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What Does It Feel Like To Have A Migraine

Identify And Treat Early

What Does a Migraine Feel Like?

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.

How Do You Know If Youre Having A Migraine Or A Headache

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, its 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.

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

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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What Medications Are Used To Relieve Migraine Pain

Over-the-counter medications are effective for some people with mild to moderate migraines. The main ingredients in pain relieving medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen and caffeine.

Three over-the-counter products approved by the Food and Drug Administration for migraine headaches are:

  • Excedrin® Migraine.
  • Advil® Migraine.
  • Motrin® Migraine Pain.

Be cautious when taking over-the-counter pain relieving medications. Sometimes overusing them can cause analgesic-rebound headaches or a dependency problem. If you’re taking any over-the-counter pain medications more than two to three times a week, report that to your healthcare provider. They may suggest prescription medications that may be more effective.

Prescription drugs for migraine headaches include:

Triptan class of drugs :

  • Sumatriptan.
  • Butterbur.
  • Co-enzyme Q10.

Drugs to relieve migraine pain come in a variety of formulations including pills, tablets, injections, suppositories and nasal sprays. You and your healthcare provider will discuss the specific medication, combination of medications and formulations to best meet your unique headache pain.

Drugs to relieve nausea are also prescribed, if needed.

All medications should be used under the direction of a headache specialist or healthcare provider familiar with migraine therapy. As with any medication, it’s important to carefully follow the label instructions and your healthcare providers advice.

Feeling Colder During Migraine


I never thought of hypothermia as a migraine symptom, but I knew several of my attacks came with a sensation of cold. I just could not warm up sometimes. Id be sitting there actually shivering. I didnt have a fever I was just experiencing a cold sensation right to my core. During these attacks, I would switch from ice packs to heat. I would be bundled up with blankets and retreat to my room. This symptom always freaked me out because it was so far from my norm. Needless to say, I was once again relieved to find cases of people suffering from migraine who also were experiencing hypothermia! I immediately felt validated after reading over the cases. I had found that my body temperature issues were not just in my head.

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Here Is How I Describe My Migraines So People Understand

When I Know One Is Coming

  • I can begin the day feeling like one side of my head has a pressure in it, like something is swelling or even intense enough that it already feels ready to burst.
  • My neck may hurt into my jaw and my eyes feel the pressure as well.
  • The sunshine on the way to work feels like the burning light of 1,000 suns and increases my pain more.
  • Moving my head sends shockwaves of pain through me and I become nauseous by the time I arrive at my desk.
  • Perfume or other intense scents make the pain worse.

The Pain Is Different Than All Others

  • The pain takes on different levels and can begin to feel like a nerve is also involved.
  • Imagine a crushing, pressurized pain combined with that weird funny bone pain that you get from nerve involvement but this encompasses your head , your eyes, and parts of your face, jaw and neck.
  • The pain can be so severe that I cannot hold down food and I find myself feeling like it will never stop like maybe eventually this will kill me.
  • I feel completely hopeless and desperate.
  • My vision can become blurry and I see flashes of light.
  • Thinking clearly is difficult, talking is a huge effort and carrying on with life is beyond challenging.

This can all last for at least three days often five.

Who Gets Migraines What Are The Risk Factors

Its difficult to predict who may get a migraine and who may not, but there are risk factors that may make you more vulnerable. These risk factors include:

  • Genetics: Up to 80% of people who get migraine headaches have a first-degree relative with the disease.
  • Gender. Migraine headaches happen to women more than men, especially women between the ages of 15 and 55. Its likely more common in women because of the influence of hormones.
  • Stress level. You may get migraines more often if youre high-stress. Stress can trigger a migraine.
  • Smoking.

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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.

What Can You Do About Migraines

What Does a Migraine Feel Like? – The Excedrin® Migraine Experience

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 its best to consult your doctor, who can develop a treatment plan that works for you.

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What Does A Migraine Feel Like

English, whichcan express the thoughts of Hamlet and the tragedy of Lear, has no words forthe shiver and the headache. It has all grown one way. The merestschoolgirl, when she falls in love, has Shakespeare or Keats to speak her mindfor her but let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor andlanguage at once runs dry.Virigina Woolf, OnBeing Ill, 1926 Introduction realEvery single morning I wake up with pain in theleft side of my head. It feels like a vice has been attached to one half of myhead and its being squeezed tighter and tighter, as the day goes on the rightside joins in. This then feeling like a tight belt has also been wrapped aroundmy forehead and is being pulled tight. I get this every single day butin addition to this, usually 3-5 times a week, I get a migraineattack too. This feels like someone has buried a chainsaw right into the left hand side of my head!!!Mandi Howard, aged45Hemicrania Continua, New Daily Persistent Headache andChronic Migraine sufferer since July 2010.Skulls and PoniesMigraine MovieFran SwaineVimeoIt isolates you physically and emotionally but it still remains an invisibleillnesswant to blow yourhead off with a shot gunit washurting meits like someone has sewn a long icicle into my cheekwhere the pain is so badparts of my head, the size of a small tomato, swell up and a lump will appearand I am unable to lift my head off my pillow I feel like Ive had a strokebruisedand battered. FACT:4 phasesshow

Caffeine: Help Or Hindrance

When combined with some pain medications, caffeine can help provide relief. Most migraine sufferers can drink a cup or two a day of coffee without any problems. However, too much caffeine can lead to headaches when the stimulant effect wears off. It can work the other way as well. If you are used to having a cup of coffee at about the same time every morning, you may get a headache if you sleep in and your coffee is delayed.

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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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What Are The Treatments For Migraine

What A Migraine Really Feels Like

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.

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The Misunderstood Postdrome: It’s Not Just About The Pain

The non-headache symptoms of a Migraine hangover can be distressing and just as disabling as the pain phase itself

A fellow Migraine Warrior, Dr. Charles said, “My pain is not what disables me. It’s actually the other stuff. Particularly for me, it’s the fatigue and the need to sleep afterward.”

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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    Coping With A Migraine Hangover

    Currently, there are no treatments available specifically for the postdrome phase of a Migraine. To add insult to injury, you are more susceptible to having another Migraine attack during the hangover, too.

    This is why it is so important to manage Migraine triggers during this phase.

    There are strategies that you can try to prevent or manage a Migraine hangover like:

    • Drinking plenty of water

    Treatment: Triptans Or Ditans

    What Does A Migraine Feel Like?

    Triptans and ditans are the most common medications prescribed for migraine headaches. They are most effective when taken early in an attack. They include almotriptan, eletriptan , frovatriptan , lasmiditan , naratriptan , rizatriptan and sumatriptan and zolmitriptan . People with high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and other conditions may not be able to take triptans. And because of possible serious drug interactions, you should talk to your doctor about other medications you take, such as antidepressants or anti-seizure drugs. Side effects of triptans include nausea, dizziness, tingling, numbness, and chest pain.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Migraines

    Migraine symptoms can progress through four stages prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome and may include the following features:

    1. Prodrome:

    Constipation, mood changes, food cravings, neck stiffness, increased thirst and urination, frequent yawning

    2. Aura:

    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, hearing noises or music, uncontrollable jerking or other movements

    3. Attack:

    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:

    Feeling drained, confused, washed out, and/or elated, sudden head movements might bring on the pain again briefly

    The symptoms are so bad that a survey by the Migraine Research Foundation found that 71 percent of sufferers would give up their favorite pair of jeans and 62 percent would give up social media if it meant that the migraines would stop.

    To delve further into the phenomena of migraines, Excedrin, producer of a range of over-the-counter headache pain relievers, released The Migraine Experience.

    All I Am Is Paineileen Brewer 40 Columbia Maryland

    Brewers first attack came after a bout with spinal meningitis when she was 5. After that, migraines came just occasionally, once a month sometimes, or once or twice a year, she says.

    As an adult, different medications and strategies have helped, but she hasnt had any treatment for the past seven years because shes been either pregnant or breastfeeding. There are some days it is excruciating. All I am is pain. I spend a lot of nights sleeping on the bathroom floor because Im sick to my stomach and my head hurts, she says. Other days I can think around the pain.

    Now that she has weaned her youngest baby, Brewer hopes going back on treatment will improve her symptoms.

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    I Get Migraines Right Before My Period Could They Be Related To My Menstrual Cycle

    More than half of migraines in women occur right before, during, or after a woman has her period. This often is called “menstrual migraine.” But, just a small fraction of women who have migraine around their period only have migraine at this time. Most have migraine headaches at other times of the month as well.

    How the menstrual cycle and migraine are linked is still unclear. We know that just before the cycle begins, levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, go down sharply. This drop in hormones may trigger a migraine, because estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that affect a woman’s pain sensation.

    Talk with your doctor if you think you have menstrual migraine. You may find that medicines, making lifestyle changes, and home treatment methods can prevent or reduce the pain.

    Can Migraines Be Prevented

    What It Really Feels Like to Have a Migraine

    You can’t prevent every migraine. But learning your triggers and trying to avoid them can help. Take a break from activities that might start a migraine, such as using the computer for a long time. If you know that some foods are triggers, skip them. Some people find that cutting back on caffeine or drinking a lot of water can help prevent migraines.

    Make a plan for all the things you have to do especially during stressful times like exams so you don’t feel overwhelmed when things pile up. Regular exercise also can reduce stress and make you feel better.

    The more you understand about your headaches, the better prepared you can be to fight them.

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