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3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,218 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
In recent years the bestselling Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat have received great critical acclaim, but Oliver Sacks's readers may remember that he began his medical career working with migraine patients. In this new edition of Migraine, he returns to his first book and enriches it with additional case histories, new findings, and practical informat ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 16th 1993 by University of California Press (first published 1970)
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Collin Shea
Feb 21, 2008 Collin Shea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was originally written in 1970 with subsequent revisions in '85 and '92. Given that it's slightly outdated I wasn't sure how relevant it would be, especially considering all the different migraine medications they have now. I couldn't have been more wrong!
The wonderful thing about Dr. Sacks is that he's not all about standardized, generalized drug-treatment and he has a full respect for nature. He considers each case and patient as an individual human being with all the uniqueness that
Dec 31, 2010 Vintagebarrio rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As a chronic migraine sufferer, I found Sack's work to be a huge disappointment. His information was outdated and biased towards the traditional attitude that migraines are stress induced. Migraines are so much more complicated than originally thought, a complex chemical and electrical reaction that can be set in motion by extremely diverse causes from brain tumors to multiple sclerosis to spinal injury, not to mention hormonal changes, trigger exposure, and altitude sickness, just to name a few ...more
Mar 02, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book synopsis pretty much says it all.
I read this years ago. I remember it well because I could relate to a lot of what Sacks was saying. Still, it was somewhat frustrating and disappointing not getting a definite medical description or definition for migraine, and realising that there is no cure. And all migraineurs have different triggers and different physical symptoms.

I have since found a real gem a book on the subject, The Keeler Migraine Method: A Groundbreaking, Individualized Treat
Judy Vasseur
Jun 27, 2010 Judy Vasseur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just briefly started reading this book on the subway, until I feared the swaying motion, screeching, piercing lights, incessant babble, and ear-splitting singing of the blind beggar might bring on a migraine.

We can't blame it on florescent lighting, traffic jams, or the office because it’s been around at least since Hippocrates.

If you experience migraines, either occasionally or constantly, this book can be an eye-opener to better understanding and coping with this mysterious complex event.

Mustafa Şahin
Feb 28, 2016 Mustafa Şahin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-literature
Her ne kadar tıbbi eğitim almamış okuyucuların da anlayacağı bir dille yazılmaya çalışılmışsa da ben okurken epey yoruldum. Fakat yine de migrene ve doğasına dair birçok fikir kazandırıyor (yani öyle her başı ağrıyan migren değilmiş).
May 17, 2015 Chet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Visual migraines are terrifying experiences that physicians (and eye doctors) do not typically treat. This book was recommended by bloggers reporting on their own experiences, so I bought the book. The author gives an in-depth scientific treatment of migraines in general and visual migraines (auras) in particular. The book is written on a college science level.

Some famous people with auras are mentioned and numerous artistic representations of auras are shown. Biological explanations are given a
James Klagge
Recently I had what was diagnosed as an ophthalmic migraine, or a scintillating scotoma. This was the second event in about 2 months. There was no pain associated with it, and apparently it is not a dangerous condition, but it was certainly attention-getting. I had been interested in this book for several years, so I took the occasion to read it. While I am an Oliver Sacks fan, this is my least favorite of his books so far (I've read almost all of them). His strength is when he looks at some cas ...more
Fiona Robson
Anyone who has the misfortune to suffer from migraines NEEDS to read this book! It explains so much. Sadly ... not really how to actually be CURED of them, but a fascinating read anyway, and it's always good to know you're not alone. Especially if you suffer from Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome, like I do, and it explains the links with sickness extremely well. Oliver Sacks is always a pleasure to read anyway, and has a lovely, readable style, despite dealing with complicated chemical explanations et ...more
John Markos O'Neill
I read this book when I was in college, suffering from multiple classical migraines every week. It taught me to treat my migraines by hitting them hard with aspirin and coffee, just as I started to see the visual disturbance. I still get migraines from time to time, but never get a headache.

Interestingly, Excedrin is an implementation of the Sacks treatment, because it contains aspirin, caffeine, and acetaminophen.
Dec 27, 2009 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit I started out strong with this book and then took the longest break ever. Then, I finally went back to it. The information in it is truly fascinating but it isn't the most fun read of all time. Musicophilia was interesting but had some fun.

Oliver Sacks covers a lot of material. He goes over more case histories than I can count and discusses migraines as history essentially. He discusses the neurological makeup of a migraine and an aura in as much information as he knew at the ti
Linda  Branham Greenwell
Migraine is a helpful book for people who suffer from migraines. It has full of rich detailed explanations and case studies. Dr. Sacks is wonderful neurologist who is a migraine sufferer himself. I was amazed at how many symptoms a migraine sufferer can have besides the actual headache
I also suffer from migraines and have found that many of the weird experiences I have had are part of the migraine syndrome.
In another of his books, Hallucinations, Dr. Sacks details Alice in Wonderland syndrome -
Helen (Helena/Nell)
I've been reading quite a bit of Oliver Sacks lately and now I realise I've been reading the populist works. He can do easy read and he can do medical. This one is medical.

However, I read it all the way through and I found it very interesting, even though there were quite a few medical terms that went right over my head. I think I was able to read the whole book simply because I do have migraines, so it all seemed personal, even the bits I didn't find entertaining and didn't really understand.

Feb 23, 2010 Mel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mind-body
I wish that I had read this book 7-8 years ago when I first started experiencing migraines. I wish that the numerous doctors and specialists I had seen had also read this book. Oliver Sacks doesn't provide a magic answer for the cause or cure of migraines, but his discussion of the different types of migraine, as well as contributing factors to migraine attacks, brought up some good points which cleared up some questions my doctors were never able to answer satisfactorily. Most interesting, of c ...more
Sep 05, 2015 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't suffer from migraines, so reading a book about them should have held no interest for me. And yet...the late great Dr. Sacks has managed to enlightening, inform, and entertain me again!
Oliver Sacks talks at length about migraines, a neurological problem he is fascinated by because of its varied manifestations and the auras that can precede them. There are classical migraines, common migraines, and then a handful of other classifications that he goes into.

I enjoyed learning about migraines, and never knew that the symptoms went far beyond just the severe headache and sensitivity to lights. Migraine auras in particular are peculiar phenomenon that were fun to read to about.

Kathy Gill
Feb 01, 2015 Kathy Gill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with migraines or who has a loved one with migraines
Classic book on migraine, although dated in the sense that it does not include current research. (Look at the publish date!)

It's Oliver Sacks - which means its thorough and readable. It was a godsend for me when I was in the midst of what I call "the year of the migraine." On January 1, 2013, I got a migraine headache which lasted 6 weeks, through a variety of treatment attempts. Finally, a dose of prednisone whacked the headache part. But not the neurological part: light/sound/odor sensitivity.
Jan 19, 2016 K. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I didn't finish this before it had to go back because I just couldn't get into it.
I get the feeling that maybe I've read it before?
Just did not enjoy this as much as the other Oliver Sacks books.
May 05, 2008 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love all of Oliver Sacks books, but for this one, I'd say you would have to be a migraine sufferer to enjoy it. After reading this book, I really felt special and that I had a fascinating disease. Only Oliver Sacks can make you feel this way.
Douglass Gaking
This is not Oliver Sacks' best work. I read this to get some medical insight on my migraine condition. Sacks puts the primary blame for migraines on psychological, rather than physiological factors, despite the fact that migraines are primarily a genetic disorder. He considers most cases of chronic migraines to be psychosomatic, which I have a hard time buying. The book can get very dry, and I found myself starting to skim, which I rarely do when I read. It does not help that the topic of migrai ...more
Oct 31, 2007 julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have these. They suck but knowing is half the battle right?
Feb 17, 2016 Ekaterina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Мигрень”, Оливер Сакс. Издавалась в 1970, затем с дополнениями в 1992 году. В России вышла в издательстве “Астрель” в 2012 году. Оливер Сакс покинул нас 30 августа 2015 года.

Мигрень и я — давние знакомые. Книга Оливера Сакса представлялась мне своеобразным учебником, из которого я могла бы почерпнуть что-то полезное для себя. Как это ни банально звучит, но книга превзошла мои ожидания.

Прежде всего хочу отметить, что это научный труд со всеми необходимыми выкладками, таблицами, историями болезне
I bought this book on a whim a couple of Fridays ago because I was in a bookstore and it had been on my list of things to read for a long time. I brought it home and immediately started reading it. And then, when I went out with some friends, I got a migraine that lasted through Sunday. Argh.

I'm not sure I'll finish the book -- evidently the power of suggestion is strong for me. But the illustrations are really great -- I've always wanted to be able to show people what my vision looks like when
Heather Tomlinson
Oct 30, 2013 Heather Tomlinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lifestyle, health

This is a great book from Oliver Sacks, which I especially enjoyed as I'm a migraineur. For those not affected, there are parts that are interesting, but I suspect it's those most closely associated with migraines that would want to read it.

There are some really fascinating ideas in here. Sacks goes through descriptions of the condition - which are fascinating, I never knew how many peculiar symptoms there are - and it helped explain some of my own experiences. There is a range of different appr
Jun 05, 2014 Jandae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: clinicians and general physicians
I suffer from chronic migraines and I just wanted to know more. I have never seen a migraine specialist or a neurologist, although I know my mother sees a neurologist regularly for her migraines. The only people I have ever spoken to about my migraines are general practitioners, and the only treatment ever prescribed has been medication-only -- medication which, after about three months becomes useless as I have built up a tolerance. So I wanted to know what an award-winning neurologist had to s ...more
Sacks covers all aspects of the migraine experience in this book. near-exhaustive.

the science and scholarship are top-notch. he added an update to this edition covering recent advances in knowledge and treatment and modified his own prior statements, realizing he’d been wrong.

including the art was important. it allowed non-sufferers to get a glimpse into the experiences of having a migraine and show that migraines really are not all about pain.

he’s a good writer and does his best to talk with hi
Jan 27, 2016 Adrian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely more medically-oriented than I was expecting coming from OS, but non the less a great synopsis of a terrible condition that seems elusive to modern medicine. I enjoyed the discussion on auras and circumstantial/situational migraines. Furthermore, the chapter on the her pairs was brief , but I could read OS pero snap philosophy of talking to the patient and listening to the patient come across his words. I did sometimes become lost in the innumerable details and that why I scored it at ...more
Apr 24, 2013 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oliver Sacks work is, for the most part, quite accessible to the non-technical. This book, however, was written in the early '60's before he got his lay person jive on. He did a decent edit in the '90's, but it's still very technical. I will admit to keeping the app at the ready. Still, I found the content fascinating. Here is everything you wanted to know about migraine and more: the different types, the varying symptoms (both common and freakily rare), the methods of treatment, ...more
Apr 22, 2014 Lorrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the most current but helpful in that it explains the complexity and different forms migraine can take. If you suffer from migraines, especially the atypical symptoms, it will help you realize you are not alone. That said, it is not a how-to book. It is much more academic and brings in medical, psychological, and historical perspectives. It can be quite dense and is not an easy read. It is best for getting a context and wider view of the condition.
Oct 23, 2015 Ivy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating read, although it was not light. It was really technical. I learned a lot, and verified many suspicions. This is certainly not something to pick up for a couple of easy hours of reading, it may help with insomnia however. I appreciated the case studies over centuries. It was well researched and documented. The writing was surprisingly accessible for something so cerebral.
A really fascinating, in-depth look at a common but mysterious illness. Sacks is one of my all-time favorite authors because of his thoughtfulness and thoroughness. He writes about medicine as both a science and an art, the study of patients just as much as, or more than, disease. (He explains that the primary method in treating a migraine should be to LISTEN to the patient.) The book starts with a historical account of the study of migraines and descriptions of its many forms. But the most inte ...more
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Oliver Wolf Sacks, CBE, was a British neurologist residing in the United States, who has written popular books about his patients, the most famous of which is Awakenings, which was adapted into a film of the same name starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro.

Sacks was the youngest of four children born to a prosperous North London Jewish couple: Sam, a physician, and Elsie, a surgeon. When he wa
More about Oliver Sacks...

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“Presiding over the entire attack there will be, in du Bois Reymond's words, "a general feeling of disorder," which may be experienced in either physical or emotional terms, and tax or elude the patient's powers of description.” 0 likes
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