Migraine Headache Symptoms
Nausea is one of 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 the severe head pain that generally has throbbing or pulsating peaks, often on one side of the head, the most common symptom migraine sufferers are hit with is nausea and vomiting. Nausea tends to impact about 80 percent of people who experience migraines, while about half succumb to vomiting — both generally towards the latter end of the migraine attack. Other migraine symptoms include a sensitivity to light or sound called photophobia and phonophobia, respectively, as well as clamminess and light-headedness.
Other Migraine Symptoms
Other symptoms suffered less frequently during a migraine include numbness, weakness or pain on one side of the body. One’s speech or ability to think and communicate clearly can also become limited during a migraine. If you experience these symptoms, call your doctor right away to ensure your problem isn’t more serious than a migraine.
Many migraine sufferers report experiencing prodrome — early symptoms that can serve as a warning sign of an impending migraine. These premonitory symptoms can take place anywhere from days to hours prior to a migraine, and their frequency and severity can vary depending on many different variables.
Sensitivity to light, sounds and smells – which becomes even more heightened during the 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 or temporary loss (most commonly in “aura” migraines).
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, 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 accompanied by tiredness is also a common post-migraine complaint, with many sufferers needing to sleep following an attack.
In the hopes of helping to prevent future migraines, keeping track of potential triggers and pre-headache symptoms is recommended – as each individual person might experience a different set. You can track your any triggers and possible patterns in your migraines in a migraine headache diary.