Did you know that your migraine headache symptoms can occur days before an attack? They can also last during the entire attack... and after the attack, in some cases, for days.
Use your symptoms as early warning signals so you can take action immediately and stop your migraines asap.
Migraine headache attacks begin with a single trigger or accumulated triggers and are followed by symptoms that are quite different for each individual.
Migraines normally go through four phases with different symptoms occurring – or not - in each phase.
Meaning that not all people experience all four phases.
We may be most familiar with the pain phase, which actually comes third in the sequence of events. The symptoms and characteristics of this phase appear to occur more commonly to most individuals than in the other phases. So let's start there.
In Phase 3 – when the pain actually hits - it normally looks like this:
The pain phase typically lasts for 4 – 72 hours. But before that comes the entire episode that starts with...
40 to 60 percent of migraine attacks are preceded by warning symptoms.
Migraine headache symptoms can occur hours or even days before the migraine episode.
This can provide you with an early warning signal that tells you your migraine attack is on its way.
This is when I know to take my abortive as soon as possible. Please see our list of migraine medications here should you like more details on the abortives available. Getting to know my signals and symptoms have definitely made my life more manageable.
Some typical early warning migraine headache symptoms are:
My biggest ah hah moment came about a year ago when I was getting a hair cut. When my hair was being shampooed I said "oh no this smell is a migraine trigger for me."
I could taste it, as I can taste many things that trigger me like that - hand creams, make up, hair conditioners, etc. My heart started to race.
Anyway she replied "oh how wonderful you have an early warning system." I was so shocked, and then realized that I had not looked at it that way before. How could I have missed that? I got stuck in the - "Oh no, not again" instead.
Want my advice? Treat your migraine headache symptoms as early warning signs. Learn to listen to your body. My course will help you start to recognize your own signals. Taking action as soon as possible is your best chance at aborting your attack. Here's the link...
It is estimated that 20
percent of migraineurs experience this aura phase. This period also has
a set of its own symptoms that vary widely between individuals. Some migraine headache symptoms can be quite terrifying like those that resemble a stroke in a more complex migraine – the recent example was Serene Branson, the KCBS reporter, who started to speak gibberish on her live report at the Grammys.
Then there are some people who experience a tingling sensation and have numbness leading to partial paralysis of their limbs and face. This is normally on the same side of their body as the migraine headache itself.
Having paralysis would freak me right
out....I am stressed enough with the migraine headache symptoms I already do have.
Which are listed below, plus I get cold like symptoms each time. A runny nose and swollen eye on one side. Each time my husband says "maybe you are just getting a cold."
Some classic aura symptoms are:
After effects are most commonly experienced by most migraine sufferers for approximately 24 hours after the attack but some people take hours and some take several days or a week to fully recover from an attack. These symptoms can be:
And sometimes the migraine can recur during this phase.
As you can see, there are a significant number of symptoms of migraine to become aware of and I have found it is of great importance that we know that symptoms do vary greatly between individuals.
We must then,
endeavor to learn our own signals so we can take the action we need to, to abort the attack. The sooner you act, the shorter the pain and symptoms will last.
Harvard Health Publishing (2019) Headache: When to worry, what to do. Available [online] at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/headache-when-to-worry-what-to-do Accessed Apr. 5, 2019