Symptoms of Migraines

By Timothy Sexton

  • Overview

    A migraine is actually a chronic disorder where the headache is the most common and most well-known symptom. What distinguishes the migraine from other types of headaches like cluster and tension headaches are the associated symptoms, many of which can be just as aggravating and debilitating as the pain in the head itself.
  • Auras

    Migraines essentially come in two distinct varieties: migraines with aura and migraines without aura. The word aura has the connotation of visual disturbances and this is usually the case, but an aura can also result in an auditory hallucinations. Auras typically precede the actual headache itself by about a half hour and can include such things as flickering lights, seeing spots, the appearance of brightly colored hues as well as a feeling of pins and needles in the extremities. With auditory aura, one may hear sounds.
  • Prodome Symptoms

    About half of all migraine sufferers experience one or more effects known as prodomal symptoms. These are symptoms that begin showing up as early as two or three days before the headache arrives. Among the prodomal symptoms to be aware of are insomnia, irritability or other changes in mood, fatigue or euphoria and food cravings.

  • Abdominal Migraine

    A good example of why migraines should not be confused with the headaches that most often accompany them is the abdominal migraine. This type of migraine generally is associated with children. The most obvious symptom is abdominal pain that may last for several days, but the sufferer may also exhibit symptoms such as a loss of color, nausea and even vomiting.
  • Facial Pain

    A kind of migraine officially known as carotidynia is characterized by facial pain, especially pain associated with the jaw. This pain can vary from person to person; some report a pain that is dull and aching while others report feeling a sharp, piercing pain that can shoot from the jaw down the neck. In addition, this kind of migraine may produce swelling or soreness in the neck.
  • Eye Pain

    Ophthalmoplegic migraines are characterized by an intense pain that seems to be located directly behind the eye. As the headache gets worse, a visual sign of this type of migraine is a drooping of the eyelid and a paralysis of the eye muscles often develops. Very often, this kind of migraine also produces vomiting.
  • Confusion

    Both migraines with and without auras can often lead to feelings of confusion in the sufferer. The anxiety produced by the onset of a migraine may at times not even be accompanied by a headache at all, leading to even more anxiety.
  • Difficulty Speaking

    Those who are suffering the effect of confusion often have trouble speaking clearly, but even when the ability to think rationally is retained, a migraine sufferer may not be able to put those thoughts into words. The inability to speak clearly or pronounce words is not a common symptom of migraine, but can still be one of the most frightening and debilitating.
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