The pathological basis of migraine is not fully understood. Familial hemiplegic migraines (FHM) are monogenic forms of severe migraine, caused by mutations in genes encoding various neuronal and/or astrocytic ion transporting proteins. The leading hypothesis regarding the mechanism underlying migraine in FHM is that enhanced electrical excitability leads to increased extracellular potassium levels with subsequent cortical spreading depression. In this short commentary we would like to propose an additional mechanism distinct from enhanced electrical excitability per se. Rather, we propose that FHM mutations cause substantially increased energy expenditure of neurons for re-establishing ion gradients and/or for increased synaptic activity, a mechanism we call neuronal fatigue. Such a metabolic mechanism had been proposed earlier for common migraine and has received recent experimental evidence in particular for the case of FHM3. The hypothesis could be tested in future studies of FHM related models that would need to take metabolic parameters into account.