13 Migraine Symptoms to be Aware of

Migraine Symptoms to be Aware of

Migraine Symptoms

I’ve been a migraine sufferer for 20 years now. I’ve discovered that after 20 years, there is still so much that I don’t know.

For example, did not you know that yawning can signify that you’re about to have a migraine?

Or that food cravings can occur before a migraine?

I didn’t – but it all makes sense. All these years and all these little idiosyncrasies that I just accepted about myself, and they may possibly be attributed to my migraines.

Friends – my mind is blown! Let me share with you a little bit of what I’ve learned.

Migraine Stages

Migraines are divided into four stages – each of which has its own separate symptoms. If you’re like me, you thought a migraine was just a migraine. Or an aura with a migraine, if you’re one of those individuals who have an aura.

However, that is not the case!

The four stages of migraines are as follows:

  1. Prodrome stage, also known as the premonitory stage. This stage can begin one hour to two days before a migraine starts. Common symptoms during the prodrome phase include:
    • Cravings for sugary foods
    • Thirst
    • Mood changes, especially anxiety and depression
    • Frequent yawning
    • Irritability
    • Constipation
    • Tight and/or sore neck
  2. Aura stage typically occurs shortly before a migraine. This stage does not happen for every person with a migraine – in fact, the aura stage occurs in approximately 30 percent of people with a migraine. An aura is typically a visual disturbance that lasts for 20 to 60 minutes. Common symptoms during the aura stage include:
    • Ringing in the ears
    • Speech problems or an inability to speak
    • Seeing bright spots, flashes of light, vision loss, or seeing dark spots
    • Tingling sensations in an arm or leg
  3. Main attack stage is when the migraine occurs. The migraine lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. This is the stage that we’re most familiar with – because we, as migraine sufferers live here and spend most of our time here. Common symptoms during the main attack stage include:
    • Pulsating or throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head
    • Extreme sensitivity to sounds, smells, or lights
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Pain that worsens with activity
    • Loss of appetite
    • Lightheadedness
    • Fainting
    • Blurred vision
  4. Postdrome stage, or recovery stage, occurs after the migraine ceases. This is when we begin to feel drained and tired.

13 Migraine Symptoms

Now that we know the stages of migraines, we can discuss migraine symptoms in greater detail. We’ll generally discuss symptoms that can occur with migraines in general, but we will go into greater detail regarding symptoms that can signify a migraine is approaching – the prodrome stage.

Mood Changes

Mood changes can signify that a migraine is approaching. This can mean any mood swing – depression, irritability, or sudden excitement.

In fact, there is likely a link between the severity between the severity of depression and the severity of migraines. Data was presented at the American Academy of Neurology 2010 annual meeting that suggested that people with moderate to severe depression were more likely to have episodic migraines that became chronic.

Not only that, but there also may be a genetic link between depression and migraines – especially if the migraine sufferer has an aura.

Stuffy Nose and Watery Eyes

In a study funded by GlaxoSmithKline, a maker of migraine medication, it was found that many people complained of a sinus headache – and upwards of 90 percent of those people were actually experiencing a migraine.

Migraines can manifest in strange ways, such as clear nasal drainage, droopy eyes, a stuffy nose, and tearing.

Food Cravings

Have you ever craved food and given in, only to suffer from a migraine a short time later?

Well, a strong urge for food may be a symptom of the prodrome.

A 2003 study that spanned the US, UK, and Denmark evaluated migraineurs by asking them to keep a three-month migraine journal using a hand-held electronic device to record their symptoms. The participants logged that food cravings occurred in:

  • Two percent before an attack
  • One percent during an attack
  • One percent after an attack

A 2001 study evaluated who cravings occurred to – migraineurs with aura, or migraineurs without. The study found that food cravings occurred in:

  • Eight percent of people who had migraines with aura.
  • Eighteen percent of people who had migraines with and without aura.
  • Five percent of people who had migraines without aura.

What both research studies found is that food cravings can occur in any stage of migraines and that anyone with migraines can have food cravings, but that people with a migraine with aura or more likely.

Next page: More migraine symptoms including yawning, neck pain, trouble speaking and more. 

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