One of the early migraine symptoms is an “aura”, prior to the onset of other symptoms.
An aura can affect your hearing, speech, sense of smell, or other neurological functions, and usually hits about 15 to 30 minutes before a migraine attack.
However, some 'prodrome' symptoms can start days before the onset of the pain phase.
This prodrome phase provides early warning signs of an attack.
Even earlier than the aura.
The general rule is, there are no rules.
Everybody's experience with migraines is different.
A severe headache is the main symptom associated with migraines, however many people also experience these signs and symptoms:
• severe throbbing in the head
• pain on just one side of the head, but occasionally both sides may be affected
• nausea, which may lead to vomiting
• sensitivity to loud noise or bright light
• pain around the eyes, especially on the side of the migraine
• debilitating pain that gets worse with activity
• difficulty in speaking
• increased sensitivities of the senses (smell, hear and taste)
Without medication or other treatment an attack generally lasts from 4 hours to several days, but some have been reported to last more than a week. (me!)
Although many people refer to all throbbing headaches as a migraine, experts save the term for a chronic, recurring neurological condition that results in occasional attacks of pain in the head, not the headache itself.
Neurological experts have found that people with this condition are twice as likely to suffer a stroke than people not affected by migraine symptoms.
These findings support earlier beliefs that the brain's blood circulation is altered during a migraine attack, which could possibly result in physiological damage.
One way you may not have considered is using music to help cope with your symptoms. Check out my top picks of headache music or listen to these inspirational CD's to calm down that nervous system.
Up to 25 percent of headaches suffered by women in their thirties are caused by migraines. The condition has been diagnosed in more than 28 million people in the US, more than half of which are women.
There isn't enough evidence to prove whether women are genetically more prone to migraines, or if men are just less likely to report the condition to their doctors. However, it is commonly believed that just as many men suffer from the condition, but don't seek treatment.
If you believe you may be suffering from the condition, you should keep track of any migraine symptoms you experience.
Make note of the type of pain, where it is located, the time of day it occurs, how long it lasts, and how severe the pain is, as well as any other symptoms occurring at the same time such as nausea or light sensitivity.
The more accurate your records, the easier it will be for your doctor to determine whether or not your symptoms are in fact caused by a migraine, or if there may be another underlying disease causing your pain.
Migraine headaches last longer and are much more severe than “regular” headaches.
During an attack, the sufferer can usually only find relief by laying flat in a dark room.
The localized pain, often being the most severe over one eye, becomes much worse with the slightest amount of movement.
That “aura” experience can be very frightening if you have never experienced it before. It occurs in about 20 percent of migraines. You may suffer double vision, weakness, or slurring your words. An aura will usually last for about 15 to 30 minutes, and then the crushing headache begins, sometimes accompanied with severe nausea.
Since migraine headaches are a recurring condition, rebound headaches are often mistaken for a migraine. Rebound headaches can afflict anyone who takes ASA (acetylsalicylic acid) medication or other common painkillers (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen) for headaches on 15 days or more during a one month period.
They can also affect people using narcotic pain relievers such as codeine, painkillers containing more than one pain medication, or “triptan” medications such as sumatriptan, rizatripan or almotriptan on more than 10 days a month.
These rebound headaches are often referred to as medication-induced headaches, and people end up in a vicious circle. The medication relieves the pain for a little while, but as it wears off, the pain comes back worse than before, and the sufferer will likely take more medication. This results in constant pain on both sides of the head, which gets worse every time the dose of medication wears off.
Tracking these headaches will help your doctor find the best way to eliminate them and end the cycle once and for all. Try the medication tracker in the free e-book you get when you join the mailing list.
I changed the way I did things after reading Mindfulness Over Migraines.
Cynthia Perkins, who has a Masters Degree in education, wrote this after she discovered for herself, how to stop her attacks.
Sometimes in just fifteen minutes.
I spoke to her and she said she is able to stop the phases from starting most of the time knowing what she knows now.
And I can tell you that I felt much more confident and knowledgeable when I took my next abortive.
My migraine symptoms used to go on for ten days, but not now.
Now I know about my tipping point... it's all shorter and more spaced out.
I can't tell you all the secrets, you will just have to buy the ebook.
And... it will be the best read if you take action after reading it.
Put to use what you've learned... it's up to you.
Migraine symptoms can often be categorized into four possible phases, although not everyone will necessarily experience every phase.
1. The prodrome – occurs a few hours or several days before the headache
2. The aura – comes immediately before the headache
3. The headache phase – also known as the pain phase
4. The postdrome – effects felt after the worst of the headache is gone
This phase is experienced by approximately 60 percent of all migraine sufferers, however unless you keep close track of how you feel.
You might not even recognize this phase as migraine symptoms.
This phase will usually last a few hours or a few days before the headache strikes.
Symptoms include mood swings, depression, anger, irritability, fatigue, stiff muscles, diarrhea or constipation, strong cravings, increased sensitivity to noise or smell, and even euphoria.
Having cold like symptoms is often common.
About one in five people experience this phase. Typically the aura symptoms last for fifteen up to thirty minutes, I am sure mine last much longer.
They are most often described as visual effects.
Approximately 35 percent of auras include a feeling of pins-and-needles in one hand, which spreads up the arm towards the mouth on the same side. The tingling is usually followed by numbness.
This is the most painful phase.
The headache will usually come on gradually, and is made worse by physical activity.
The severe throbbing is usually just on one side, but in nearly half of the cases it is felt on both sides, as well as at the back of the head.
This severe pain can last anywhere from a few hours to several days.
The frequency varies greatly. Some people will only experience three or four in their entire lifetime, while others may have an attack several times a week.
The average migraine sufferer will have an attack about once per month.
In many cases the effects of a migraine drags out for days after the pain of the headache is gone. This is called the postdrome phase.
Migraine symptoms in this phase include fatigue, a dull pain where the migraine headache was located, gastrointestinal problems, impaired thinking, moodiness and weakness.
In rare cases, patients report feeling refreshed or usually happy, however the majority report feeling depressed and tired.
And just to add my two cents, I wrote the silent migraine symptom I hate the most.
See you next time.
Migraine Symptoms: Warning Signs of an Attack