Migraine: Know if your headache is a migraine?

What is Migraine?

Migraine is a neurological disorder that can cause multiple symptoms in addition to being the cause of a “bad headache.”

A severe, debilitating headache is often characteristic, but additional symptoms include:



difficult to speak

Numbness or tingling

sensitive to light and sound

How does migraine feel?

People describe pain as:





It may also feel like a heavy, dull, constant pain. Pain may start out mild. However, without treatment, it can become moderate to severe.

Migraine pain most commonly affects the forehead area. It is usually on one side of the head, but can occur or move to either side.

Time duration

Most attacks last about four hours. They may last from 72 hours to 1 week if left untreated or does not respond to treatment. In migraine with aura, the pain overlaps with the aura or does not occur at all.

Various phases and symptoms

migraine phases

Migraines are different for each person. For many, this happens gradually. These phases include:


In the hours or days before a headache, approximately 60% of migraine sufferers notice symptoms such as:

1.Changes in appetite

2.Light and sound sensitivity


4.Mood Swings

5.Severe Thirst


These symptoms originate in the nervous system and often affect vision. It usually starts gradually over 5 to 20 minutes and takes less than an hour. you can:

1.See black dots, wavy lines, flashes of light, or things that aren’t there (hallucinations).

2.Not able to see at all.

3.Having numbness in one side of your body.

4.Not be able to speak clearly.

5.Have a heavy feeling in your arms and legs.

6.Have ringing in your ears.


Migraine headaches often begin with dull pain and progress to throbbing pain. It is usually aggravated by physical activity. The pain may radiate from one side of the head to the other, be in the front of the head, or feel like it affects the entire head.

About 80% of people experience nausea with headaches and about half vomiting. They may also turn pale, sticky, or faint.

Migraine Causes


Researchers have not identified a definitive cause of migraines. But they still attribute it to “abnormal” brain activity affecting nerve signals, chemicals, and blood vessels in the brain.

Bright light

Extreme heat or other extreme weather


change in barometric pressure

Personal hormonal changes resulting from childbirth in women, such as estrogen and progesterone fluctuations during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause

excessive stress

Loud sound

Migraine types

There are several types of migraine. The most common are with aura (also called classic migraine) and  without aura (or common migraine).

Other Common Types include:

Menstrual Migraine

This is when headaches are associated with your period. These usually appear two days before your period starts and last three days after that. Premenstrual and postmenstrual migraines usually do not have an aura, although other types of migraines may occur at other times of the month.

Silent Migraine

This type is also known as cranial migraine. There are aura symptoms without a headache. In fact, the aura is usually the main warning sign for this type . However, nausea and other symptoms may also occur. It usually takes about 20-30 minutes.

Vestibular Migraine

There are balance problems, dizziness, nausea and vomiting with or without headaches. This type usually occurs in people who suffer from motion sickness.

Abdominal Migraine

Experts do not know much about this type. It causes stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. It is common in children and can turn into a classic migraine over time.

Migraine treatment

Treatment aims to stop symptoms and prevent future attacks.

Many drugs have been developed to treat the condition. Medications used to combat migraine fall broadly into two categories.

Analgesics. Also known as acute or abortive therapy, these types of medications are taken during a migraine attack and are designed to stop symptoms.

Preventive medicine. These types of drugs are taken regularly, often daily, to reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.

Treatment options depend on the frequency and severity of the headache, whether nausea and vomiting accompany the headache, how severe the headache is, and other medical conditions.

Home Remedies for migraine

There are some things you can try at home that may also help with pain.

Lie down in a quiet darkroom.

Massage the scalp and temples.

Place a cold towel on your forehead or the back of your neck.

Bottom Line

If your headache is interfering with your daily life and you are unsure whether it is a migraine symptom, it is important to see your doctor. Headaches can be a symptom of other problems, and can feel debilitating at times, but there are many treatment options.

The sooner you start talking about your symptoms, the sooner your doctor can develop a treatment plan that includes medications and lifestyle changes.


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