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Signs and Symptoms of Migraine

Written and verified by Holly Hazen

Knowing the signs and symptoms of migraine will slowly become your early warning signals to make a move. If you act fast, you might just be able to abort the pain phase.

Even if you are newly diagnosed, you already know you have to act fast or else it will hit harder and last longer. And we don't want that.

Signs and Symptoms of Migraine

A migraine is characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches and is often accompanied by autonomic nervous system symptoms.

The normal migraine is unilateral, which means it affects one half of the head and typically pulsates.

Keeping these headaches from ruling your life is difficult. 

Typical signs and symptoms of migraine that come before a migraine are called prodrome or prodromal symptoms. These can include:

  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Confusion
  • Vertigo
  • Shaking
  • Feeling too hot
  • Feeling too cold
  • Being anxious or irritable

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These are thought to be warning signs that your migraine is starting. But different people have different signals. My right eye swells up and my nose runs. Sometimes I can't string a sentence together or get my words out. A lot of times I feel like an ice cube, so it's not just my hands and feet.

The earlier a migraine is detected, the earlier it can be treated.

With classic migraines people sometimes have a warning sign called an aura. This aura typically affects the vision. Sometimes it will present itself as flashing lights and colors. It is possible during this aura to temporarily lose some of your vision.

The typical aura usually lasts about fifteen to thirty minutes and can happen before or after your head pain. My aura lasts much longer, it can last up to 2 days before I get a migraine. Blurry vision or acute vision where I can see the air move. And zigzags in my peripheral vision.

If you are on medication to help prevent or lessen the action of the migraine, the onset of the aura is probably the time you would need to take this medication.

What Can You Do?

One of the things that you would want to do is get plenty of rest. Intense physical activity, including sexual activity, can set off the migraine symptoms.

Biofeedback is often recommended to change your internal reactions to stress. It can teach you to decrease your heart rate and monitor your reactions to stress.

Do not drink alcoholic beverages, especially red wine. There are several foods such as processed foods and meats like hot dogs and salami, beans, chocolate, raisins, and others, which can aggravate the pre-migraine symptoms.

Medicines can help to prevent migraines, especially if they happen more than twice a month. Read this list of migraine medications for more details. 

The overuse of some of the non-prescription medications may cause other problems. An example of this is taking too much acetaminophen can have the potential to damage your liver. Too much ibuprofen or aspirin can irritate your stomach.

Signs and Symptoms of Migraine Can Be Different Each Time

Symptoms for each person can be different, which makes for different treatments. One person may have rare headaches and require little or no treatment, while another person may require hospitalization and the need to take several medications.

Plus they can be different with each migraine attack. My symptoms changed every few years in the early days, before I got control of the pain.

Migraines are not typically life-threatening but they do have a risk factor for strokes in both men and women.

It is unknown why, but the risk factor is higher for the people who have migraines accompanied by auras. People with migraines should avoid other risk factors for strokes such as smoking and birth control pills.

Notify your physician if your headache patterns or pain levels change. If the treatment plan that you and your physician have made no longer works or you may be having side effects from some of the medications that were prescribed, let your physician know asap.

Listen To The Signs And Act Fast

I cover all of the signs and symptoms of migraine in great depth in my migraine pain management course... come have a look...

Thinking of you on this pain journey, and hoping I've been of some help,

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