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The Migraine Brain: Your Breakthrough Guide to Fewer Headaches, Better Health
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The Migraine Brain: Your Breakthrough Guide to Fewer Headaches, Better Health

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  767 ratings  ·  124 reviews
You know that your migraine isn't just a headache. But you may not know that migraine actually is a neurological disease. Affecting one in five women, one in twenty men, and one in twenty children, it's a debilitating, complex, and chronic condition that manifests in a combination of symptoms that can include excruciating head pain as well as other distinctive physical and ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 16th 2008 by Free Press (first published 2008)
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3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  767 ratings  ·  124 reviews

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Oct 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: migraine sufferers
Shelves: nonfiction
"The biggest myth is that migraine is a type of headache. This is wrong. Migraine is a complex neurological disease that affects your central nervous system" (Bernstein 15).

I'm glad I grabbed Bernstein's book on migraines this time around. I've read others -- books that have advised me to try acupuncture or take magnesium, books that have suggested that I cut out bread products or get a massage every week. I have tried all I could afford of this advice. Some of it worked for a while. Some didn'
Amber Koppenhofer
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: informative, migraine
I gave this four stars mainly because this book is packed full of useful information for those who suffer with migraines. It is not well written, and sometimes boring to read (I skimmed several parts that didn't apply to me), but it is helpful nonetheless. If you get migraines often, I highly recommend you read this book, or at very least skim through it to see if there is any information that is helpful to you.

On a side note, acupuncture is spoken of in this book a few times, and Dr. Bernstein
May 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
Amazing book! Amazing!

I have suffered with migraines for more than 25 years and this is the first time I have felt like someone understood me and what I was going through. This book discusses how seroius the migraine disease is and how you also must treat it as a serious disease. I learned so much about migraines, how to take care of myself to "hopefully" prevent migraines, and what to talk to my neurologist about to help better my care.

No longer do I feel like a big baby who can't deal with a
Linda Lipko
Feb 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book is written by a Harvard Medical School faculty member and practicing neurologist. The author is very good at outlining possible causes and research in this field

I suffer from severe headaches and thus thought the book could offer some suggestions. Alas, because I've dealt with this condition for a long time, most of the book contained information I already know.

However, I recommend this book to people who are new to this nasty condition and need to learn the triggers, the phases of hea
Nov 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, health
I was torn on how many stars to give this book. Dr. Bernstein gives some good advice about avoiding and treating migraines but the book feels really padded. She must have said drink lots of water at least 100 times. I counted 3 times on one page alone (page 292). The book has silly stories about famous people who get migraines and odd little sidebars that didn't always make sense. For example: "In the 17th century, Thomas Willis-considered the father of modern neurology(who happens to be an ance ...more
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Adam heard this author interviewed on NPR and recommended it to me since I'm a migraineur. It's written by a Harvard MD who founded a migraine clinic and is a migraineur herself. I liked that she was straightforward about what's known and unknown about migraines. And she didn't offer a silver bullet which was refreshing. Informative and helpful. I'd recommend it to anyone who suffers with migraines.
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I took notes while reading this. New studies and research have led to the view of migraines as a complex neurological disease of the central nervous system. Far from just a headache, the symptoms can include vomiting, scalp tingling, visual distortions, inability to speak, cold hands and feet, and problems in cognitive processing similar to a stroke, as well as a massive headache often centered behind one eye. All of these are things I experience, yay!

What happens when a migraine occurs is that
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book gave me a lot of help in ways to not get rid of migraine completely (your have them all your life) but how to make them better and be able to live better. There were a lot of medicines mentioned that I hadn't heard of before and natural ways of getting rid of the migraine that I didn't know. I will definitely be trying a lot of these tips and keeping a migraine journey to track this illness.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Migraineurs
Recommended to Suz by: Abi
This is easily the best migraine book I've ever read. It's a fantastic resource and chock full of information.

The writing is dry; it's mostly information about migraines and/or examples of cases that the writer (an MD from Harvard who is a migraineur who runs has her own headache clinic) has dealt with in her clinic. The dry writing might turn some people off, but if you're like me and have read a lot of journal articles or other non-fiction writing, it shouldn't be a problem.

There are a number
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
How could a book where the author recommends me to keep various items "in my purse" be the best migraine book I've yet to read? Don't be scared away from this one, he-men: Dr. Bernstein may run a headache clinic for women, but everyone can benefit from her wisdom.

What I enjoyed most were her chapters on Exercise, Nutrition, and Sleep. She quotes patients who sound like me, who experience the same whacked out migraine triggers that I do. It made me more convinced that I suffer from migraine in th
Oct 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
quite good, I suppose. If you have already read a lot about migraines, or neurology or pharmacology in your life with migraines, you probably know most of this already. However would be an excellent book if you haven't, also the charts etc to fill in with headache patterns etc well worth the purchase price alone.
Lent to me by a friend who is new to the curse of the migraine brain and thought it was a great resource. It's not particularly well written. OK for newbies but nothing enlightening for haggard old spoonies like me.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I get migraines. Anyone who gets them knows the pain is excruciating. I went to a neurologist for help, she took my history, told me to read this book and come back in a week. My husband and I read it together and took notes, returning to the doctor as instructed. She didn’t remember telling to read the book and didn’t remember the book all. I’ve included this in my review to make the point that this doctor like so many other others don’t take migraines seriously. They treat them as “headaches” ...more
Tam May
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
There is some great overall information for migraineurs in this book and it's quite comprehensive, so from that point of view, I would recommend the book.

But what I didn't like about this book at all is the attitude. This is not a book to empower migraineurs. It's in fact a book that drives home the theory that migraineurs are sick, weak people who need to depend on the help of others. Every other paragraph was either referring the reader to "talk to your doctor", "consult your doctor", "tell yo
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this book at a time most helpful when I was wanting to understand Migraines.
I believe this book is wonderful to have on hand to refer back to and or a coffee table book
and not in a bad but a good way to be able to pick it up and put it down again and again.
There are sections I refer back to every now and then. It has been amazing for myself
and sharing with others trying to understand migraines.
I believe this book is wonderful however, I will say the information was good but,
some of i
Kathleen Verbiest
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very insightful and practical.
I had my first migraine attack when I was nine years old, and this book has taught me more than any of the neurologists Ive seen in those thirty years that have passed since. Now this book is standing on my bookshelf like the first friend who ever took those debilitating aura migraines seriously, reminding me day after day that I have to take care of myself. It also gave me the tools to explain this illness to other people.
If you are sick and tired of people refer
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for anyone who suffers from migraines, or wants to better understand someone close to them who does. There is so much useful information and practical tips you can put into practice right away to begin taking control of your migraines. I’ve already noticed considerable improvement in understanding my migraine triggers and how to keep a migraine at bay.
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
So useful and a key read for all migraine sufferers. Covers all bases on options available and different life scenarios migraine affects, including touching on mental health and holistic health topics. I do feel the book could have been shorter and more straight to the point but like I said I have absolutely no regrets reading this book.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very informative. She's a secular doctor, so there were some things I disagreed with worldview-wise, but on the whole, it was very helpful in understanding why I get migraines and telling me that I'm on the right track by identifying my triggers and eating in a more healthy, regular (and more often) manner.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Extremely well thought out. Even if like me you thought you'd heard of every medical intervention ever, the book covers so many wonderful common sense once you actually think about them ways to keep your hyper sensitive migraine brain happy.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a good, comprehensive migraine nook. It is nice to have one written by a doctor who also has migraine. I wish I had read the most recent edition. A good resource to prepare for a visit to a neurologist or your PCP.
Kimberly Mcdonald
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very informative- helpful and easy to read. I will definitely use this as a reference and recommend to friends and family who suffer with Migraine. There is no information specifically about Vestibular Migraine or Migraine Associated Vertigo.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for migraine sufferers. It explains the mechanics of a migraine and gives thorough information on the migraine process. It helped me understand migraine aura, my particular triggers, and gave an extensive list of ways to prevent & treat migraines.
David Crawley
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
The author knows her subject and put a lot of work into this book, so I hate to give it a negative review, but I honestly thought it was not well written. I noticed a lot of repetition and minimal information about all the triggers that can result in a migraine. The problem of rebound (particularly from caffeine or caffeine-containing medications) can be a major etiologic factor and was barely addressed. I liked "Heal Your Headache" by David Buchholz much b
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book. A must read for those suffering from migraines, those who live with those with migraines and anyone wondering about the issue. One of the best books on the subject.
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book really helped me understand my migraine brain and migraines in general. Easy to read and understand and very relatable.
Edwin B
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve never had a headache, let alone a migraine, in my entire life. So, I get to understand here what it’s like for those who suffer chronically from this debilitating condition.
Andrea Troncoso
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While I love to read, I don't often think of my books as life-changing. I can count on one hand the books that have truly changed my life - this is one of them. Finding a good, practical book about migraine is pretty tough. There are so many books about "cures" and other nonsense based on pseudoscience and individual experience. On the other end of the spectrum are the extremely scientific books which, while interesting (to a nerd like me), are very abstract. This book is somewhere in the middle ...more
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a very useful book about migraines and though I didn't learn any revolutionary new info I did learn a few things about drugs I didn't know about and some new ideas of how to prevent, abort and rescue a migraine attack. The main benefit I got is reinforcement to things I am already doing, especially things I have to do that get a negative response from others, like insisting of having my own quiet place while traveling instead of sleeping at other people's houses, asking for people not to ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I learned a lot about migraines from this book; it taught me a lot that I didn't know and gave me a whole new perspective on the pain that migraines cause. I think it will help me both in treating and (if it comes to it) advocating for my song if he continues to have migraines. Also, it will help me understand those who suffer migraines. Overall, I thought this was a well-organized book with lots of details, written in a way to accept many different types of treatment (and explaining why not to ...more
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“An Egyptian medical scroll dating back at least 1,500 years BCE recommended treating migraines by using an electric catfish. In other cultures, electric eels were wrapped around a migraineur’s head to ease the pain.” 0 likes
“Migraine is a complex neurological disease that affects your central nervous system.” 0 likes
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