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Can A Migraine Symptom Change?

Written and verified by Holly Hazen


Did you know a migraine symptom can change over time, as we age? It can also change from attack to attack. So it's important to know what's 'normal' for you.

I've written about this (severe) changing migraine symptom I had recently so that you, my friend living with migraine, will know that even after over twenty years, symptoms can change quite a lot. New symptoms can arise and some disappear as we age.

Is it inevitable? Well aging is, but here are some tips on how to relieve those symptoms.

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A migraine symptom can change over time, as we age. It / they can also change from attack to attack. So it's important to know what's 'normal' for you. @migrainesavvyCan Your Migraine Symptoms Change? Yes They Can! @migrainesavvy

So about two weeks ago I woke up early in the morning and I was a feeling a little dizzy even before I got out of bed.

I bumped into two walls on the way to the bathroom and I knew something was up.

As usual, my husband said "maybe you are getting a cold!"

But I wondered if this new symptom meant a migraine was on its way. I was actually too dizzy to think straight. And in my zen way of extending myself some patience, I waited. I stayed in bed for a bit, but when I got up I could barely stand. I was thinking - I wish I had already written the article on migraine associated vertigo, because I was pretty sure that’s what this was.

Anyway, two or three hours passed, and I just had to get up and eat. This task proved almost impossible because I just could not even sit. Now... I've had migraines, chronic, intense and severe for over twenty years and I do not recall ever having this symptom so severely. 

Watch For Changing Migraine Symptoms @migrainesavvyExpect Symptoms To Change

I can get off balance with a migraine, but this was like – fall straight to the ground, and smash your head on the floor stuff.

So, I am writing about this because I think it's important to let you know about this change in migraine pattern or change in symptoms that can occur.

About two years ago I noticed that my face was tingling quite noticeable before an attack. That was new then, it's continued... and now this. 

Anyway, I used to wait WAY too long to take my abortive medication and I saw myself repeating the same pattern. So, I decided to take action and thought the worse case scenario would be that I waste a Naramig, the best case would be that this new strange migraine symptom would disappear.

I did not allow myself to think I might die, as I do sometimes. I am embarrassed to admit this… but I guess it was from all those years of having no pain killers and thinking I would just die from the intense pain. Anyway, after two hours, the Naramig kicked in and the extreme dizziness went away. Like magic!

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Symptoms Can Change from Attack to Attack and During an Attack

In 2007 after I had just found Naramig, I noticed that my symptoms changed significantly from migraine to migraine. Each time I would have or notice something different. I think it was because I could not previously detect anything subtle due to the intense pain that accompanied my attacks, and now I had a little space to be more observant. 

I normally had migraines that lasted ten days, and sometimes after day three or four, it would change sides. I didn't know they could do that, but they started off right sided and switched over to the left at some point. I, luckily, have never had a rebound headache after those long attacks. 

So there you have it. Another changing migraine symptom that caught me by surprise after all these years. I just wanted you to know this can happen.

On a positive note, this made me think about some of the symptoms that have 'healed'. The right sided attacks no longer makes my face swell up like a football, my moods are much more stable and the vomiting has subsided to brief bouts of nausea.

YAY! Progress!



What You Must Do

If this new migraine symptom alarms you in any way, please get to your doctor as soon as possible. It could be something more sinister. 

Any new head pain should be reported to your doctor, or the emergency room.

Sharon Stone comes to mind, (2001) when she mistook her headache pain for yet another migraine symptom. It turned out to be a massive stroke and a nine-day brain bleed. It took her years to recover.

So anything out of the 'normal' gets checked. OK?

Here are 5 tips for reducing migraine symptoms @migrainesavvyHere are 5 tips for reducing migraine symptoms @migrainesavvy

5 Tips to Help Stop That Migraine Symptom from Progressing to A Full-Blown Attack

Act fast. Take action at your earliest warning signal... because the pain phase is on its way.

Here's my advice to treat an acute attack and reduce symptoms:

  • Act as soon as you notice a symptom. This means you're migraine has been triggered.
  • Stop what you are doing and start your pain management strategy. Take your abortive medications at your earliest warning sign.
  • Listen to some relaxing guided meditations and drift off to sleep.
  • If the pain in your head is different, get to emergency or call your doctor asap.

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Holly Hazen is the creator of Migraine Savvy. Her guidance is guaranteed to give you more confidence in your ability to prepare for that next attack and recover faster. Learning resilience and coping skills now will pay off forever!


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