Your Guide to Migraine Headaches
What Are the Symptoms of Migraines?
You can have a mix of migraine symptoms. Common ones include:
- A headache that often begins as a dull ache and grows into throbbing pain. It usually gets worse during physical activity. The pain can shift from one side of the head to the other, can be in the front of the head, or feel like it's affecting the whole head.
- Sensitivity to light, noise, and smells
Nausea and vomiting, upset stomach, and belly pain
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling very warm or cold
- Pale skin
- Blurred vision
- Fever (this is rare)
Most migraines last about 4 hours, but severe ones can last up to a week. How often they happen differs for everyone, but it’s common to get two to four headaches per month. Some people may get migraines every few days, while others get them once or twice a year.
Types of Migraines
The terms for two types of migraines refer to the symptoms that signal when one is about to start, called an aura.
An aura can start 1 hour before the pain and last from 15 minutes to 1 hour. Visual auras include:
- Bright flashing dots or lights
- Blind spots
- Blurry vision
- Temporary vision loss
- Wavy or jagged lines
Other auras can affect your other senses. You might just have a "funny feeling" and not be able to describe the sensation. You could also have ringing in the ears or changes in smell (such as strange odors), taste, or touch.
Rare migraine conditions include these types of auras:
. A short period of paralysis (hemiplegia) or nerve changes on one side of the body, such as muscle weakness. You might also feel temporary numbness, dizziness, or vision changes. If you get these symptoms, it’s important to know how to tell them apart from the signs of a stroke, which can seem similar.
Retinal migraine. Short-lived, partial, or complete loss of vision in one eye, along with a dull ache behind the eye, which may spread to the rest of the head.