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What Happens During a Migraine?

Migraine Headache Symptoms

Symptoms vary from person to person and from migraine to migraine. Five phases can often be identified:
 

  • Prodrome: A variety of warnings can come before a migraine. These may consist of a change in mood (for example, feeling "high," irritable, or depressed) or a subtle change of sensation (for example, a funny taste or smell). Fatigue and muscle tension are also common.
  • Aura: This is commonly a visual disturbance that precedes the headache phase. Some migraine sufferers develop blind spots (called scotomas); see geometric patterns or flashing, colorful lights; or lose vision on one side (hemianopsia).
  • Headache: Although migraine pain usually appears on one side of the head, 30%-40% of migraines occur on both sides. Throbbing pain may be present. More than 80% of migraineurs feel nauseated, and some vomit. About 70% become sensitive to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia). This phase may last 4-72 hours.
  • Headache termination: Even if untreated, the pain usually goes away with sleep.
  • Postdrome: Other signs of the migraine (for example, inability to eat, problems with concentration, or fatigue) may linger after the pain has disappeared.

 

Recommended Related to Migraines/Headaches

Ocular Migraine Symptoms and Diagnosis

In 50% of cases, ocular migraines cause temporary but complete vision loss in one eye. In the other half of cases, ocular migraines can cause vision disturbances such as: Blurring Partial vision loss Scotomas, or a blank spots in your vision Dimming Flashes of light Ocular migraines are usually brief, lasting less than five minutes. However, they can last up to 30 minutes. Forty-one percent of people have a headache during the vision loss. Twenty-five percent have it before or...

Read the Ocular Migraine Symptoms and Diagnosis article > >

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on April 19, 2012
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