Pathfinder Repository


Migraine Headaches

This Pathfinder is no longer being actively maintained by ipl.

This guide is designed to help you find information about migraine headaches: general information about migraines, what the symptoms are, possible causes and triggers, treatments, as well as where to look for more information.

Migraines are a specific form of headache with a number of different symptoms and different subtypes. If you think you or someone you know might suffer from migraines the best place to start looking for information might be a family medical guide, such as those published by the American Medical Association, John Hopkins University Hospital or the Mayo Clinic, which can be found in any public library. This will give a basic description of migraine headaches and their symptoms. Of course any diagnosis must be made by your medical doctor.

Internet Resources

There are many Internet sites containing information on migraines, the following are just a few to start with:

NINDS Migraine Information Page
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke conducts research into the diseases and disorders of the brain and nervous system. This page provides basic background information on migraines, including treatment options, prognosis, and research. Links are provided to current research studies and additional NINDS publications on migraines, headaches, and chronic pain.

Learn about the signs and symptoms, causes, risk factors, treatment, prevention, and self-care of migraines. According to MayoClinic.com, “MayoClinic.com’s medical experts and editorial professionals bring you access to the knowledge and experience of Mayo Clinic for all your consumer health information needs.”

This page provides information on how to deal with the pain associated with a migraine headache. Written by physicians, this page provides valuable information on the symptoms, triggers, and medicines used to combat migraines. Familydoctor.org is maintained by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), which represents family physicians and their practices in the United States.

Patient Education Institute
This interactive tutorial provides basic background information on migraine headaches as well as information on causes, triggers, treatment options, and prevention techniques. You may go through the tutorial at your own pace or use the self-paced or text versions. Please note that Flash Player and Acrobat Reader are required to use these tutorials. The tutorial is published by the Patient Education Institute and offered through MedLine Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Associations and Organizations

Associations and organizations are good sources of information. Their mission is to provide unbiased and useful educational resources for sufferers and to promote and fund research. They also provide up-to-date information on clinical studies. You also may want to check with these organizations if you would like to participate in a clinical study.

American Council for Headache Education
19 Mantua Road
Mt. Royal, NJ 08061
Provides information and resources on migraines, headaches, and face pain for patients, physicians, and health care providers. Topics include headaches in children, migraine in women, and the different types of headaches.

Michigan Head-Pain &Neurological Institute
3120 Professional Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-5199
Considered one of the foremost head-pain research institutes in the world. This website provides resources and information for headache sufferers, including relaxation and pain management techniques.

Migraine Research Foundation (formerly the Migraine and Pain Fund)
434 ½ East 75th Street
New York, NY 10021
Considered the largest private funder of migraine research. Offers personal stories of migraine sufferers, educational resources, and additional links to organizations, publications, doctors, and headache centers.

National Headache Foundation (formerly the National Migraine Foundation)
5252 North Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625
Acts as an advocate for headache sufferers by providing information on migraines and their treatment. Sign up for free updates from the NHF; learn about support groups in your area; or keep up-to-date with the latest study.

Print Resources

There are also several books on headaches and migraines specifically that have received good reviews in recent years. You may want to check out:

Tepper, S. J. (2006). Understanding migraine and other headaches. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.
Offers information on how to diagnosis a migraine versus other types of headaches and treatment methods.

Henry, K. A. (2005). 100 questions and answers about migraines. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
Tackles headaches and migraines holistically. Provides information on triggers, treatment, and management as well as lifestyle change recommendations and emotional coping mechanisms.

Peterson, C. (1999). Women’s migraine survival guide: The most complete, up-to-date resource on the causes of your migraine pain and treatments for real relief. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
This helpful title provides information on migraines from a woman’s perspective, including how migraines change over the phases of a woman’s life. Chapters include detailed information on migraines during pregnancy, menopause, and menstruation.

To search for additional books, please visit your local library and ask your librarian for assistance. Most public libraries in the United States use the Dewey Decimal Classification system; the call number for headaches is:

  • 616.047 Headaches

However, if you are using an academic library, the Library of Congress subject headings are:

  • Headache
  • Migraine

This pathfinder was created by Marissa Hagen. It was updated by Crystal Newell for Dr. Eileen Abels Info 780 Course at Drexel University, Spring, 2008.