What Are The Symptoms Of A Migraine
Individual migraines are moderate to severe in intensity, often characterized by a throbbing or pounding feeling. Although they are frequently one-sided, they may occur anywhere on the head, neck and face or all over. At their worst, they are typically associated with sensitivity to light, noise and/or smells. Nausea is one of the most common symptoms and it worsens with activity, which often results in patient disability. In many respects, migraines are much like alcohol-related hangovers.
Migraine pain can be felt in the face, where it may be mistaken for sinus headache or in the neck, where it may be mistaken for arthritis or muscle spasm. Complicating the diagnosis of migraine is that the headaches may be accompanied by other “sinus like” symptoms, including watering eyes, nasal congestion and a sense of facial pressure. Most patients who think they have sinus headache in fact have migraines.
In up to 25 percent of patients, the migraine headache pain may be preceded by an aura, a temporary neurological syndrome that slowly progresses and then typically resolves just as the pain begins. While the most common type of migraine aura involves visual disturbances , many people experience numbness, confusion, trouble speaking, vertigo and other strokelike neurological symptoms. Some patients may experience auras without headaches.
What Are The Symptoms Of Migraines
The primary symptom of migraine is a headache. Pain is sometimes described as pounding or throbbing. It can begin as a dull ache that develops into pulsing pain that is mild, moderate or severe. If left untreated, your headache pain will become moderate to severe. Pain can shift from one side of your head to the other, or it can affect the front of your head, the back of your head or feel like its affecting your whole head. Some people feel pain around their eye or temple, and sometimes in their face, sinuses, jaw or neck.
Other symptoms of migraine headaches include:
- Sensitivity to light, noise and odors.
- Nausea and vomiting, upset stomach and abdominal pain.
- Loss of appetite.
- Feeling very warm or cold .
- Pale skin color .
- Euphoric mood.
Er Or Not: Sudden Severe Headache
You are suddenly hit with a severe headache that youve never experienced before. Maybe you pass out maybe it makes you sick to your stomach. Should you go to the ER? Emergency physician Dr. Troy Madsen says these thunderclap headaches might be a sign of something much more serious. On this episode of “ER or Not” we talk what potentially life threatening problems that a severe headache might be a sign of, and how to distinguish them from a normal headache.
All right. It’s time for ER or Not, where you play along and decide whether or not something that happened is worth going to the emergency room or not. We’re with Dr. Troy Madsen. He’s an emergency room physician at University of Utah Hospital. Today’s ER or Not, you get a crazy severe headache out of nowhere. Just, bam, it hits you. Should I wait a few minutes, or should I think about going to the ER? ER or Not?
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How Is Migraine Diagnosed
Migraine is usually diagnosed by the typical symptoms. There is no test to confirm migraine. A doctor can usually be confident that you have migraine if you have typical symptoms and by an examination which does not reveal any abnormality. However, some people with migraine have non-typical headaches. Therefore, sometimes tests are done to rule out other causes of headaches. Also, with some uncommon or rare types of migraine such as ocular migraine, tests are sometimes done to rule out other causes of these symptoms. For example, temporary loss of vision can be due to various causes apart from ocular migraine.
Remember, if you have migraine, you do not have symptoms between attacks. It is the episodic nature of the symptoms that is typical of migraine. A headache that does not go, or other symptoms that do not go, are not due to migraine.
Tension headaches are sometimes confused with migraine. These are the common headaches that most people have from time to time. See the separate leaflet called Tension Headache for more details. Note: if you have migraine, you can also have tension headaches at different times to migraine attacks.
If you take painkillers too often for any kind of headache you may develop medication-overuse headache . You can read more about this type of headache in the separate leaflet called Migraine Medication, Treatment and Prevention.
Recovery Or Postdrome Stage
This is the final stage of an attack, and it can take hours or days for a drained, fatigued or hangover type feeling to disappear. Symptoms can be similar to those of the first stage . Often, they mirror these symptoms. For example, if you lost your appetite at the beginning of the attack, you might be very hungry now. If you were tired, you might feel full of energy.
Being aware of the different stages of the migraine attack can be helpful. It can help you prepare for an attack, get a diagnosis and decide when to take acute treatment, such as painkillers or adapt your activities.
It is useful to have a rescue treatment plan for when attacks occur. This may include painkillers such as a triptan, a NSAID or paracetamol. It often also includes anti-sickness medication.
For other people, being aware of the stages and symptoms of a migraine attack can help their understanding. It may also help with the frustration and lack of understanding people often face around migraine, especially at work and in education.
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How Prevalent Are Migraines
Migraines are about three times more common in women than men, and may affect more than 12 percent of the U.S. adult population. Migraines often run in families, and can start as early as elementary school but most often in early adulthood. They often fade away later in life, but can strike at any time. The most common cause of recurring, disabling headache pain, migraines are also the most common underlying cause of disabling chronic, daily headache pain. While migraines are the No. 1 reason that patients see a neurologist, most cases are handled by primary care physicians.
Things that can make the headaches more likely to occur include:
Theories About Migraine Pain
Older theories about migraines suggested that symptoms were possibly due to fluctuations in blood flow to the brain. Now many headache researchers realize that changes in blood flow and blood vessels don’t initiate the pain, but may contribute to it.
Current thinking regarding migraine pain has moved more toward the source of the problem, as improved technology and research have paved the way for a better understanding. Today, it is widely understood that chemical compounds and hormones, such as serotonin and estrogen, often play a role in pain sensitivity for migraine sufferers.
One aspect of migraine pain theory explains that migraine pain happens due to waves of activity by groups of excitable brain cells. These trigger chemicals, such as serotonin, to narrow blood vessels. Serotonin is a chemical necessary for communication between nerve cells. It can cause narrowing of blood vessels throughout the body.
When serotonin or estrogen levels change, the result for some is a migraine. Serotonin levels may affect both sexes, while fluctuating estrogen levels affect women only.
For women, estrogen levels naturally vary over the life cycle, with increases during fertile years and decreases afterwards. Women of childbearing age also experience monthly changes in estrogen levels. Migraines in women are often associated with these fluctuating hormone levels and may explain why women are more likely to have migraines than men.
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When Can I Go Back To My Regular Activities
If a thunderclap headache isnt caused by a serious underlying condition, people typically resume their usual activity as soon as the headache passes. The lengths of these headaches vary, but medications often provide relief within hours.
Recovery times vary for people when an underlying condition causes a thunderclap headache. People who need brain surgery may require several weeks or even months of recovery before they return to normal activities.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/16/2018.
When Does A Headache Happen In Covid
Headache tends to come on at the very start of the illness, and usually lasts for an average of three to five days. But some people can suffer from COVID-related headaches for much longer, and these are commonly reported in people with Post COVID syndrome . Our data shows that these headaches often come and go, but thankfully they gradually reduce over time.
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What Are The Four Stages Or Phases Of A Migraine Whats The Timeline
The four stages in chronological order are the prodrome , aura, headache and postdrome. About 30% of people experience symptoms before their headache starts.
The phases are:
It can take about eight to 72 hours to go through the four stages.
Can I Have A Visual Migraine Without A Headache
Definitely. It is actually very common to have a visual migraine without any headache. The medical term for this is acephalgic migraine, which literally means migraine symptoms without headache. Except for the absence of a headache, the visual symptoms in acephalgic migraine are identical to the episodes that accompany a classic migraine aura.
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What Are The Treatments For Migraine
There is no absolute cure for migraine. However, lots of treatments are available to help ease the symptoms of a migraine attack.
When a migraine attack occurs, most people find that lying down in a quiet, dark room is helpful. Sleeping can also help. Some people find that their symptoms die down after they have vomited .
Most people affected by migraine will already have tried paracetamol, aspirin and perhaps anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen before they seek advice from their doctor. If ordinary painkillers alone are not relieving your symptoms, your GP might prescribe you a triptan to be taken in addition to over-the-counter painkillers . Triptans are available in different forms to suit individuals , although it is important to note that some people develop short-term side effects when taking triptans. Your doctor may also prescribe you anti-sickness medication. If your situation does not improve after treatment, you might be referred to a specialist migraine clinic.
It is important to avoid taking painkillers on more than two days per week or more than 10 days per month as this can in fact make things worse by triggering medication overuse headaches.
When To See A Healthcare Provider/go To The Hospital
Migraines do not normally require emergency medical attention. The treatment is really based on a plan for both prevention and treatment of acute attacks. Nevertheless, when you are not sure if your symptoms are caused by a migraine, or when your migraine pattern changes, you need to seek medical attention.
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I Have To Avoid All Light Or It Just Feels Like Someone Is Stabbing Me Elizabeth 34
I started getting migraines in high school but I didnt understand what they were and took an unhealthy amount of . My friends dad told me to see a neurologist. I did when I got to New York for college and was diagnosed with migraines without aura and chronic daily headache. The first symptoms were pain and nausea, always around one eye. My neck also hurt all the time.
I first start to feel tightness and pain in my neck, and I stretch it and roll it, trying to decide if is coming. Then I generally get sweaty and nauseous and anxious, a bit like Im having a panic attack. Sometimes I get weird symptoms like a runny nose and sneezing. Then the pain starts, usually over one eye, and it feels like my head is going to explode. I have to avoid all light or it just feels like someone is stabbing me.
Last year I had a big meeting and was taking an Uber to work. I woke up with a migraine but thought I caught it in time with medication. Ten minutes into the car ride, the pain got so bad. But we were stuck in traffic on an L.A. freeway. I was meditating and trying anything I could to calm it down but the Uber driver wouldnt stop talking. Finally, I threw up in my bagI didnt want to throw up in the Uber!and all over my work laptop and papers. It was a nightmare but I was in too much pain to care. I walked into work, washed my bag out and threw out everything, wiped down my laptop and went into my meeting.
When To Worry About A Headache
Keep in mind that the majority of headaches are minor and you do not need to stress yourself. But if you notice the following issues, the best course of action is to see your doctor about it:
- A sudden, severe headache that comes on with no noticeable trigger. Usually occurs within a few seconds or minutes.
- A headache that changes depending on your position, for example, if it gets more intense when you bend forward.
- If head pain occurs while coughing or sneezing.
- If a headache persists for several days and/or does not reduce in intensity for the same period.
- A strong headache that occurs in a person who does not have a history of migraines.
- A headache or head pain that affects one specific spot or area of the head.
- If the person has cognitive or behavioural changes along with the headache.
- Other changes like numbness, tingling, loss of sensation, loss of limb control, difficulty in speaking or similar issues accompanying the headache.
Additionally, keep in mind that some headaches happen under certain circumstances and are usually a symptom of something serious. In these cases when to worry about a headache?, the answer includes the following list as well:
- Severe headaches accompanied by red eyes
- Headaches that wake you up from sleep
- Headaches that happen after you hit your head or have a fall.
- Severe headaches in cancer patients
- Drooping of the face accompanying a headache
- Headaches that are severe enough to alter or interfere with your vision.
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What Causes Ice Pick Headaches
Experts arent sure why some people get ice pick headaches. All types of headaches have primary and secondary causes:
- Primary headache: People with primary ice pick headaches experience head pain without other symptoms. There isnt an underlying condition causing the pain.
- Secondary headache: A health condition, such as shingles, meningioma or multiple sclerosis, causes the ice pick headache along with other symptoms.
Foods That Trigger Migraine Headaches
If you suffer from regular migraines, you might already have a list of causes that you take precautions against. But migraine headaches can be caused by all sorts of different factors even foods. Different types of food can be known to trigger migraines due to the makeup of the food.
Sometimes, even food that is often encouraged for a healthy lifestyle can set off someones migraine. A migraine can sometimes be hard to avoid, but having the information on what types of food can set one off is a good starting point. Everyone is different, however, so keep track of what you eat when a migraine occurs.
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What Are The Preventive Treatments For Migraine
Many patients with isolated visual migraines, without severe headaches, have relatively infrequent episodes that do not require specific preventive treatments. If a patient is aware of the particular triggers that seem to bring on an episode, then those triggers can be avoided.
In patients where the pattern of migraines includes frequent, severe headaches, it is very reasonable to consider additional preventive treatments. The main goal for any of these strategies is to reduce the overall frequency and severity of the headaches. None of the preventive treatments is a magic bullet that is 100% effective. For example, it would be considered successful if a preventive treatment helped reduce the number of severe headaches from 8 per month to 2-4 per month.
There are numerous medications that can be used as a preventive treatment for migraine. One medication that is used commonly, particularly because it has no side effects, is vitamin B2 . Approximately 100mg of riboflavin daily is thought to improve migraine headaches . One common side effect of riboflavin is that the urine turns bright yellow. Other herbal medications used to reduce migraine headaches include petasites and feverfew.
What Can I Do To Prevent Migraines
One of the best ways to prevent migraines is to try to avoid the things that might trigger your attacks. Most people benefit from trying to get stable sleep, eating regular meals, drinking plenty of fluids to keep hydrated, and trying to manage stress. Taking regular exercise may also help prevent migraines since it helps with breathing, improving blood sugar balance and maintaining general wellbeing. Although you should take care not to engage in very strenuous activity that your body is not used to as this can sometimes act as a migraine trigger.
Keeping a diary of your migraines can be a useful way to record when and where you experience attacks, check for any patterns, and try to identify your triggers. Take the diary when you see your GP so you can communicate your symptoms with them and they can find the best way to help you.
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