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How Does Migraine Feel Like

Sometimes It Feels As If My Brain Is Swelling Sarah 30

My migraines started around age 19. I would see flashes or my computer screen would be blurry all of a sudden. Later I learned what I was experiencing was called an aura. After an aura, Id vomit or dry-heave.

I feel a sharp pain that comes with pressure all around my head. Sometimes it feels as if my brain is swelling. Light and sounds are the worst. A good migraine lasts two days; my worst has lasted five days.

One time I was out to dinner with a friend. We had Thai. On the way home, as I waited at a red light, the lights on the street began to glow and shine outside of the traffic light itself. I unlocked my front door and ran to the bathroom. Long story short: My Thai dinner was a waste, I ended up not going clubbing with my friend, and I was in bed at 7 P.M. Buzz kill.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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What Can I Do For The Pain

Here are a few things that might help you feel better:

  • Lie down in a dark, quiet room.

  • Put a cold, damp cloth over your forehead.

  • Massage your scalp using a lot of pressure.

  • Put pressure on your temples.

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What Causes A Migraine

The cause of migraine headaches is complicated and not fully understood. When you have a headache its because specific nerves in your blood vessels send pain signals to your brain. This releases inflammatory substances into the nerves and blood vessels of your head. Its unclear why your nerves do that.

Light Sound Smell Sensitivity

Light, sound, and smell can be extremely sensitive to someone with a migraine. Many times people with migraines want to be in a dark, quiet place where there is no chance of them smelling a cooked meal.

Other Migraine Symptoms include Speech Trouble, Double Vision, Lack of Restful Sleep, Irritability or Depression, Watery Eyes and/or a Stuffy Nose, Neck Pain, Numbness or tingling.

What Type Of Headache Do You Have

What Does a Vestibular Migraine Feel Like?

Headaches are familiar to nearly everyone: in any given year, almost 90% of men and 95% of women have at least one. In the vast majority of cases, however, the pain isn’t an omen of some terrible disease. The three most common types of headaches are tension, sinus, and migraine. The most common headache triggers are stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, hunger, and withdrawal.

Learn More About Each Stage Of A Migraine:

1. Prodrome

One or two days before a migraine, you might notice subtle changes that warn of an upcoming migraine, including constipation, mood changes from depression to euphoria, food cravings, neck stiffness, increased thirst and urination or frequent yawning.

2. Aura

For some people, aura might occur before or during migraines. Auras are reversible symptoms of the nervous system. They’re usually visual, but they also can include other disturbances. Each symptom usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes and lasts 20 minutes to one hour.

Examples of auras include:
  • Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
  • Vision loss
  • “Pins-and-needles” sensations in an arm or leg
  • Weakness or numbness in the face, or one side of the body
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Uncontrollable jerking or other movements

3. Attack

A migraine usually lasts from four to 72 hours if untreated, and the frequency varies by the person. Migraines might occur rarely or strike several times a month.

During a migraine, you might have:
  • Pain, usually on one side of your head, but often on both sides
  • Pain that throbs or pulses
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and sometimes smell and touch
  • Nausea and vomiting

4. Post-drome

After a migraine attack, you might feel drained, confused and washed out for up to a day. Some people report feeling elated. Sudden head movement might bring on pain again briefly.

Learn more about headaches:

It Feels Like Needles Stabbing The Back Of My Eyeballs And Enormous Pressure Surrounding My Entire Head Cami 23

One early morning in high school I couldnt even open my eyes because of light sensitivity and could not get out of bed to tell my parents. I laid there until someone found me. Every motion hurt, and doing a task such as showering seemed impossible. It feels like needles stabbing the back of my eyeballs and enormous pressure surrounding my entire head.

What Are Common Migraine Triggers

There are a number of migraine triggers, including: Hormonal changes in women. Fluctuations in estrogen, such as before or during menstrual periods, pregnancy and menopause, seem to trigger headaches in many women. Drinks. Stress. Sensory stimuli. Sleep changes. Physical factors. Weather changes. Medications.

Ocular Migraine Vs Retinal Migraine

The terms ocular migraine and retinal migraine are often used to mean the same thing. But to be precise, a retinal migraine is a rare type of ocular migraine.

Its also worth differentiating the term visual migraine, in which the migraine affects an area of the brain that involves vision. This may result in aura affecting sight in both eyes, not just one.

What Is A Vestibular Migraine

Migraine can affect the vestibular system of the inner ear, which impacts the way the brain controls balance and the way a person experiences the space around them. When this system does not work properly, a person may experience feelings of vertigo, unsteadiness, or dizziness that can be triggered by movement.

A doctor may think a person has vestibular migraine when the person experiences these kinds of symptoms for minutes or hours.

A person with vestibular migraine may also have a history of migraine headaches. About of people who suffer from migraine headaches also have vestibular symptoms. However, a person can also experience vestibular migraine without headaches.

Vestibular migraine can a feeling that the ground is moving or falling, or cause problems coordinating movement. It can also impact the senses and distort hearing.

Other than a headache, symptoms can include:

  • sensitivity to light, sound, or smell
  • nausea or vomiting
  • discomfort turning, bending down, or looking up
  • feeling of pressure in the head or the ear
  • ringing in the ears, known as
  • partial or complete loss of vision
  • visual disturbances, such as flashing lights, spots, or blurring

These symptoms can vary in severity. There may be warning signs that vestibular symptoms are about to happen. A person may see flashing lights or other visual disturbances, a phenomenon also known as an aura.

This Is What A Migraine Really Feels Like

It’s just a headache. Can’t you just take some ibuprofen and get back to work?

People who get migraine headachesor migraine attacks, which is even more accurate since they don’t always come with headachesare all too familiar with this kind of misperception.

Migraines, which affect some 38 million Americans, consist of a web of symptoms that can make day-to-day functioning nearly impossible, including headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to sound, light, smell, or touch, tingling or numbness, and vision changes. So no, it’s not just a headache.

For about 2% of people, migraines are chronic, meaning they rear their ugly heads on 15 or more days each month, says Elizabeth Seng, PhD, a clinical health psychologist and assistant professor at Yeshiva University in New York who specializes in the study and treatment of headache and chronic pain. 

MORE: 16 Highly Effective Migraine Solutions

To help shed some light on what migraine suffererstechnically called migraineursare going through, we asked real women to tell us what it’s really like. Here, they describe the attacks. 

“About 12 to 24 hours before a full-blown migraine, I start getting irritable or cry easily. I’ll get strange food cravings, or I can’t think straight. I’ll hear words but none of them will make any sense, or I try to get an idea out, and it’s just jumbled when I try to speak.”, 46

What Can You Do About Migraines

If you get migraines and can pinpoint the trigger, obviously your first line of defense is to eliminate that trigger as frequently as possible. When I realized certain foods gave me migraines, . Dr. Moisi noted that over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help, but it’s best to consult your doctor, who can develop a treatment plan that works for you.

How Do You Know If You’re Having A Migraine Or A Headache

What Do Migraines Really Feel Like?

Blog post | 11 Mar 2019

Headaches are, unfortunately, a part of life. They can be triggered by many things, from hot dogs and ice cream to swimming goggles. Nine out of 10 people have had a .

While they are are less common, it’s estimated that almost 5 million Australians experience . Due to hormonal factors, migraines are believed to affect more women than men, and migraines typically run in families.

What Does A Migraine Feel Like

“Migraines typically are recurring headaches that surface on one side of the head rather than both sides,” Dr. Moisi told POPSUGAR. This throbbing or pulsating pain in your head usually brings about nausea and vomiting. Migraines can also make you feel lightheaded or dizzy and very sensitive to lights and sounds. Speaking from experience, I can say that the pressure makes me feel, quite literally, like my head is going to explode. My eyes get hot, then symptoms like nausea set in.

Yes, Intermittent Fasting Can Cause Headaches รข Here’s How to Squash Them Fast

When To Worry About A Headache

You can take care of many types of headaches by yourself, and your doctor can give you medication to control most of the tougher headaches. But some headaches call for prompt medical care. Here are some warning signs for when you should worry about headaches:

  • Headaches that first develop after age 50
  • A major change in the pattern of your headaches
  • An unusually severe headache
  • Head pain that increases with coughing or movement
  • Headaches that get steadily worse
  • Changes in personality or mental function
  • Headaches that are accompanied by fever, stiff neck, confusion, decreased alertness or memory, or neurological symptoms such as visual disturbances, slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or seizures
  • Headaches that are accompanied by a painful red eye
  • Headaches that are accompanied by pain and tenderness near the temples
  • Headaches after a blow to the head
  • Headaches that prevent normal daily activities
  • Headaches that come on abruptly, especially if they wake you up
  • Headaches in patients with cancer or impaired immune systems

What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

  • Will my child grow out of their migraines?
  • What medications do you recommend for me?
  • What should I change about my lifestyle to prevent my migraine headaches?
  • Should I get tested?
  • What type of migraine do I have?
  • What can my friends and family do to help?
  • Are my migraines considered chronic?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Migraine headaches can be devastating and make it impossible to go to work, school or experience other daily activities. Fortunately, there are some ways to possibly prevent a migraine and other ways to help you manage and endure the symptoms. Work with your healthcare provider to keep migraines from ruling your life.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2021.

References

Throbbing Pain On One Or Both Sides Of The Head

Pulsating pain is a classic sign of migraines. The throbbing is often felt on one side of the head.

In an online survey of patients with migraines, the National Headache Foundation found that 50% “always” have throbbing on one side, while 34% say they “frequently” have this symptom.

Migraine pain often burrows behind the eye.

People will blame it on eye strain and many will get their eyes checked, but that won’t make their headaches any better, Dr. Messina says.

Living With Vestibular Migraine

Many people may find that lying down in a dark room or sleeping can help reduce migraine symptoms.

Taking over-the-counter pain or nausea-relief medication at the first sign of symptoms may also reduce the severity of the symptoms.

People who have vestibular migraine may experience periods in life with fewer occurrences, and other periods when there are more.

When symptoms happen with high frequency, it can impact a persons ability to live their day-to-day life. This may include a negative impact on a persons career, education, and relationships with family and friends.

Living with the condition can be isolating and discouraging. In addition to exploring treatments, looking for support from peers with the condition may also help.

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.

How Long Does Retinal Migraine Last

The visual effects of a retinal migraine usually last no more than an hour.

Not all retinal migraine attacks come with a headache or nausea, but such symptoms may last longer potentially for more than a day.

Both children and adults of any age can experience retinal migraine. These tend to be more common in the following groups:

  • people under 40 years old
  • women
  • people with a family history of retinal migraine or headaches
  • people with a personal history of migraine or headaches

People with certain illnesses that impact the blood vessels and eyes may also be at risk. These illnesses include:

Migraine Without Head Pain

What A Migraine Really Feels Like

Also called a Silent or Acephalgic Migraine, this type of migraine can be very alarming as you experience dizzying aura and other visual disturbances, nausea, and other phases of migraine, but no head pain. It can be triggered by any of a persons regular triggers, and those who get them are likely to experience other types of migraine, too. The International Headache Society classifies this type as typical aura without headache.

How Do I Know If I Have A Migraine Or Just A Headache

Headaches cause pain in the head, face, or upper neck, and can vary in frequency and intensity. A migraine is an extremely painful primary headache disorder. Migraines usually produce symptoms that are more intense and debilitating than headaches. Some types of migraines do not cause head pain, however.

How Do I Know If My Headache Is Migraine Or Sinus Headache

So, how do you know if your headache is migraine and not sinus? Go beyond the nasal and sinus congestion and the facial pain and pressure; look for a headache associated with the inability to function normally at work, school, home or social functions, nausea, sensitivity to light and triggers such as weather change, menstrual cycle, and stress . Significantly, it is commonly thought that weather change often causes sinus headache when weather change is a common trigger for migraine.

You can also ask yourself the following questions from the ID Migraine Questionnaire developed by Dr. Richard Lipton of Albert Einstein College of Medicine:

  • In the past three months, how disabling are your headaches? Do they interfere with your ability to function?
  • Do you ever feel nausea when you have a headache?
  • Do you become sensitive to light while you have a headache?

If you answer yes to two of the above three criteria, migraine is likely 93% of the time. If you answer yes to all three, a migraine diagnosis is 98% likely.

The American Migraine Foundation is committed to improving the lives of those living with this debilitating disease. For more of the latest news and information on migraine, visit the AMF Resource Library. For help finding a healthcare provider, check out our Find a Doctor tool. Together, we are as relentless as migraine.

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When Should I Seek Immediate Help Or Contact My Healthcare Provider

  • You are experiencing the worst headache of my life.
  • You are having neurologic symptoms that youve never had before, including speaking difficulty, balance problems, vision problems, mental confusion, seizures or numbing/tingling sensations.
  • Your headache comes on suddenly.
  • You have a headache after experiencing a head injury.

Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider if:

  • The number or severity of your headaches increase or your headache pattern changes.
  • Your medications no longer seem to be working or youre experiencing new or different side effects.

What Is Sinus Headache

A true sinus headache, called rhinosinusitis, is rare. The cause is a viral or bacterial sinus infection characterized by thick, discolored nasal discharge. Youll get symptoms like possibly weaker smell or no smell, facial pain or pressure and commonly, fever. Facial pain and headache should resolve within seven days after viral symptoms improve or after successful treatment with antibiotics . If pain continues, then your diagnosis should be reconsidered.

Common Symptoms Of A Migraine

The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache on 1 side of the head.

The pain is usually a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that gets worse when you move and prevents you carrying out normal activities.

In some cases, the pain can occur on both sides of your head and may affect your face or neck.

People With Migraines Describe What It Feels Like

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Migraines are incredibly common, debilitating, frustratingand misunderstood. People who have never had a migraine often mistakenly believe they are just a bad headache, and they may have a hard time fully sympathizing with a loved one who frequently needs to cancel plans due to their symptoms.

HealthiNation asked eight people who suffer from recurring or chronic migraines to describe their symptoms. These descriptions provide a window into the migraine experience, and what makes them so debilitating.

The Nausea

When I have a migraine attack, it is so debilitating. I usually start with a slight headache over one or both eyes. The pain increases quite quickly and, alongside that, I have blurred vision. There has been a time when I have lost my vision completely, which was extremely scary.

The otherand I feel this is the worst of my symptomsis the nausea. It stops me in my tracks and I am unable to move around as all smells make it worse, so I have to move to a darker room where there are no aromas that will irritate it more.

– Bridgette N.

Motor Function

In the days before a migraine I would slur words and mix up sentences. Particularly bad migraines would persist for five to seven days with sound, light, smell, taste, and temperature sensitivity. Throughout this time I would often be confined to bed for the duration and even sheets made of heavier fabric would cause irritation on the skin.

– Jeremiah S.

Chirping Crickets

– Sonia F.

Pillow Pain

It Begins To Be Such Intense Pain That I Feel Nauseous Mary 26

I tend to get them most often at the end of the day. It starts off with light pain and pressure, always in the front of my head, behind my forehead. As the pain increases, typically over the course of 30 to 45 minutes, it begins to be such intense pain that I feel nauseous. Personally, the pain comes in waves with 30 second intervals; it will be intense pain for 30 seconds, then light pain for 30, and back to full intensity.

One time, I had a migraine at the end of the day in college and when I got home, the pain was coming in such intense waves that I could barely get out of bed. When I stood, the rush of standing up caused so much pain that I threw up. I got back into bed and made my boyfriend push on my forehead because, for some reason, the pressure he applied to my forehead would slightly release the pain. As I tried to fall asleep, I was crying from being in so much pain. I woke multiple times in the night, each time with fewer migraine symptoms, and then had no pain by morning.

Identify And Treat Early

It

Headaches can range from being a mild inconvenience to being severe and debilitating. Identifying and treating headaches as early as possible can help a person engage in preventive treatments to minimize the chance of another headache. Distinguishing migraine from other types of headaches can be tricky. Pay particular attention to the time before the headache starts for signs of an aura and tell your doctor.

What’s The Difference Between A Headache And A Migraine

A tension-type headache, the most common type of headache, causes pain on both sides of the head. It’s a tight pressure rather than a throbbing, and you might also have soreness in your temples, neck and shoulder muscles. Headache pain isn’t usually considered ‘severe’.

Migraine, on the other hand, has many symptoms including headache. This can feel like a throbbing pain that might be worse on one side of your head. You can also feel pain around your eyes, temples, face, jaw or neck. The pain may increase with physical activity, which is why it helps to lie down.

But the key difference between a headache and migraine? Migraines can be distressing and debilitating and can affect your whole body. People can feel vaguely unwell for a day or two before a migraine headache comes on . Once it has started, a migraine headache can last for between 4 hours and several days.

“Migraine is a chronic disorder of the brain with recurrent severe attacks… other common features are or even ,” explains Assistant Professor of Neurology Yulia Orlova on The Conversation. “Many people have sensitivity to light, odours or sounds and are unable to carry on daily activity.”

Migraine is ranked the sixth most disabling disease in the world. Global Burden of Disease    

What Is The Prognosis For People With Migraines

Migraines are unique to each individual. Likewise, how migraines are managed is also unique. The best outcomes are usually achieved by learning and avoiding personal migraine triggers, managing symptoms, practicing preventive methods, following the advice of your healthcare provider and reporting any significant changes as soon as they occur.

Describing A Migraine To Someone Who Doesn’t Get Them

The feeling is all too familiar you wake up and you feel like your head, or part of it, is being crushed. A migraine is coming on.

My level of pain with migraine varies from mild to an intensity that makes me question if I have a blood clot that could kill me. It really depends upon each individual attack.

I have had people ask how I know it is really a migraine, and not just a headache. So, I have learned how to describe how a migraine feels in a way people usually understand and realize that the differences are not subtle.

I am one of the 35 million migraine sufferers in the United States who get frequent migraines. I can testify that the pain level of a migraine is debilitating.

This neurological condition negatively impacts our quality of life, work, relationships and daily functioning.

But, describing the actual pain in a way others understand can be difficult, especially since there are so many myths out there that make people question migraines validity.

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