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Question: I want to find out the cause and how to prevent severe headaches to the left side of face by the eye and temple. They come on very fast and last about an hour. Pain is unbearable and has been going on for about 4 years. I am 26 years of age. Adam

Answer: Dear Adam,

The symptoms you mention are common of migraine headaches.

Researchers believe migraines may be caused by functional changes in the trigeminal nerve system, a major pain pathway in the nervous system, and by imbalances in brain chemicals, including serotonin, which regulates pain messages going through this pathway. Levels of magnesium, a mineral involved in nerve cell function, also drop right before or during a migraine headache, it's possible that low amounts of magnesium may cause nerve cells in the brain to misfire.

Nowadays, there are drugs that are specifically designed to treat migrane headaches. Pain relievers stop the pain when it starts and preventive medications prevent the migraine episodes.

Certain lifestyle changes can help prevent migraines, such as:

- Avoid triggers
- Exercise regularly
- Quit smoking

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