North Texas Institute of Neurology and Headache

5425 W. Spring Creek Pkwy

Suite 275
Plano, TX 75024
Phone: (972) 403- 8184
Fax: (972) 403- 0685




Karen Bontia, MD | Neurology | contact us

What is a migraine headache?

A migraine is a moderately-severe to severe headache commonly affecting one side of the head, forehead region or behind the eyes. This is often accompanied by nausea or vomiting, light sensitivity and noise sensitivity. It can be so severe that patients prefer to lie down in a dark, quiet room. Some patients have a warning or an aura prior to developing the headache. Patients may see zigzag lines, white spots, develop tunnel vision, or have tingling in the arm or leg before the migraine develops.

Migraine affects women three times more than men. It can start at any age, but most patients have their first attack in adolescence. Patients may only have one or two migraine headaches in their lifetime, some can have it a few times a year, and a small group of patients may have it a few times a week!

What causes it?

We still don’t know what causes migraines but we know that genes play a role because 90% of patients have a family history of migraines. It can also be hormonal, some women only have migraines a few days before or during their period. Rarely, migraine can be caused by certain medications or diseases.

What can you do about it?

- Keep a migraine diary. Make note of when you have the migraine, how severe it is and what may have caused it. Common food triggers include chocolate, red wine, MSG, excessive caffeine use, etc. Other triggers are lack of sleep, too much sleep, stress, strong smells, weather changes, medications. Each person is different and it’s important to know your triggers so you can avoid it. - Over-the-counter headache medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen can be helpful. Take the medication as soon as you feel the migraine coming on. Be careful how you take these medications though, taking too much over the counter medications (more than twice a week for at least two weeks in a row) can actually cause more headaches. - Lifestyle changes like regular exercise, stress reduction, and getting enough sleep (but not oversleeping) can help.

When should you see the neurologist?

You should definitely see a doctor if you suffer from frequent migraines, if the migraines last more than a day, have very severe headaches, and have other symptoms that go along with your headaches .

A neurologist is a doctor with special training in managing migraines and headaches. He or she can help diagnose your problem, order tests if needed, and put you on appropriate medications. There are many medications available to treat migraines. Your neurologist may put you on a combination of abortive treatment (something to take when you have the migraine) and preventive treatment (a daily medication to reduce frequency and severity of migraines). He or she can also determine if you need other treatments for migraines like injections (i.e. botulinum toxin injections) and non-traditional medicine like biofeedback, acupuncture, manual therapy, herbs/vitamins/minerals.

Contact Details

6750 N. MacArthur Blvd, Suite 250,Irving, TX 75039