Migraine headaches are well known for their symptoms, partially because of the intense pain that is experienced on one or both sides of the head. But, migraine symptoms other than head pain may be experienced as well. And typically, a migraine presents some tell tale signs. We'll examine both the warning signs and migraine symptoms themselves.
Signs of a migraine
Before a migraine, people may experience changes hours or days before the headache itself. These warning signs are called "prodromes". People who regularly suffer from migraines can use prodromes to self-assess the likelihood of the onset of a migraine.
Symptoms of a migraine
Different types of migraines produce different types of symptoms. However, there are still common symptoms for migraines. Migraine headaches and their symptoms, may last from a few hours to several days. Whereas some people experience migraines only once a year, others may experience migraines several times a month. The common symptoms of a migraine include:
A classic migraine headache is accompanied by additional neurological symptoms. These neurological symptoms precede the migraine headache by approximately 15 to 30 minutes. They include the experiencing of an 'aura,' such as seeing flashes of lights, seeing crooked lines, having blind spots that spread slowly, feeling sensations such as tingling in a leg or arm, etc.
In contrast to classic migraines, common migraines do not feature such neurological symptoms. However, common migraine symptoms may include these other symptoms:
Migraine symptoms for children
Children may experience different symptoms, for example migraines that last for less time. While adults may experience pain on one or both sides of the head, children usually experience it on both sides. When a child has all the symptoms of a migraine (sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, vomiting, etc.), but no headache itself, then this may be an 'abdominal migraine.'
When to seek help
If you are experiencing migraine symptoms, you should see your doctor to establish a diagnosis and begin treatment. However, if you are experiencing a severe headache that accompanies a head injury; or that accompanies numbness, fever, seizures, difficulty in speaking; or a headache with no warning signs and feels severe, seek emergency help immediately, as you may have a headache that is a symptom of a more serious issue. For more information on how your doctor will make a diagnosis of different types of migraines, read the Diagnosing Migraine section that follows.
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