7 Signs Youre having a migraine

November 12, 2012

7 Signs Youre having a migraine

When is a headache a migraine? You can learn to identify when you are having a migraine and help get faster treatment.

Migraine is a very personal thing. Every migraine sufferer knows the little differences which mean that the oncoming headache is not going to be an ordinary one. The early symptoms and indications which are unique to you at the onset of the migraine should be paid attention to. These early stages and indications are the areas that can help you to deal with and perhaps minimize the effects of your migraine.

The warning signs are different for everyone but some are more common than others, for example a feeling of nausea or vision becoming impaired. Robert Cowan, MD, is a neurologist and clinical professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and his advice is to “pay attention to your environment and see what triggers the headaches.”

If you can identify the early symptoms of migraine, these signs are called prodromes, then you have time to start your migraine treatment strategy, according to Cowan. He also points out that some early warnings can take place two or three days before the onset of the migraine.

Some of the common early signs of an impending migraine attack are:

Blurred Vision and Aura

These two warnings affect the eyes and vision and can be experienced together or separately. Blurred vision can be caused by either the sparkling visual feelings that can be an element of the aura phase of a migraine or it just comes with the migraine pain itself. The symptoms of aura are not very common but when migraine sufferers experience the symptoms then they experience blurred vision, usually without any pain though. Some other neurological changes can also occur. The vision and brain changes are believed to happen because the blood flow to the brain changes in some way.

The feeling of aura manifests itself by making the sufferer see spots or starry lights, produces blurred vision and some sufferers experience tunnel vision. It is normal for these effects to start about one hour before the migraine occurs and they will disappear just at the time the migraine comes on.

Research has found that women who are premenopausal also have a higher risk of stroke if they experience aura before a migraine. So it’s vital that these women are aware of the risks, as Doctor Cowan explains, “We advise women to not smoke or take birth control pills or do anything that would increase their heart disease risk”.

Nausea and Sickness

Nausea is very common with migraine sufferers. In fact it has led some experts to state, “If you have headache without nausea, you don’t have migraine”. They state that nausea is part of migraine’s definition. The feeling of sickness may cause your appetite to disappear and depending on the severity of the feelings vomiting or diarrhea may occur. However many people have milder symptoms and only feel a bit queasy.

Acute pain in one area

Headaches which are classed as tension headaches or what most people call a normal headache generally cause a larger area of the head to be sore. It is more of an even pain. With migraines it is common to have a very severe pain in one area or in one side of the head only. If the pain is extreme and debilitating and in one area or one side of your head then you are having a migraine attack. A migraine normally leaves the sufferer only one option, that is lie down, preferably in a darkened room. Any sort of activity will increase the level of pain such that daily activities become just too painful.


Some people have identified that excessive yawning indicates that a migraine is coming on. The yawning can happen as early as two or three days before the attack. However it does give the person time to start taking any medicines used to bate down the severity of the attack. Experts tell us that other early indications which may or may not accompany excessive yawning could be a feeling of tiredness, a change in personality, becoming slow in your thinking or befuddled or cravings for other types of food.

Migraine sufferers become hyper sensitive to light and noise

Those who suffer from migraines report that their sensitivity to light and sound becomes acute to the point where bright lights or gentle sounds become painful. It is now being understood that sometimes the trigger for a migraine can be light or sound or a particular smell.

It seems that migraine sufferers may have overactive brain stems, according to recent research. This area of the brain is responsible for identifying whether something stimulating the brain is painful.

Strange sensations

The skin can have many different feelings associated with migraine. The most common sensations reported by migraine sufferers are, tingling in hands and feet, numbness which can manifest itself in the arms, legs or face and a feeling of ‘needles and pins’ almost anywhere on the body.

These symptoms come as part of the migraine but can also be felt if the person is at the aura stage. Although not dangerous these sensations can cause alarm in the patient and the increased stress and anxiety generated does not help the migraine. Once the patient understands how the migraine can appear then the anxiety and stress can be reduced because it is understood to be a normal phase of the migraine.

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