar, 2005).
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