Migraine: Symptoms, Causes, Traits, Treatment, and More - AlQudrahMC

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Everything you Need to Know about Migraine Symptoms

Everything you Need to Know about Migraine Symptoms

by Zahra Ijaz · February 25, 2022

Do you know that migraine symptoms can cause severe throbbing pain or a using sensation often on one side of the head? It often comes with nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

Moreover, migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be severe that it interferes with your daily activities.

Let’s learn more about them in detail.


Migraine: Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors

Migraine symptoms or aura occur before or with the headache and an aura can include visual disturbances.
These include flashes of light or blind spots, or other disturbances like tingling on one side of the face or in an arm or leg and causing difficulty speaking.
Moreover, medications can help to prevent migraine symptoms, and make them less painful.
Let’s learn more about it in detail.

migraine symptoms 1

While you might think they are “really bad headaches” migraine is a neurological condition with multiple symptoms.

While intense, debilitating headaches frequently characterize it.

Some additional migraine symptoms are nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness or tingling, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Moreover, the condition often runs in families and can affect all age groups.

People assigned females at birth are more likely to have migraine than people assigned males at birth.

In order to diagnose this, your doctor will take your clinical history, migraine symptoms, and by ruling out other causes.

Furthermore, the most common categories of migraine headache or attacks are episodic vs. chronic, and then those without aura and with aura.

What Do Migraine Symptoms Feel Like?

You might describe migraine pain as pulsating, throbbing, perforating, pounding, and debilitating.

Moreover, it can also feel like a severe, dull, and steady ache.

The pain may start out as mild, however, without treatment, it can become moderate to severe.

It is important to note that migraine pain commonly affects your forehead area and often occurs on one side of your head.

But it can also occur on both sides or shift.

In most cases, migraine attacks last about 4 hours, and if you do not treat it, or do not respond to the treatment, it can last for as long as 72 hours to a week.

Furthermore, in migraine with aura, the pain may overlap with an aura or may never occur at all.

Migraine Symptoms

Migraine symptoms may begin 1 to 2 days before the headache itself and are called Prodrome Stage.

Some of the symptoms during this stage are:

Food cravings, depression, fatigue or low energy, frequent yawning, hyperactivity, irritability, and neck stiffness.

Moreover, in the case of migraine with aura, the aura occurs after the prodrome stage.

During an aura, you might experience problems with your vision, sensations, movements, and speech.

Some of these problems are:

  • difficulty speaking clearly
  • feeling a pricking or tingling sensation on your face, arms, or legs
  • seeing certain shapes, light flashes, or bright spots
  • losing your vision temporarily



The next phase is Attack Phase and is the most acute or severe of the phases when the migraine pain occurs.

In some cases, this can also overlap or occur during an aura. Attack phase symptoms can last anywhere from hours to days.

Migraine symptoms can vary, however, from one person to another.

Some of these symptoms are as follows:

Increase in sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, dizziness, or feeling faint, pain on one side of the head, either on the left side, right side, front, or back or in your temples.

Moreover, pulsing and throbbing head pain and vomiting are other migraine symptoms.

After this attack phase, you will often experience the postdrome phase.

During this phase, they are typically changes in mood and feelings and can range from feeling euphoric and extremely happy to feeling very fatigued and apathetic.

Furthermore, a mild, dull headache may persist afterward.

The length and intensity of these phases can occur to different degrees in different people,

In some cases, a phase might ship and the migraine attack may occur without causing a headache.

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Causes of Migraine Symptoms

Researchers have not been able to identify a definitive cause of migraine.

However, they still believe the due is often due to “abnormal” brain activity that affects nerve signaling, chemicals, and blood vessels in your brain.

There are also a number of triggers that people continually report.

These are bright lights, severe heat or extremes in weather, dehydration, changes in biometric pressures, and hormone changes in people assigned female at birth.


This includes estrogen and progesterone fluctuation during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause.

Moreover, other potential causes are:

  • excess stress
  • loud sounds
  • intense physical activity
  • skipping meals
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • uses of medications like oral contraceptives or nitroglycerin
  • unusual smell
  • certain foods
  • smoking
  • using alcohol

If you experience a migraine attack, your doctor may ask you to keep a headache journal.

Writing down what you were doing, what foods you ate, and what medications you took before the migraine symptoms and attack began can help identify your triggers.

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Risk Factors for Migraine

A number of factors are more likely to make you prone to migraines. These are:

Family History: If you have a family member with a migraine, then you have a good chance of developing them as well.

Age: These tend to begin at any age, though often occur during adolescence.

Moreover, migraines tend to peak during your 30s and gradually become less severe and less frequent in the following decades.

Gender: Women are three times more likely to have them than men.

Hormonal Changes: For women who have migraine, headaches might begin just before or shortly after the onset of menstruation.

They might also change during pregnancy or menopause and often improve after menopause.

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Migraine: Triggers and Types

Migraine symptoms can occur due to varying triggers and vary from one person to another.

Moreover, certain foods or ingredients, changes in the atmosphere, or other factors can lead to it. There are also different types of migraine, and you can either have one or two types of them.

Keep on reading.

migraine symptoms 2

Migraine Tiggers

While migraine triggers can be very personal, certain foods or food ingredients are more likely to trigger an attack than others.

Some of these are:

Alcohol or caffeinated drinks, food additives like nitrates, a preservative in cured meats, aspartame, an artificial sugar, or monosodium glutamate, MSG.

Moreover, tyramine that naturally occurs in some foods may also trigger migraine.

Tyramines also increase when certain foods undergo the process of fermentation or aging.

These include sauerkraut, aged cheese, and soy sauce.

However, ongoing research is looking more closely at the role of tyramine in migraines, as it may not be a big trigger as previously thought.

Moreover, other migraine attack triggers are:

  • hormone triggers in people assigned female at birth
  • Stress
  • anxiety
  • excitement
  • poor sleep quality
  • strenuous exercise when you do not do it often
  • bright lights
  • changes in climate or weather
  • hormone replacement therapy drugs

You can choose to keep a headache journal when the attack occurs so that you can identify personal triggers.

Furthermore, they can also help your doctor to make a diagnosis.

There a different types of migraine, while two of the most common types are migraine without aura and migraine with aura.

Moreover, in some cases, you might be one of those who have both types.

Many people living with migraine have more than one type of migraine.

Let’s discuss them as follows:

 Migraine without Aura

Most people with migraine do not experience an aura with their headaches.

However, if you are someone who has migraines without an aura, then you have had at least five attacks that have the following characteristics.

Attacks often last 4 to 72 hours without treatment or in case treatment does not work.

without aura

An attack that has at least two of the following traits:

  • occurs only on one of the head or is unilateral
  • pain is pulsating or throbbing
  • pain level is moderate or severe
  • or pain gets worse when you move like when walking or climbing stairs
  • or the attack has at least one of the following traits:
  • makes you sensitive to light or photophobia
  • you experience nausea with or without vomiting or diarrhea

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Migraine with Aura

An aura often occurs in 25% of the people who have migraine.

In case you have a migraine with aura, you are most likely to have at least two attacks that have the following characteristics.

An aura that goes away is completely reversible, and includes at last one of the following symptoms:

  • visual problems which is the most common aura symptom
  • sensory issues of the body, face, or tongue like numbness, tingling, or dizziness
  • speech or language issues
  • problems moving or weakness that may last up to 72 hours

Furthermore, brainstem symptoms include difficulty talking or dysarthria i.e. unclear speech, vertigo, a spinning feeling, tinnitus or ringing in years, and diplopia or double vision.


Additionally, ataxia, or an inability to control body movements, and eye problem in one eye.
This includes flashes of light, blind spots, or temporary blindness, and when these symptoms occur, they are Retinal Migraines.

Additionally, an aura that has two of the following traits:

At least one symptom spreads gradually over 5 or more minutes, each migraine symptom of the aura lasts between 5 minutes and 1 hour, and if you have 3 symptoms, they may last for up to 3 hours.

Also, an aura that occurs with the attack or 1 hour before the attack begins, an attack that is not due to another health condition, and a transient ischemic attack have been excluded as a cause.

It is important to note that an aura often occurs before the headache pain begins, however, it can continue once the attack starts.

Alternatively, an aura may start at the same time as the attack does.

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Chronic Migraine

Chronic migraine or a “combination” or “mixed” migraine can have features of migraine and a tension headache.

It also sometimes causes a severe migraine headache and can be due to medication overuse.

In case you are one of those people who have chronic migraine then you will have a severe tension headache or migraine attack for more than 15 days a month for 3 or more months.

More than eight of such attacks str migraine with or without aura.

Moreover, some of the additional risk factors that may cause an individual susceptible chronic migraine are:

Anxiety, depression, another type of chronic pain like arthritis, serious health problems or combinations like high blood pressure, and previous head or neck injuries.

Moreover, acute migraine is a general term for a migraine attack that your doctor does not diagnose as chronic, while another name for this type is Episodic Migraine.

If you are among people who have episodic migraines, then you may have attacks up to 14 days a month.

Thus with episodic migraine, you may have fewer attacks a month than with chronic ones.

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Other Types of Migraine

Vestibular migraine or migraine associated with Vertigo occurs in about about 1% of the general population living with this type.

The symptoms affect balance, cause dizziness, or both.

Moreover, people of any age, including children may experience vestibular migraine attacks.

In case of your diagnosis, your doctor may suggest you see a vestibular rehabilitation therapist.

They can help you and teach exercises that can help stay balanced when your symptoms are at wort.

Because these migraine attacks can be so debilitating, you and your doctor may talk about preventive medications.

According to the National Headache Foundation, menstrual-related migraines affect about 60% of women who experience any type of migraine.

It can occur with or without aura, and attacks can happen before, during, or after menstruation and during ovulation.

Research suggests that menstrual migraine tends to be more intense, last longer, and have more significant nausea than migraine that is not associated with the menstrual cycle.

Migraine aura without headache or silent migraine or visual migraine without headache occurs when a person has an aura, however, does not get a headache.

This type is more common in people who start having migraines after the age of 40.

Visual Aura symptoms are more common, and with this type, the aura can gradually occur, with symptoms spreading over several minutes.

Moreover, it may move from one symptom to another, and after visual symptoms, people may have numbness, speech problems, and or tingling in the face or hands.

Hormonal Migraine or menstrual migraine is linked with female hormones, often estrogen.

Most people who ovulate report migraine headaches during their period, ovulation, pregnancy, and perimenopause.



Treatment, Prevention, and More

Your doctor will diagnose this condition by listening to your migraine symptoms, taking a thorough medical and family history, and performing a physical exam to rule out other potential causes. Moreover, imaging scans, like CT scans or MRIC can help rule out other causes like tumors, abnormal brain structures, and stroke.
Let’s discuss the treatment options as follows:

migraine symptoms 3

Treating Options

One of the important things to note is that you cannot cure migraines, however, your doctor can help to manage migraine symptoms and attacks by giving you the tools to treatments the symptoms whenever they occur.

This leads to fewer attacks in general.

Moreover, treatment can also help make migraine less severe.

Your treatment depends on your age, how often you have migraines, and the type of migraine you have

It also depends on how severe they are and are based on how long they lat, how much pain you have, and how often they keep you from going to school or work.

Whether they include nausea or vomiting along with other migraine symptoms and other health conditions you may have and medications you are taking.

migraine symptoms 4

Furthermore, your treatment plan may include the following:

Lifestyle adjustments like stress management and avoiding migraine triggers.

OTC pain or migraine medications like Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, or acetaminophen, Tylenol.

Prescription migraine medications that your take every day to help prevent the headaches and reduce how often you have them.

Prescription migraine medications that you take as soon as an attack starts to keep it become severe and ease the symptoms, and medications to help with nausea, or vomiting.

Hormone therapy if migraines occur in relation to the menstrual cycle, counseling, and alternative care which may include meditation, acupressure, or acupuncture.

Medications for Migraine

You can use medications either to prevent a migraine attack from occurring or treat it once it occurs.

Moreover, you may be able to get relief with OTC medications, however, if OTC medications are not effective, you may need your doctor to prescribe other medications.

The severity of your migraine and any other health issue you have will determine which treatment is right for you.

Acute medication, when you take them as soon as you suspect a migraine attack is coming are:

NSAIDs Medications like iburophen or aspirin can help in case of mild to moderate attacks that do not include nausea or vomiting.

migraine symptoms, medications

Triptan These medications like sumatriptan, eletriptan, and rizatriptan are the first line of defense for individuals who have nerve pain as a symptom of their migraine attacks.

Antiemetics Medications like metoclopramide, chlorpromazine, and prochlorperazine along with NSAIDs can help to decrease nausea.

Ergot Alkaloids These medications like Migranal and Ergomar are not often prescribed and are for reserved individuals who do not respond to triptan or analgesics.

Preventive Medications

Preventive medications in case you have migraine attacks that can be debilitating or happen more than four times a month.

You can take these medications once a day, or every 3 months via injection. These medications are:

Antihypertensives These prescription drugs are for high blood pressure and can also attack with migraine attacks.

Beta-blockers and angiotensin receptor blockers or candesartan are some examples of antihypertensive drugs for migraine prevention.

Anti-Seizure Medications Certain anti-seizure medications or anticonvulsants can also help to prevent migraine attacks.

Antidepressants, Antidepressants like amitriptyline and venlafaxine may help to prevent migraine attacks.

Botox, Botox injections to the head and neck muscles can help every 3 months.

Calcitonin gene-related Peptide Treatment Your doctor will administer these medications via injection or through an IV and work to prevent a migraine attack from developing.

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Migraine Nausea

In most cases, you might experience nausea as a migraine symptom and also vomiting.

These symptoms may start at the same time the attack does and though they start about 1 hour after the headache pain begins.

Moreover, nausea and vomiting can be as troubling as the attack itself.

If you only have nausea, you may be able to take your usual migraine medications.

Though vomiting can prevent you’re being able to take pills or keep them in your body long enough to be absorbed.

If you have to delay taking migration medication, it is likely to become more severe.

Treating Nausea and Preventing Vomiting In case you have nausea and vomiting, your doctor may suggest medication to ease nausea: Anti-nausea or antiemetic drugs.

In such cases, these can help prevent vomiting and improve nausea.

Acupressure can also help in treating migraine nausea.

According to a study, acupressure can help reduce the intensity of migraine-associated nausea starting as soon as 30 minutes, gaining improvement over 4 hours.

Migraine Symptoms Prevention

In case your doctor diagnoses your migraine, there are a few options that can help to prevent a migraine attack.

Some may work better for you than others:

Learn the foods, smells, and situations that trigger your migraine attacks and avoid these things when possible.

Stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to both dizziness and headaches. Avoid skipping meals when possible.

prevention tips

Focus on quality sleep as a good night’s sleep is important for your overall health.

Quit smoking, and make it a priority to reduce stress in your life.

Moreover, invest time and energy in developing relaxation skills, and exercise regularly as it helps to lower stress levels.

Devices for Migraine

Many doctors do not recommend surgery for migraine, however, some medical tools have been studied and endorsed for helping to reduce migraine attacks.

It does so by decreasing or increasing nervous system activity. Currently, FDA has approved the following four Neuromodulation treatments:

Single-Pulse Transcranial magnetic Stimulator A handheld device that produces a magnetic pulse that affects electrical signaling in the brain.

Transcutaneous Vagus nerve Stimulator A device that stimulates the vagus nerve in the neck through electrical stimulation.

Transcutaneous Supraorbital Neurostimulator It is a device that simulates the supraorbital nerves with electrical stimulation.

Multi-channel Brain Neuromodulation System It is a headset that can help target multiple nerves in the head.

Make sure to talk to your doctor about the best neuromodulation treatment for you and your specific type of migraine.

Migraine in Children

Children can also have the same types of migraine as adults. Until they are older teens, they are more likely to have symptoms on both sides of the head.

Moreover, it is rare for children to have headache pain in the back of the head. And their migraine attack tends to last 2 to 72 hours.

A few migraine variants are common in children and one of the most common variants is abdominal migraine.

Abdominal Migraine Children with abdominal migraine have a stomachache instead of a headache.

Moreover, the pain can be moderate or severe and occurs in the middle of the stomach, around the belly button.

However, the pain may not be in a specific area, and the belly must feel “sore”.

Your child may also experience a headache and other symptoms are:

  • lack of appetite
  • nausea with or without vomiting
  • sensitivity to light or sound

Children who have abdominal migraines are most likely to develop more typical migraine symptoms as adults.

Migraine Attacks and Pregnancy

In case you are conceiving, the migraine attacks may improve during pregnancy.

However, they may also become worse following delivery due to sudden hormonal shifts.

Attacks during pregnancy need special attention to make sure that the cause of the attack is understood.

during pregnancy

Research is ongoing, however, a recent study indicates that women with migraine during pregnancy experience a higher rate of having:

  • preterm or early delivery
  • preeclampsia
  • a baby born with low birth weight

Certain migraine medications may not be safe during pregnancy and this can include aspirin.

If you have a migraine during pregnancy, work with your doctor to find ways to treat it that will not cause any harm to your developing baby.

Medication overuse Headache

The frequent and recurring use of migraine medication can also in some cases cause Mediation Overuse Headache or a Rebound Headache.

When determining how to deal with it, talk to your doctor about the frequency of intake of your medication intake.

Moreover, make sure to discuss alternatives to medications.

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Migraine Symptoms vs. Tension Headaches

Migraine and tension headaches are both the most common types of headaches and share some symptoms.

However, migraine is associated with many symptoms not shared by tension headaches.

Moreover, migraine and tension headaches also respond differently to the same treatment.

Both tension headaches and migraine can have mild to moderate pain, a steady ache, and pain on both sides of the head.

migranies vs. tension headaches

While only migraine can have the following symptoms:

  • moderate to severe pain
  • pounding or throbbing pain
  • an inability to do your usual activities
  • pain on one side of your head
  • nausea with or without vomiting
  • an aura
  • sensitivity to light, sound, or both

Migraine Home Remedies

Some of the following home care strategies that can help relieve migraine symptoms are:

Use flexible cold packs or masks, stay in a quiet, dark room, and sleep when necessary.

Moreover, the following supplements may help prevent migraine.

However, there is limited evidence that they work and researchers do not know much about their side effects.

These are herbal extracts like feverfew, magnesium, coenzyme 10, butterbur, and riboflavin.

Other non-drug approaches are acupuncture and neck exercises or physical therapy.

However, before trying any of these, speak with a healthcare professional. Research does not indicate any of these approaches to work.

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Final Outlook

In some cases, migraine symptoms may mimic those of stroke and thus, it is important to seek medical advice if you have one of the following:
Causes slurred speech or drooping on one side of the face, causes new leg or arm weakness, comes on suddenly and severely with no lead-in symptoms or warning, occurs with fever, neck stiffness, confusion, seizure, double vision, weakness, numbness, or difficulty speaking, has an aura where the symptoms last longer than an hour, would be “worst headache ever”, and comes along with loss of consciousness.

Moreover, if the headaches are getting in the way of your life and you are not sure whether it is a migraine symptom or not, talk with your doctor.
They can be a sign of other issues and while migraines can feel debilitating at times, there are different treatments available. The sooner you talk about your symptoms, the sooner your doctor can help to find a treatment plan that includes medication and lifestyle changes.

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