Symptoms of Migraine

Symptoms of Migraine
Symptoms of Migraine

Migraines and Other Headaches

There are many different types of headaches and each one is typically treated differently. This makes understanding the symptoms of migraines and other headache types important in getting the most appropriate treatment quicker. Many people mistakenly say they have a migraine anytime they have a headache; however, a true migraine has its own specific set of symptoms and is different from other types of headache. The information presented below is designed to help differentiate the different types of headaches based on their symptoms. The one thing notable about all headaches and the common theme is that they all are painful.

Types of Headaches

There are many different types of headaches that a person can suffer with and some people suffer from more than one type. The main types are:
  • Migraine
  • Cluster Headaches
  • Tension Headaches
  • Sinus Headaches

The symptoms of each of these are explained below.


Migraine symptoms vary from attack to attack and from person to person. Additionally, there are different symptoms for each phase of a migraine. It can be very helpful to know the symptoms associated with each phase.

Prodrome: This is the phase just prior to a migraine attack. The symptoms include:
Mood changes – these changes can be feeling elated, sad or even irritated.
  • Sensory Changes: Slight alterations in taste or smell.
  • Muscle tiredness and general fatigue.
  • Constipation
  • Appetite changes

These symptoms typically occur one to two days prior to the aura phase.

Aura Phase: This is a phase that not all migraine sufferers will go through but is very common in migraine attacks. It is a visual occurrence that comes just prior to the migraine.
  • Scotomoas or blind spots in the eyes
  • Flashing or patterns in the eyes
  • Loss of eyesight in one eye
  • The appearance of colorful lights in the eye
  • Speech or communication problems.
  • Sensations of pins and needles in the arms and legs.

Symptoms during the aura phase may last for a few minutes each up to about thirty minutes.

Headache Phase: This is when the actual headache occurs. The pain is typically asymmetrical or appears on one side of the head. There are some people who have headaches on both sides. Other symptoms of the headache phase include:
  • Nauseau
  • Vomiting
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sound sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness or even fainting

The headache phase may be a long and painful phase with some lasing up to three days while others may last less than six.

Headache End or Termination: This is the end of the headache and will often occur even if not treated after the body relaxes and sleeps.

These are the typical symptoms reported by people with migraine headaches; however, not every migraine will have all of the symptoms or all of the phases.

Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are a mild to moderately painful headache that usually is focused on the front, sides of top of the head. The pain in a tension headache usually builds as the headache lingers. Tension headaches may be short-lived, lasting thirty minutes or they may continue for several days. Other symptoms of tension headaches include:
  • Sleep difficulty such as problems falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Chronic fatigue and lethargy
  • Headaches that appear shortly after waking up
  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Muscle aches

Tension headaches can be the result of stress or being overworked and can usually be treated with mild pain relievers.

Cluster Headaches

These headaches are often described as an extreme pain that is behind one eye and burns or pierces. These headaches can be very short in nature and yet occur multiple times in one day. Some people have 15 minute cluster headaches and yet they have them three or more times daily. Cluster headaches are typically regular and occur about the same time on a daily basis.

Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches can be very painful with the pain located in the forehead area, the bridge of the nose, the cheekbone area and the eye area. These headaches are a result of the sinuses being irritated or infected. Pain from a sinus headache is typically exacerbated with movement of the head. Other symptoms often seen are nasal congestion or drainage, ear aches, swelling in the eye area and possibly a fever.

Having an understanding of the different symptoms associated with each type of headache makes it somewhat simpler to determine when a doctor should be consulted. For example, many sinus headaches can be treated with antihistamines that are available over the counter; however, cluster headaches and migraines that are causing loss of enjoyment of life need to be addressed by a doctor.

If the symptoms presented here become extreme or the headache that occurs is very sudden and accompanied by loud noises or ringing in the ears, a doctor should be consulted immediately. Knowing the body and how it reacts when stress and other factors are introduced will help identify the symptoms and find a treatment option quicker.

Next Page : Home Remedies for Migraines