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migraine headache symptoms

Migraine Headache Symptoms

Headache is the most common symptoms of a migraine, but it’s not the only one.

Experts have yet to definitively pinpoint the medical cause of migraines, but knowing the most common symptoms can help you get properly diagnosed and determine the best course of migraine treatment.

Major Migraine Symptoms

Aside from severe throbbing or pulsating head pain, often on one side of the head, nausea and vomiting are common. Nausea tends to impact about 80% of people who experience migraines, while about half suffer from vomiting — both generally towards the latter end of the migraine attack. Other migraine symptoms include a sensitivity to light (photophobia) or sound (phonophobia), as well as clamminess and light-headedness.

Other Migraine Symptoms

Other less common symptoms include numbness, weakness or pain on one side of the body. Speech, thinking and clear communication can also become limited during a migraine. These symptoms can also be signs of a more serious condition, so contact your doctor.

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Warning Signs

Many migraine sufferers report experiencing prodrome — early symptoms that can serve as a warning sign of an impending migraine. These migraine alarms can take place anywhere from days to hours prior to a migraine and their frequency and severity can vary.

Sensitivity to light, sounds and smells – which becomes even more heightened during a migraine – is a common premonitory symptom, while others are impacted by things like excessive thirst, lethargy and constipation or diarrhea. Some migraine sufferers experience vision impairment (most commonly in “aura” migraines).

The Aftermath

The duration of a migraine can be excruciating, but even once the worst of the attack has passed, there’s often after-effects to deal with for up to 24 hours later. Following the headache, migraine sufferers often feel depleted of energy and can face a shift in mood (irritability is frequently reported), though for some the opposite happens and they get a surge of energy afterwards. Muscle weakness and fatigue are also common post-migraine complaints, with many sufferers needing to sleep following an attack.

To prevent future migraines, keep track of potential triggers and pre-headache symptoms in a migraine diary.

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