Migraine Symptoms

While I am not a substitute for professional medical advice, I can provide you with information on common signs and symptoms associated with what I experience with migraine. If you suspect you may be experiencing migraine attacks, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis. Here are some of my common indicators of migraine. Remember that everyone is different and may or may not experience these migraine symptoms before, during, or after an attack.

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Head Pain

Migraine is typically characterized by a severe, throbbing headache, often on one side of the head. The pain can be debilitating and may interfere with daily activities. Did you know you can have a migraine attack without head pain? I didn’t for a long time either.

For me, head pain is the worst part of my attacks. Each headache is different and describing the pain is difficult. I have had head pain on both sides, one side, and ranged from mild to extremely severe.  Along with Chronic Migraine, I also have daily persistent headaches so it’s an everyday thing for me.

Avoidance:

  • Identify and avoid triggers such as specific foods, stress, lack of sleep, or hormonal changes.
  • Maintain regular sleep patterns.
  • Stay hydrated to prevent dehydration, which can contribute to headaches.

Treatment:

Sensitivity to Light (Photophobia)

Many individuals with migraine experience increased sensitivity to light. Exposure to bright lights or sunlight can worsen the headache.

Avoidance:

  • Create a dark and quiet environment during a migraine attack.
  • Wear sunglasses when exposed to bright lights.
  • Limit exposure to loud noises.

Treatment:

  • Reduce environmental stimuli by resting in a quiet, dark room.
  • Wear sunglasses to minimize light sensitivity.
  • Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to block out loud sounds.

Sensitivity to Sound (Phonophobia)

Sensitivity to noise or loud sounds is another common symptom. Even normal levels of noise may feel intolerable during a migraine. This is a conflict when doing things like working out at gyms, being a sports mom, and more.

Avoidance:

  • Create a dark and quiet environment during a migraine attack.
  • Wear sunglasses when exposed to bright lights.
  • Limit exposure to loud noises.

Treatment:

  • Reduce environmental stimuli by resting in a quiet, dark room.
  • Wear sunglasses to minimize light sensitivity.
  • Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to block out loud sounds.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are frequent accompanying symptoms of migraine. Some individuals may experience an upset stomach during an episode. Nausea while traveling with migraine is a common thing for me along with vomiting during an attack.

Avoidance:

  • Identify and avoid trigger foods that may contribute to nausea.
  • Stay hydrated to help prevent nausea.

Treatment:

  • Over-the-counter anti-nausea medications and ginger.
  • Prescription medications prescribed by a healthcare professional.
  • Rest and avoid consuming heavy or rich foods during a migraine.

Migraine Aura

Some people with migraine experience auras which are sensory disturbances that occur before or during the headache. Auras can include visual changes like flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots. Not everyone with migraine experiences auras. I, unfortunately, do and get weird phantom smells added to the visual auras I see.

Visual Disturbances

In addition to auras, migraine may cause visual disturbances during the headache, such as blurred vision. This prohibits me from reading and I avoid driving.

Avoidance:

  • Minimize exposure to known triggers.
  • Manage stress, as it can contribute to the onset of aura.

Treatment:

  • If prescribed by a healthcare professional, medications specific to managing aura symptoms.
  • Rest in a quiet, dark room until the aura passes.

Tingling or Numbness

Some individuals may experience tingling or numbness in the face or extremities during a migraine attack.

Avoidance:

  • Manage stress, as it can contribute to neurological symptoms.
  • Stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet.

Treatment:

  • Rest in a quiet, dark room.
  • If prescribed by a healthcare professional, medications to manage neurological symptoms.

Thirst and Increased Urination

Some people report increased thirst and urination during a migraine attack.

Changes in Mood or Concentration

Migraine can impact mood, leading to irritability, sadness, or difficulty concentrating.

Avoidance:

Treatment:

  • Engage in relaxation exercises.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on managing mood changes.

How Long do Migraine Symptoms Last?

The duration of migraine symptoms can vary widely among individuals and even for the same person from one migraine attack to another.

Migraine Attack Duration

A typical migraine attack can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. On average, a migraine attack lasts between 4 and 72 hours. The duration may be influenced by factors such as the individual's response to treatment, the presence of aura, and the specific triggers involved.

Aura Duration

If a person experiences an aura before or during the migraine attack, the aura symptoms typically last for 5 to 60 minutes. However, some auras can persist for longer periods in certain cases.

Prodrome and Postdrome Phases

Migraine is often divided into phases, including the prodrome (premonitory symptoms that can precede the attack), the aura (if present), the attack phase, and the postdrome (recovery) phase. The duration of these phases can vary, with the attack phase being the most notable and variable.

How Do Migraine Symptoms Vary?

Each person's experience with migraine is unique. Factors such as the presence of triggers, stress levels, hormonal changes, and how quickly a person seeks and responds to treatment can all influence the duration and intensity of migraine symptoms. The frequency of migraine attacks also varies. Some individuals may experience migraine attacks episodically, while others may have them more frequently. Chronic migraine is defined as occurring on 15 or more days per month for at least three months, with at least eight of those days being migrainous.

It's important to note that not everyone with migraine experiences all of these symptoms. The severity and combination of symptoms can vary. If you suspect you have migraine, it is recommended to seek medical advice. A healthcare professional can help diagnose your condition, rule out other potential causes, and develop a personalized treatment plan based on your symptoms and medical history.

How Do I Deal With Migraine Symptoms?

Dealing with migraine symptoms involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments, self-care strategies, and, in some cases, medical interventions. Here are some tips to help manage and alleviate migraine symptoms:

Identify Triggers

Keep a migraine diary to track potential triggers such as certain foods, lack of sleep, stress, hormonal changes, or environmental factors. Identifying and avoiding triggers can be a crucial step in managing migraine.

Regular Sleep Patterns

Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns can trigger migraine in some individuals.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can contribute to headaches. Ensure you stay well-hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day.

Healthy Diet

Eat regular, balanced meals and avoid skipping meals. Certain foods may trigger migraine in some individuals, so pay attention to your diet and identify potential triggers. I [particularly love the Dizzy Cook.

Manage Stress

Practice stress-reducing techniques such as relaxation exercises, mindfulness, deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Chronic stress can be a significant trigger for migraine.

Limit Caffeine Intake

While some people find relief from migraine with caffeine, excessive consumption or abrupt withdrawal can trigger headaches. Maintain a moderate and consistent caffeine intake. I love coffee! It is a necessity for me in the mornings.

Regular Exercise

I engage in regular physical activity, as it can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. However, intense exercise during a migraine may exacerbate symptoms for some individuals, so choose activities that work for you. Check out my experiences with my gym and triggers.

Cool Compress

I love ice! My favorite is the Headache Hat. This can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Some people prefer heat instead. But I do both.

Dark and Quiet Environment

Create a calm and dark environment to minimize sensory stimulation. Light and noise sensitivity are common during migraine attacks.

Over-the-Counter Pain Medications

Non-prescription pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen may help alleviate mild to moderate migraine pain. Follow the recommended dosage guidelines and consult with a healthcare professional if needed. Medication overuse headaches can occur.

Prescription Medications

If your migraine is severe or frequent, your healthcare provider may prescribe specific medications, such as triptans, preventive medications, or other treatments tailored to your needs.

Nurtec and Aimovig are CGRP medications I've tried.

Stay Consistent with Medications

If you are prescribed medications for migraine, take them as directed by your healthcare provider, even during symptom-free periods, to help prevent future attacks.

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