(redirected from hemicrania)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.


(mī`grān), headache characterized by recurrent attacks of severe pain, usually on one side of the head. It may be preceded by flashes or spots before the eyes or a ringing in the ears, and accompanied by double vision, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness. The attacks vary in frequency from daily occurrences to one every few years.

Migraine affects women three times as often as men and is frequently inherited. Many disturbances, such as allergy, temporary swelling of the brain, and endocrine disturbances, have been suspected of causing some varieties of the disorder. Although the exact cause is unknown, evidence suggests a genetically transmitted functional disturbance of cranial circulation. The pain is believed to be associated with constriction followed by dilation of blood vessels leading to and within the brain.

Untreated attacks may last for many hours. Mild attacks are often relieved by common sedatives such as aspirin or codeine. Severe attacks may be treated with any of a variety of drugs, including a group called triptans, by injection or in the form of pills or nasal sprays. Certain beta-blockers, antiepileptic drugs, or tricyclic antidepressants may reduce the recurrence of migraines in some patients. Biofeedback is used in training people to recognize the warning symptoms and to practice control over the vascular dilation that initiates attacks.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also hemicrania), a condition characterized by periodic headaches, usually localized in one half of the head. Women are most often affected by migraines, and in the majority of cases there is a hereditary tendency. The condition usually begins to manifest itself during puberty.

Migraines originate with changes in the tonus of intracranial and extracranial vessels. It is conjectured that first there is a spasm in the vessels and then a decrease in their tonus. As a result, the vessels dilatate abnormally. The headache attacks are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and photophobia. Other symptoms include pallor or flushing, chilled hands and feet, weakness, shivering, and yawning. Patients usually complain of seeing bright flashes and zigzag lines; sometimes there is reduction or dimness of vision (ophthalmic migraine). Other symptoms are numbness of or tingling sensations in the extremities and, sometimes, the face and tongue. The symptomatic migraine is an indication of organic brain disease—for example, tumor, or vascular aneurysm.

Treatment entails normalization of vascular tonus, sedatives, and physical therapy.


Davidenkov, S. N., and A. M. Godinova. “K voprosu o nozologicheskikh granitsakh migrenei.” In Ocherki klinicheskoi nevrologii, fasc. 2. [Leningrad] 1964. [Collection of works.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Recurrent paroxysmal vascular headache, commonly having unilateral onset and often associated with nausea and vomiting.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a throbbing headache usually affecting only one side of the head and commonly accompanied by nausea and visual disturbances
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Common varieties are TTH and migraine, while others including MOH, coexisting migraine and TTH, cluster headache, occipital neuralgia, hemicrania continua, and supra orbital neuralgia are rare.
Former group of primary headache included 240 female (62.5%) and 144 male (37.5%) patients of chronic migraine amounting 63.36% of chronic migraine patients and CTTH patients were 36.63% that comprised 158 females (71.17%) and 64 males (36.82%), whereas no patients were found of SUNCT, NDPH, medication-overuse chronic cluster headache, and hemicrania continua.
Sixteen (3.2%) patients had cluster headache, and five (1%) patients had hemicrania continua.
The clinical examination at the first hospitalization in Iasi (January 2013) revealed bilateral hearing loss predominantly on the left side, left hemicrania, cough, dizziness, and purulent rhinorrhea.
The text and tables that follow focus on the diagnosis and treatment of the 4 primary headache disorders of long duration--chronic migraine (CM), chronic tension-type headache (CTTH), hemicrania continua (HC), and new daily persistent headache (NDPH) (TABLE 1).
In the literature, a few case reports exist regarding topiramate use in the treatment of headache syndromes such as exploding head syndrome and chronic paroxysmal hemicrania instead of epileptic disorders (7,8).
The recently revised taxonomy includes several new conditions, such as chronic paroxysmal hemicrania: remitting form, hemicrania continua, postlumbar puncture headache, and so forth [1].
Ilene complained that she developed hemicrania migraines, which her physician believed had been caused by trauma during the procedure to remove the suspected pituitary tumor.
The response to this therapy also essentially excluded other causes of unilateral headache like paroxysmal hemicrania, hemicrania continua and short-lasting, unilateral neuralgiform pain with conjuctival injection and tearing (SUNCT syndrome), which do not respond to oxygen.11
The patient was clinically diagnosed as chronic paroxysmal hemicrania and initially treated with indomethacin.