Which are the symptoms of migraine headaches?
Migraine is the chronic condition having recurrent attacks. Most (although not all) migraine attacks are connected with headaches.
- Migraine headaches are often described as a powerful, throbbing or pounding pain which involves one temple. (Sometimes the pain is found in the forehead, around the eyes, or at the rear of the scalp).
- The pain normally is unilateral (one side of the top), although about a third of times the pain is actually bilateral (about both sides on the head).
- The unilateral severe headaches typically change sides from 1 attack to the next one. (In reality, unilateral headaches which always occur on a single side should alert any physician to consider a secondary headache, for example, one caused by way of a brain tumor).
- A migraine headache usually is aggravated by day to day activities such as walking upstairs.
- Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, cold hands, facial pallor, cold feet, and sensitivity to light and noise commonly accompany migraine headaches. As a consequence of this sensitivity to light and noise, migraine sufferers usually choose to lie in some sort of quiet, dark room throughout an attack. A typical episode lasts between four and 72 hrs.
An estimated 40%-60% of migraine attacks tend to be preceded by premonitory (alert) symptoms sustained hours to days to weeks. The symptoms can sometimes include:
- depression or excitement,
- yawning, and
- cravings for sweet or salty meals.
Patients and their loved ones usually know that after they observe these types of warning symptoms that the migraine attack is actually beginning.
An estimated 20% of migraine headaches are associated with the aura. Usually, the aura precedes the actual headache, although occasionally it might occur simultaneously with the headache. The most frequent auras are:
flashing, brightly colored lights within a zigzag pattern (known as fortification spectra), usually starting in the center of the visual area and progressing to the outside; and
a hole (scotoma) within the visual field, also known to be a blind spot.
Some elderly migraine victims may experience just the visual aura with no headache. A less common aura is made of pins-and-needles sensations within the hand and the arm on a single side of your body or pins-and-needles sensations across the mouth and the nose on a single side. Other auras consist of auditory (hearing) hallucinations as well as abnormal tastes and also smells.
For approximately twenty four hours after a migraine episode, the migraine victim may feel drained of energy and may encounter a low-grade headache together with sensitivity to light and sound. Unfortunately, some sufferers often have recurrences of the headache during this time period.