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What A Migraine Feels Like

Treatment If Headaches Get Worse

What Does A Migraine Feel Like?

If you continue to have tension headaches while you are getting treatment, you and your doctor may want to try another treatment.

You may have to try different drugs or doses. If you have already tried several medicines, your doctor may order tests to find out if a health problem is causing your headaches.

Im Generally Between Two And Four On A Pain Scale But Twice A Week I Go To Six To Eightrachel Koh 47 Southlake Texas

Koh has three numbers she keeps track of every day. One is her pain. Im generally between two and four on a pain scale, but twice a week I go to six to eight, she says. A two or three feels like a twinge or pulsing, while the higher numbers bring a throbbing, stabbing pain that takes over her whole head.

Then theres the nausea scale and the scale for mental acuity. Im best in the morning, but by the end of the day, you cant count on me for anything, says Koh, whose migraines forced her to give up her job as a Fortune 100 executive. I have short-term memory loss, brain fog. I dont drive. Sometimes I cant string a sentence together.

She also lists among her migraine symptoms hypersensitivity to light, sound, and smells, as well as diarrhea, fever-like symptoms, and clumsiness.

I dont have a life that anyone would envy, says Koh, who estimates she has about two pain-free days a year. As for childbirth? I would sign up for that 10 times a year to get rid of what I have every day, she says.

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Migraine Treatment And Home Remedies

There’s no cure for migraine headaches. But many drugs can treat or even prevent them. Common migraine treatments include:

Home remedies

You may ease migraine symptoms by:

  • Resting with your eyes closed in a dark, quiet room
  • Putting a cool compress or ice pack on your forehead
  • Drinking plenty of liquids

Complementary and alternative treatments

Some people get relief with therapies they use in addition to or instead of traditional medical treatment. These are called complementary or alternative treatments. For migraine, they include:

  • Biofeedback. This helps you take note of stressful situations that could trigger symptoms. If the headache begins slowly, biofeedback can stop the attack before it becomes full-blown.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy . A specialist can teach you how actions and thoughts affect how you sense pain.
  • Supplements. Research has found that some vitamins, minerals, and herbs can prevent or treat migraines. These include riboflavin, coenzyme Q10, and melatonin. Butterbur may head off migraines, but it can also affect your liver enzymes.
  • Body work. Physical treatments like chiropractic, massage, acupressure, acupuncture, and craniosacral therapy might ease headache symptoms.

Talk to your doctor before trying any complementary or alternative treatments.

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Interview With Fran Kelly Artist Behind Maison Migraine Exhibition

Paula: What inspired you to create your art exhibit, Maison Migraine?

Fran: There are over 8 million migraine sufferers in the UK, but migraine is still poorly understood and there are many stigmas and discourses surrounding it. A lack of understanding and empathy about how migraine can affect a person can come not just from friends, family and the public but from medical practitioners, the very people whose job it is to treat us. My own experiences and those of other sufferers motivated me to challenge the misconceptions surrounding migraine and to encourage a re-evaluation between the relationship between personal experiences and scientific understanding.

The cause of migraine is still unknown, doctors rely on medication borrowed from other areas of medicine such as anti-epileptic drugs, anti-depressants and beta blockers. It has been said that migraine is the “Cinderella” of neurological conditions. There are no quick fixes. And despite the majority of referrals to neurologists for head pain, neurologists arent motivated to specialise in migraine and headache disorders as it isn’t a sexy specialty. .

I am passionate about raising awareness in the hope that it will increase understanding and encourage further research. That will take us closer to finding a cure.

Paula: For those who aren’t familiar with Hemiplegic Migraine, can you describe your symptoms?

Paula: What kind of reaction did Maison Migraine get from those who don’t get migraines?

Images: Fran Kelly.

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:

  • Prodrome: The first stage lasts a few hours, or it can last days. You may or may not experience it as it may not happen every time. Some know it as the preheadache or premonitory phase.
  • Aura: The aura phase can last as long as 60 minutes or as little as five. Most people dont experience an aura, and some have both the aura and the headache at the same time.
  • Headache: About four hours to 72 hours is how long the headache lasts. The word ache doesnt do the pain justice because sometimes its mild, but usually, its described as drilling, throbbing or you may feel the sensation of an icepick in your head. Typically it starts on one side of your head and then spreads to the other side.
  • Postdrome: The postdrome stage goes on for a day or two. Its often called a migraine hangover and 80% of those who have migraines experience it.
  • It can take about eight to 72 hours to go through the four stages.

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    What To Think About

    • The type of tension headache you have may help your doctor decide which drug to prescribe.
    • There are other things you can try besides daily medicine. For example, you could use cognitive-behavioral therapy or biofeedback.
    • The medicine that you take may cause side effects. Some side effects may last for a few weeks or for as long as you take the medicine.
    • You may have to try several different drugs or types of drugs before you find the one that is right for you. Make sure to tell your doctor how well a drug stops your headaches.
    • Certain pain medicines can cause a bad reaction if you take them with other medicines. Before you begin taking pain medicines, be sure to let your doctor know about all of the drugs you take. This includes over-the-counter medicines and complementary treatments .

    What Does Your Migraine Feel Like

    Im genuinely curious to know what other migraine sufferers feel? Mine can range from blunt stabbing on my forehead and temples to all over pain and throbbing!

    I always experience the most pain in the back of my head on the right side, just above my neck. It feels like someone is screwing a nail continually into my head. I feel nauseous and cant eat. Light hurts my eyes and usually end up laying in bed until it goes away. I sleep a lot. Mine usually last more than one day so my routine is lights out, take all the meds, drink a thc pop, and just remind myself it will eventually go away. My face also looks different when its happening. My boyfriend looks at me and says are you okay you look like your actually ill lol once its gone I feel hungover too, or scared that it will come back. I usually feel so grateful when it lifts, just so happy to feel normal again

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    One Way To Tell Whether Youre Having A Migraine

    W ondering whether youre having a migraine or an average headache? Oftentimes, the tell-tale sign of a migraine is nausea, says Nauman Tariq, MBBS, a neurologist and the director of the Headache Center at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

    There are two common types of headaches: tension-type and migraine… with tension headaches being far more prevalent, explains Dr. Tariq. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 70 percent of people in some populations have occasional tension headaches, which can be described as pressure or tightness around the head and neck. Oftentimes, people who experience them will have some sensitivity to light but the main difference between the two is the presence of nausea , he says.

    In people with migraines, the nausea varies from minor to severe, Tariq says. For some, the pain of the headache may not be as overwhelming as the nausea itself.

    The Migraine Research Foundation says that only about 25 percent of people with migraines also experience aura a visual disturbance commonly known as the classic symptom of migraines. Other symptoms include head pain that ranges from moderate to severe; according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, some people describe the sensation as pulsating, throbbing, or pounding.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Migraine

    What Does a Migraine Feel Like?

    The main symptoms of migraine are an intense, throbbing or pounding headache often affecting the front or one side of the head, nausea and sometimes vomiting , and an increased sensitivity to light smells and sound. The throbbing headache is often made worse by the person moving.

    Other symptoms of migraine might include poor concentration, feeling hot or cold, perspiration , and an increased need to pass urine. This can occur before, during or after the migraine attack.

    People might also experience stomach aches and diarrhoea.

    It is common for people to feel tired for up to two or three days after a migraine.

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    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.


    What Are Some Migraine Risk Factors And Triggers

    Some things make you more likely to get migraine headaches . Other things may bring on a migraine .

    Common migraine risk factors include the following:

    • Family history: You are much more likely to have migraines if one or both of your parents had migraines.
    • Sex: Women are more likely than men to have migraines.
    • Age: Most people have their first migraine during adolescence, but migraines can start at any age, usually before age 40.

    Common migraine triggers include the following:

    • Food and drink: Certain food and drink may cause migraines. Dehydration and dieting or skipping meals may also trigger migraines.
    • Hormone changes: Women may experience migraines related to their menstrual cycles, to menopause, or to using hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy.
    • Stress: Stress may trigger migraines. Stress includes feeling overwhelmed at home or work, but your body can also be stressed if you exercise too much or dont get enough sleep.
    • Senses: Loud sounds, bright lights , or strong smells may trigger migraines.
    • Medicines: Certain medicines may trigger migraines. If you think your migraines might be related to your medicine, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a different medicine.
    • Illness: Infections, such as the cold or the flu, may trigger migraines, especially in children.

    Foods that may trigger migraines:

    • aged, canned, cured, or processed meat
    • aged cheese
    • soy sauce

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    What Is A Headache

    Headaches are unpleasant pains in your head that can cause pressure and aching. The pain can range from mild to severe, and they usually occur on both sides of your head. Some specific areas where headaches can occur include the forehead, temples, and back of the neck. A headache can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a week. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common headache type is a tension headache. Triggers for this headache type include stress, muscle strain, and anxiety.

    Tension headaches arent the only type of headache; other headache types include:

    The Top Of My Skull Feels Like It’s Being Pressed Down On Fernando 32

    What Does a Migraine Feel Like?

    I can feel the pounding in my temples, or in my eyes, depending on where the migraine is. If it’s a migraine on one side, that eye gets very watery and my temple throbs, and the top of my skull feels like it’s being pressed down on. I definitely have to avoid looking directly at light. Thankfully, I do not feel nauseous.

    With one particularly bad migraine, I could not get up from bed because every time I was upright, seated or standing, the pain in the left side of my head. I had to stay in bed lying on the side that did not hurt, while manually massaging my left temple until it had subsided slightly.

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    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.

    Move Against Migraine Moderators And Amf Partners Spoke To Health About What A Migraine Attack Feels Like

    Studies show that migraine is more prevalent in women than in men. About one in four women will have a migraine attack in their lives, and in extreme cases, as many as 15 times a month. Migraine attacks dont just cause debilitating pain, but can also impact relationships, derail careers and more.

    Health asked five women with chronic migraine to share their stories and shine a light on this invisible disease. Rachel, Michelle, Eileen, Carly and Katie work closely with the American Migraine Foundation as support group moderators, official partners or both. Read their stories here.

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    The First Time It Happened I Thought I’d Been Roofied Ilana 29

    Ocular migraines are like seeing the world in slow motion. The first time it happened I thought I’d been roofied. I moved my hand in front of my face and there were sixteen hands trailing in front of me. It was bizarre, especially since I wasn’t in pain like you would be with a normal migraine. Migraines are slow buildinglike a pressure in the back of your head that gets worse and worse each day until it feels like your eye will pop out of their sockets. And nothing makes that pressure go away. Migraines can feel like someone punched me in the eye, or maybe like I held my breath for too long, or like I’m being held upside down and all the blood is rushing to my head.

    One incident with my ocular migraines was at a park on a sunny day. I was walking and suddenly this dark figure walked into my line of vision and out. It a black shape of a person, but I was totally alone. I’d only ever seen small shapes, like balls of light or dark, but this looked like a man. It totally creeped me out.

    The Sensation Is Like A Helmet On Your Head That Just Keeps Getting Tighter Lauren 29

    What Migraine Feels Like | 86 Migraine Campaign by GHLF

    The best way I can describe it for myself is that its such debilitating pain that it takes over everything else. I have to vomit, my neck tightens up, I become sensitive to light and smells . Even voices can make it worse. The sensation is like a helmet on your head that just keeps getting tighter, and you feel like your head will explode.

    In December, I was driving back from the University of Michigan after being at a conference. I didnt have my prescription on me and I had a headache from the anxiety I felt all day and lack of the right food, etc. Around 3 P.M., the migraine hit. But I had no choice other than to drive the two hours back home. I had to pull over and vomit off the side of the highway. The rest of the drive home I honestly almost blacked out because the pain was so intense. My head felt like someone was taking a hammer to it. I remember calling my husband crying like a baby.

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    How Can I Feel Better

    Most headaches will go away if a person rests or sleeps. When you get a headache, lie down in a cool, dark, quiet room and close your eyes. It may help to put a cool, moist cloth across your forehead or eyes. Relax. Breathe easily and deeply.

    If a headache doesn’t go away or it’s really bad, you may want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. You can buy these in drugstores under various brand names, and your drugstore may carry its own generic brand. It’s a good idea to avoid taking aspirin for a headache because it may cause a rare but dangerous disease called Reye syndrome.

    If you are taking over-the-counter pain medicines more than twice a week for headaches, or if you find these medicines are not working for you, talk to your doctor.

    Most headaches are not a sign that something more is wrong. But if your headaches are intense and happen often, there are lots of things a doctor can do, from recommending changes in your diet to prescribing medicine. You don’t have to put up with the pain!


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