Migraine - Symptoms

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What migraine headache symptoms do you experience?

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What are the signs and symptoms of migraines?

The International Headache Society defines episodic migraine as being unilateral (although often bilateral), pulsing pain with moderate to severe intensity, which is aggravated by physical activity, and is associated with nausea and/or vomiting, as well as photophobia and/or phonophobia (sensitivity to light and sound). A migraine headache typically lasts for several hours up to several days.

In comparison, a tension headache is described as being bilateral pressure or tightness that is not pulsating. While severity can be mild to moderate, the headache is not disabling and there is no worsening of the pain with routine physical activity. There is usually no associated nausea, vomiting, photophobia, or phonophobia.

There are no specific physical findings for patients who are experiencing a routine migraine headache. If an abnormality is identified on physical examination, the health care professional should be suspicious of another cause for the headache.

Return to Migraine Headache

See what others are saying

Comment from: Subbersam, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I have always had headaches, but when they started lasting for hours and even days despite the use of double doses of OTC pain relievers I knew it was time to see a professional. My first real bad one was the most memorable. I remember turning to a flickering light and flinching because I thought something was flying towards my face, but there was nothing there. When a co-worker saw me flinch he asked me what was wrong. I remember being scared when I turned to look at him and I could literally see the sound waves resonating from his face. I tried to stand up for some reason, I was disoriented and I thought my blood sugar had dropped severely so I made my way to the fridge for a Coke. I was crazy thirsty. The phone rang and about knocked me over as it echoed in my head. I excused myself from work and as I drove to the hospital I became suddenly ill. I pulled over and the vomit was yellow and slimy. When I got there I had to place a coat over my head because the light felt like it went straight through my pupils and directly into my brain like a laser. I don"t know if I fell asleep or passed out but at some point I was woken up by a doctor and two nurses and my head was still pounding. I began shifting back and forth as I sat there listening, like if I sat still it hurt more. I ended up getting a shot and a prescription for some stuff that was supposed to help. There were absolutely no narcotics given to me, but the relief of it all when it was over was practically euphoric. In later incidences I mostly recall a lot of pacing; the ability to stay still is lost in these cases. I also experience nausea, sensitivity to light and sound.

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