In Western Medicine, Migraine is considered to be a neurological disorder that usually causes a one-sided throbbing/ pulsating headache lasting between 4-72 hours (sometimes preceded by a prodrome). It can start or get worse with exercise, light, sounds, certain foods or smells. Some people feel a migraine coming on when the weather changes. A migraine attack may cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea and/or vomiting or diarrhea. For some women, migraines are linked to their menstrual cycle.
In Chinese medicine, the complexity of these different symptoms shows again the importance of a good diagnosis. For example, if there is a strong desire to drink cold liquids, there is Heat in the body. Mild, niggling thirst without strong desire to drink suggests Damp. If the migraine is linked to the menstrual cycle, then a difficulty of the body of moving between Yin and Yang phases can be assumed (see blog entry on the menstrual cycle). This includes often a (CM) Blood deficiency, and a stagnation of the emotions (Liver energy). And never forget, pain is always a combination of Qi & Blood Stagnation. So he key is to clear the Heat or the Damp, move that Qi and tonify the Blood, depending on the presentation.