A migraine is a severe, painful headache accompanied by a range of other symptoms like nausea, aura, and neck pain. It can last for a few hours to days and the intensity of pain may vary from person to person. While some symptoms occur before a migraine attack, almost serving as a warning, some are prominent during and after the attack. Here’s a list of the signs and symptoms of a migraine.
The appearance of flickering lights, flashing dots or lines, spots, wavy lines, commonly known as aura, is one of the prominent symptoms of a migraine onset. It starts about an hour before a headache sets in and lasts for around 5 minutes to 1 hour. Sometimes the aura can also be related to touch, movement, or speech, where one may hear noises or music or may feel as though someone is touching him.
2. Mood Swings
Sudden excitement, depression, irritability, and anger are an indication that a migraine attack would trigger in near future. A person might switch from being extremely excited and happy to being disappointed and sad in a short span.
3. Frequent Yawning
Lack of sound sleep is a warning of an impending migraine headache. This results in restlessness and frequent yawning. Lack of restful sleep is also one of the causes of a migraine, and studies show a strong correlation between lack of sleep and frequency and intensity of migraines.
4. Food Craving
A few hours to 3 days before the throbbing headache sets in, some patients crave for certain types of foods. Most patients yearn for carbohydrates, especially sweets. The craving vanishes once headache starts, and the patient would not want to eat anything after it subsides.
5. Sinus Symptoms
Some people have a runny nose, teary eyes, and nasal irritation (which are all the symptoms of sinusitis), before a migraine onset. Research indicates that about 90% of the cases who report sinus-related headaches have a migraine as the underlying cause.
6. Frequent Urination
This can be another indicative symptom of a migraine, where the person needs to urinate frequently. It usually starts a few hours to 2 days before the attack.
7. Speech Trouble
The patient finds it difficult to pronounce certain words or might stammer while speaking. This is a symptom which indicates impending migraine trigger. An immediate medical attention is mandatory in this case since speech trouble is also one of the main symptoms of stroke.
8. Pulsating Headache
One of the prominent symptoms of a migraine, an extreme headache is what every patient experiences. The pain could either be on one side or both the sides, or could shift from one side to other. In about 50% of the cases, the patients experience an one-sided headache. It usually lasts for about 72 hours if left untreated, but it largely differs from person to person.
9. Neck Pain
A pain radiating from the head toward the back of the neck is yet another prominent symptom of a migraine. Stiffness in the neck before a headache is also common. It lasts as long as the headache prevails and slowly reduces with time.
A temporary lack of sensation on one side of the body is evident in most of the cases. The pins and needles sensation can start from fingertips and pass on to hands, face, and head leaving one sensationless on one side.
11. Sensitivity To Light And Certain Sounds
The intensity of the headache multiplies when the patient is exposed to light, certain sounds, or smells/odors. Therefore, the patient might prefer being in a quiet and dark room, away from the triggers. Smells seem to impact in the worst way possible, as they intensify the headache which takes a longer time to diminish.
12. Vomiting And Nausea
Research indicates that patients who experience nausea or vomiting as a part of a migraine attack find it very difficult to get back to normal in a short span of time. This is because the process of pain relief takes longer than usual. Studies also show that the frequency of migraine attack in such patients is more often than people without it.
13. Eye Pain
Pain behind the eyes along with a headache can make it difficult for the patient to open his eyes. When this coincides with light sensitivity, it can cause a havoc, forcing him to give up on any activities.
14. Double Vision
A migraine can cause blurred vision, dizziness, double vision, or complete loss of vision. Some people also find problems with balancing themselves. Cases of vertigo have also been identified.
After the headache is relieved, most patients feel exhausted. This leads to weakness in the muscles, especially of the arms and legs, and the person might limp or take a long time to complete a physical activity.
It is important to identify the symptoms at an early stage and seek medical attention to avoid worsening the condition.