Migraine Headache FAQs (cont.)
What are the symptoms of migraine headaches?
Symptoms are different for different people and are sometimes different from migraine to migraine. The following 5 phases have been noted:
- Prodrome (a period of warning symptoms): Many symptoms can precede a migraine headache. These include changes in mood (happiness, irritability, sadness) or sensation (funny tastes or smells). Many people experience fatigue and muscle tension before a migraine headache.
- Visual or auditory disturbances (auras): Some people develop scotomas (blind spots), see geometric patterns, experience hemianopsia (vision on onlyone side), or, less commonly,have auditory (hearing) hallucinations.
- Headache: Although migraine pain usually appears on one side of the head, 30-40% of migraineurs have them on both sides. Throbbing pain may occur. Over 80% of migraineurs feel nauseated, and many vomit. About 70% of people become photophobic (sensitive to light) and phonophobic (sensitive to sound). This phase may last 4-72 hours.
- Headache termination: Even if untreated, the pain usually goes away with sleep.
- Postdrome: Migraineurs may not feel well for some time after the migraine stops. They might not be able to eat right away. Problems with thinking and tiredness are common.
Joseph Carcione Jr, DO, MBA
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
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