Migraine Symptoms

Thursday, November 1, 2007
Write To The Editor Reprints offers a collection of articles on migraines, including information on symptoms, causes, risk factors, when to seek medical advice, screening and diagnosis, complications, treatment, prevention, self-care and some alternative medical treatments.

These are some of the signs and symptoms the Mayo Clinic says are typical of a migraine attack:

* Moderate to severe pain, which may be confined to one side of the head or may affect both sides;

* Head pain with a pulsating or throbbing quality;

* Pain that worsens with physical activity;

* Pain that interferes with your regular activities;

* Nausea with or without vomiting; or

* Sensitivity to light and sound.

When left untreated, a migraine typically lasts from four to 72 hours, but the frequency with which headaches occur varies from person to person. You may have migraines several times a month or just once or twice a year.

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Not all migraines are the same. Most people experience migraines without auras, which were previously called common migraines. Some, however, have migraines with auras, which were previously called classic migraines.

If you're in the second group, you'll likely have an aura about 15 to 30 minutes before your headache begins. Auras may continue after your headache starts or even occur after your headache begins. When you're experiencing an aura, you may:

* See sparkling flashes of light;

* Perceive dazzling zigzag lines in your field of vision;

* Experience slowly spreading blind spots in your vision;

* Feel tingling, pins and needles sensations in one arm or leg; or

* Rarely, experience weakness or language and speech problems.

Whether or not you have auras, you may have one or more sensations of premonition (prodrome) several hours or a day or so before your headache actually strikes, including:

* Feelings of elation or intense energy;

* Cravings for sweets;

* Thirst;

* Drowsiness; or

* Irritability or depression.

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