Migraine is a condition characterized by severe headaches frequently accompanied by nausea, and altered perceptions. The headaches, which usually last between 2 and 72 hours when left untreated, are often on one side of the head, or behind one eye or temple. Sometimes they affect both sides.
Nearly one in 10 American have migraines. There are three times as many women as men affected by migraines. Migraines may progress in four stages – prodrome, aura, headaches and postdrome.
Migraines are complicated and are unique to individuals. Symptoms may vary from person to person and also from one migraine attack to the next.
One or two days before a migraine, one may notice subtle changes that may signal an oncoming migraine, including:
- Depression, irritability, or excitement – Some people will suddenly feel depressed for no reason. Researchers recently reported a possible genetic link between depression and migraines.
- Food cravings – Some people crave certain foods before a migraine attack, with chocolate being among the most favorite cravings.
- Neck stiffness – It’s what many people feel before getting a migraine headache.
- Uncontrollable yawning – Unlike the common yawning or tired people do, this may be excessive and occur every few minutes
- Frequent urination
Some people with a migraine experience aura. Auras are nervous system symptoms that are usually visual disturbances. Auras can sometimes also be sensory or touching sensations disturbances, motor or movement or verbal or speech disturbances. Aura may occur before or during migraine headaches though most people experience migraine headaches without aura. Each of these symptoms usually begins gradually then builds up over several minutes. They commonly lasts for 5 minutes to an hour. There usually is a lull or “skip phase” of 60 minutes before the headache pain sets in. Examples of aura also include:
- Seeing flashes of light, bright spots or shapes
- “Pins and needles” or numbness or tingling sensations in an arm or leg, usually moving from the fingertips through the arm and across the face.
- Trouble speaking or language problems (aphasia) – Speech difficulties can be another sign that a migraine is coming.
- Weakness on one side of the body
The frequency with which headaches occur varies from person to person. Some people have migraines several times a month or much less often. During a migraine, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Pain on one side of your head
- Sensitivity to light or sound or smell – Bright lights and loud noises and certain odors can trigger a migraine or intensify the pain.
- Nausea or vomiting – More than 70% of people with migraine surveyed experienced nausea while almost 30% have vomiting.
- Eye pain – Migraine pain often burrows behind the eye.
- Vertigo or double vision / blurred vision – One type of migraine, called a basilar-type migraine, can cause dizziness, double vision, or loss of vision.
- Light headedness
- Activity triggers or worsens pain – Even routine activities such as walking or climbing stairs can make migraine pain worse.
After the migraine passes, a person may feel suffer from headache hangover, feeling drained and washed-out, and pummeled.
Migraine headaches are often undiagnosed and untreated. It’s always best to consult our doctor for the most appropriate remedy and prevention that we could make to drive migraine away and carry on with our daily routines smoothly and full of energy.