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The Many Symptoms of Migraine

Is it just a coincidence that you feel foggy-headed, have to pee a lot and always have dark black circles under your eyes every time you have a migraine? Nope. Throbbing head pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and weird visual effects are the most discussed symptoms of migraine, but the list is far from comprehensive.

Migraine: The Complete Guide, my very favorite headache book, lists the infrequently discussed symptoms of migraine. I was astonished the first time I saw this list — and relieved to know that I wasn’t a freak of nature. Take a look for yourself:

Prodrome (the period before the pain begins)

Visual (aka aura)

  • a bright shape that spreads across the visual field of one eye and appears to block some or all of the vision; can be seen whether the eye is open or closed
  • flashes of light and color
  • wavy lines
  • geometric patterns
  • blurred vision
  • partial loss of sight


  • numbness or tingling on the face or upper extremities
  • a sense that limbs are a distorted shape or size
  • smelling odors that aren’t actually present (like natural gas or something burning)


  • partial paralysis
  • weakness or heaviness in the limbs on one side of the body


  • difficulty finding words
  • problems understanding spoken or written language


  • mental confusion
  • disorientation
  • transient global amnesia (similar to amnesia that follows a concussion)


  • food cravings (particularly for carbohydrates, candy and chocolate)
  • stomach rumblings
  • constipation

Fluid disturbances

  • increased thirst
  • bloating/fluid retention
  • frequent urination


  • mood changes
  • irritability
  • high energy
  • lethargy

Headache Phase


  • sensitivity to light and noise
  • intolerance of being touched
  • heightened sensitivity to odors


  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • intolerance of food odors
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • constipation


  • paleness
  • cold, clammy hands and feet
  • facial swelling
  • goose bumps
  • bloodshot eyes
  • black circles around eyes
  • sweating

Fluid disturbances

  • water retention
  • frequent urination


  • frequent yawning
  • sighing
  • hyperventilating
  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose


  • irritability
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • nervousness
  • difficulty concentrating


  • changes in blood chemistry
  • changes in blood pressure
  • blood vessel dilation
  • difficulty regulating temperature
  • changes in heart rhythms

Postdrome (24 hour following headache)


  • inability to concentrate


  • frequent yawning


  • fatigue
  • depression
  • euphoria
  • feeling of intense well-being
  • lethargy

So you’re not crazy, losing your mind or faking it!

This information is much like that in Not Just a Headache: Migraine’s Other Symptoms, which I posted last December. It’s such an important topic and receives so little attention that I wanted to revisit it.

By the way, Migraine: The Complete Guide is published by the American Council for Headache Education and is a terrific resource for anyone who wants to learn about migraine. It was published in 1994, but the information is so good that its worth getting. And if you buy it through the links in this post, a portion of what you spend will help support this blog.

66 thoughts on “The Many Symptoms of Migraine”

  1. Hello I am so shocked I came across this wow. Started with dizziness then headaches that last 4 to 7 day or more. I have been suicidal due to this and I been so scared that there is something wrong with me. I would appreciate you contacting me because I am still in doubt that migraines can do this to you it’s now a constant panic attack the fear then the pain then the dizziness then the runny nose it’s so hard

    1. Hi Charlotte, I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time right now. My best advice is to talk to your doctor about your symptoms to make sure you have an accurate diagnosis and the medications you can take. There are some great migraine treatments now available. If you can see a headache specialist, that would be ideal. They know more about migraine than most doctors do and have more tricks up their sleeve for treatment. The dizziness could be an indication of vestibular migraine, which is a variant of migraine. A headache specialist would be very helpful for that diagnosis. Please hang in there. There are many treatment options for migraine and there are providers who truly understand what it’s like to have migraine, which can be a huge help.

      Take care,

    2. I hope you’re feeling better by now. A lot of what you described can be related to other things so get those ruled out first. I see a fantastic neurologist for my migraines and, because I have so many comorbidities that require many medications that do not mix with most migraine meds, I was quickly approved for Botox. I’m on my 3rd treatment since my migraines got extra nasty at the end of 2020 and it has really helped.
      I know this is super hard. It really sucks to go through so much. On top of this I have POTS, another really difficult and misunderstood disease to treat. I definitely understand the anxiety this is causing you. The weird feelings are just not easy to deal with and triggers seem like they are everywhere. When my housekeeper came by two weeks ago, she used too much bleach and I found yet another migraine trigger :-/ I’ve been struggling with nauseating dizziness since and that’s not my normal type of attack. But my neurologist assured me it’s very common for others. I also had my Otolaryngologist look at me in case it was related to my ears (it wasn’t).
      Hydrate, be good to yourself, eat small meals (when you can), and enjoy the small things. And don’t hesitate to get second opinions if you can. It took five cardiologists to diagnose me with POTS and several specialists to find one who figured out this was migraines. You’d think the pain specialist would have known… Anyway, good luck and be well!

      Feel better <3

  2. Mostly feeling hopeless and missed off all the time. Lost all faith in doctors. Just my sense of humer, but thinking more and more about a crash course of flying or lead poisoning?? Not so funny huh.

  3. Added to this has been true disability. And so, no real doctor care because of lack of quality insurance. In another word, medicade.

  4. I also believe after a lifetime of all this is bad caused secondary bone disease and malnutrition
    This is at least gone back 4 generations now for me.

  5. Doctors have been labeling me crazy for 30 years . Don’t feel engine like i can even bring up 1\2 of this stuff. I no recognise most of theas e symptoms. Have for years. Any suggestions?

  6. I get the Aura symptoms without the pain. The symptoms for me increase as the weather gets colder. It got especially scary when I lost vision in both eyes completely for about two hours!

    Migraines run in my family, so I suspected what was causing the roller- coaster feelings and vision problems and many other symptoms listed above.
    I finally was able to see a doctor about it all recently and once I completed an MRI to rule out other possible causes (because you should always check with your doctor first), it was a pretty simple diagnosis. But they still suck.

  7. I have suffered from migraine for around 25yrs I used to take triptans and a preventative every day to allow me to function. 5yrs ago I got taken yo hospital with a heart attack but on investigation it turned out to be Long QT syndrome triggered by the triptans. Since then things have been a downward spiral. I have chronic Migraine with Aura and no meds. I cannot shop in shopping centres and go places with bright lights. Shiny floors also affect me and I have fell a few times, even going to see Neurologist triggers a migraine as hospital lighting is brutal. I have had another few heart spasms which cardiologists cant explain as my heart is supposedly healthy. I was given a GTN spray which i hate using as they cause headaches. I found the list above enlightening as there are things on it that I have experienced but never put down to migraine. Is it possible to get Aura symptoms without pain sometimes. Thank you.

    1. I don’t know why my neurologist, who is otherwise incredible, looked at my med list and said “triptans will be fine for this patient.” QT Prolongation is something one of my meds can already cause and I can’t tell you how many doctors will look at your latest EKG and tell you that it shows no risk. The risks outweigh the benefits in almost all of these cases when mixing meds that increase your chance of QTP. I had a doctor suggest a medication to help me digest food and it had the risk of QTP. But I took it because I was barely able to eat and it went really badly. The doctor who manages almost all of my other meds had no idea what was wrong with him. I always research interactions and ask my pharmacist if I’m unsure now. I mean, I have POTS. Why give someone with a heart condition something like that?

      Yes, it is possible to get auras with no pain. It’s also possible to have migraines with no pain and migraine “hangovers” WITH pain. They’re fickle things.

  8. I have severe chronic migraines and have for a very long time – almost 20 years. The pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, unable to form a sentence – and when I do its seems that I gained the ability to speak backwards or rename items with new names. I also experience some form of memory loss with the severity of the migraine. I too cannot take certain medications due to the caffeine, but still make sure to take my medications, eat properly, I am beginning acupuncture, and recently got the daith piercing in my ear. The daith piercing has helped as the piercing pain has subsided, but I just would like one day without any pain. I have a headache in some degree each day, some just get worse than others and go into full migraine mode. Where is the magic wand – please …..

  9. I dont knw whthr its a migrine or nt..but some times in my mind some past occasions came and follows severe headche……what it is….pls gv me a suggstion..

  10. I remember my first migraine. I was 13, sitting in math class, and the lights in the classroom were killing me, my ears were ringing, and I could hardly see. That was decades ago, but my migraines haven’t changed much except that they are more frequent and mostly non-painful (but being functionally blind incapacitates me as much as the pain).

    I’m glad you included all these symptoms, because things like nominal aphasia were mentally lumped as part of the migraine sensation for me and very hard to pick out one by one when talking to doctors. Weirdly, one of my major triggers is vitamin D, which gave me a massive 3-day migraine when supplementing as directed by my doctor (I have a vitamin d deficiency). Another big trigger is caffeine, which caused my doctors to not believe me when I was a teenager since it’s supposed to be a treatment for migraines.

    Unfortunately, a lot of doctors treat young patients and women this way instead of actually investigating what’s happening and respecting the fact that medicine contains limited knowledge, is expanding, and is an evolving science, especially with disorders like migraines.

  11. This has given me some helpful info always had migraine but lately really depressed by nausea sleeping and migraine fibromylagia mentioned is this in the mind. Thanks for the help m m

  12. Dr’s have run all test & can’t find the cause. I’m not suicideable but living life every day !!!! With this pain ; I can’t ENJOY THE most simple of life I LOVE THE MOST ” MY FAMILY ” !!!!

  13. I have been having migraines since i was around 11 or 12, I am now 35. My are 100% debilitating, I cant really have a steady job because employers don’t understand that I might have to leave without much notice so I have my own business. I normally do not get migraines more than once or twice a month but in the last 4 days I have had 3. I have been thinking about what I ate, My sleep habits, Stress, Medication, smells ect. but I cannot figure it out. I Don’t drink high acidic drinks like O.J. or Lemonade, I found out that Bananas might be a likely trigger. I have an ex-wife and I realized that she has them too and I’m afraid my son inherited it because he complains of his head hurting sometimes. I don’t eat dark chocolate, I used to not drink ANY caffeine drinks for close to 10 years but it didn’t stop them or contribute so I started again because I was always tired. I’ve noticed that if I’ve been having a stiff neck or bright lights also contribute to setting them off. I have bought several different types of glasses to try to protect my eyes, and since they are blue they are already sensitive but bright lights either directly or indirectly bother me and not to mention flashing lights, OMG!!! like driving past a bunch of trees or strobe lights, L.E.D.’s too. I’m getting worried about them being more frequent and more intense, I already wish I was dead when it happens because I know the throwing up is inevitable, I can’t keep migraine meds down, and the few I have tried don’t work anyways. I really need to see a Chiropractor and massage therapist more steadily to try to keep them at bay.

  14. I just wanted to let you know how much if a relieve it is knowing that I’m not alone in this world and I’m not the only one who thinks migraine is a subject not discussed enough. I always hate trying to explain to my friends and other people I meet, that migraines are NOT just headaches. This is my new favorite blog.

  15. One of the stranger and less-mentioned aura experiences is temporarily going deaf in one ear followed by a ringing. It doesn’t last long but it is a really definitive symptom for me.

  16. I’ve had headaches since I was young kid but never been seen by a doc til here recently after having the worst headache of my life and was hospitalized for a wk…after doing extensive test on me no cause was found my family has a history of migraines and doing research on my own I believe to also have this dreadful disorder 🙁

    1. Kenneth,

      Wow, a week is a long time. I’m glad to hear you’ve gotten a diagnosis. That is the first step toward relief. Best wishes finding an effective treatment.

      Take care,

  17. I’m sorry everyone is having to go through these. It is comforting to know we’re not alone and not crazy. My migraine aura (usually without pain at any point during the migraine episode) can last up to a week. The episodes can vary and can last up to 15 minutes each. Just this past few days I have had amnesia, nausea, tingling/numbness, scintilating scotoma, partial vision loss, mental confusion, sensitivity to touch, anxiety, nervousness. Not all at once, but as episodes. Sometimes as many as 10 per day but not always. A quick jolt of a baby aspirin seems to help if I can take one just after the episode begins, but I need to be careful because I take warfarin for a blood clotting disorder.

    It’s just good to know we’re not alone in this and have folks who really do understand that migraine isn’t just a headache…”oh, do you want some tylenol?” 🙂

    Everyone hang in there. Praying for us all.

  18. Hi everyone, so sorry to hear how so many people struggle with the dreaded migraine. My migraine have become much worse the closer I get to menopause, some months up to 17 days, mostly in bed.
    I visited a wonderful migraine specialist in London, England called Prof Anne McGregor at the City of London Migraine Clinic, who helped enormously. No cure for migraine, but it helps enormously to speak with someone who totally recognises your symptoms, and there really are many drugs and treatment options that can help some sufferers. My migraines are menstrual related, very hard to treat but the best thing for me is Migard, Frovatriptan, which keeps me sane and really does help. Only problem is that you can only take a limited number.
    To the lady who was worried about her daughter hallucinating, you should read about Alice in Wonderland Migraine, (named after Lewis Carroll who was a migraineur). I suffered occasionally with these as a child, as did my daughter, they are terrifying to experience especially as a child.
    I would certainly recommend contacting the City of London Migraine Clinic, they have an active and very helpful website and I understand Prof McGregor is one of the worlds leading Menstrual Migraine Specialists, there don’t seem to be many.
    My understanding is that natural menopause will eventually bring some reduction in the frequency of my migraine but they are without doubt becoming more and more frequent, as I was warned, the closer I get to menopause. Think I have a more difficult time ahead but hopefully things will eventually ease!
    Good luck to all of you, get as much rest as possible and avoid any known triggers, keep the beggars at bay!

  19. I was injured while overseas. Major concusion and pressure to my left eye. I suffered major loss of vision in my left eye and now all I can really see is light out of it. Here’s the kicker, the light I see is like a million times brighter than it actually is. Military doc’s didnt know what was causing this. Many tests later and the VA doesnt either. That injury kicked off the begining of my migraines.

    Since this has happened I have suffured through months of getting them on an almost daily basis. Then weeks of bessed relief. I have the pre symtoms of flashes of light and color, tingly/numbness, craving sweets,difficulty forming words and sentences (sometimes what I think I’m saying isn’t what I’m actually saying, transient global amnesia (this is weird but, sometimes I cant remember my wife and childrens names although I know who they are), frequent urination and lethargy.

    During the actual migraine I become light and sound sensitive, and do not want to be touched unless your playing with my hair. Strangly I also become extremely sexually aroused, but, since I do not want to be touched its rather frustrating. It was so bad when I first started getting them that I would think up ways to kill myself. I knew I wouldnt but for some reason it helped me cope knowing that if it got too bad I knew 101 ways to do it. Ive since gotten over that, probably because I have gotten better at tolerating the pain.

    Someone above mentioned the “empty shell” feeling and I agree 110%.

    Luckily I have a good job that is Vet friendly and understands my time off requests. Ive seen numurous doctors of all types and they havent the slightest clue why I get them. I resent and loath going to the VA because they insist on dialating my left eye every time I go in. Each and every time I get an immediate migraine with vomiting an such. It seems like its almost a game to see how quick they can make me puke. Sucks, but if I want to keep my disability pay I have to continue seeing them.

    Anyways my heart goes out to all of my fellow sufferers. To people who think we over exagerate or pain…I hope they never have to deal with what we deal with…I wouldnt wish this on my worst enemy…well….maybe a few 🙂

  20. Yeah I get partial loss of sight and nausea before the migraine starts, unable to understand anything anyone is saying and sweating clammy-ness, vomiting, pale, nausea, then after i get fatigue and gaah it just sucks when i get migraines! but usually it’s caused by stress 🙁 so i try to keep calm and relaxed 🙂

  21. I get migraines since I was a kid, but today for the first time got a migraine with a bloodshot eye.I googled it and that’s how I got to your site. Thanks for the info!

  22. Seeing that list is a significant relief.

    I off and on get migraines in patches, with each patch showing slightly different effects. Sometimes I just get the headache, sometimes just the aura (and blindness), sometimes just stomach troubles, and sometimes (currently), minor headeaches with significant “feeling wierd”.

  23. Wow, it’s hard to believe all these symptoms are caused by migranes. I’ve been suffering with serious migranes for 4 years now, trying many things to relief it,many prescriptions; but sadly no results. But im glad to know im not nuts just thinking all these symptoms were me loosing my mind. Thank you

  24. August 30th was the last time I had a migraine until yesterdya when they came back for no apparent reason. Used to be that one eye would go and I would get the headache on the opposite side of my head. Now that still happens, but one eye went in the morning and then the other went late yesterday afternoon. This morning I awoke with the visual disturbance and now I have the headache and it is not ever 8.30 yet. Admiteedly the visual disturbance used to last about half an hour to an hour, now it is over in a matter of about ten minutes. These headaches make me feel really depressed and I hate them. I didn’t write in for advice, just to have a whinge and a cry because I do not understand why this has started again and I hate these headaches, My deepest sympathis to all who suffer them. It’s horrid. Although, on the good side, I did hear of some research where they are saying that women who get migraines have a 30% lower chance of getting breats cancer, but to be a real upside, I really do think that the powers that be should upgrade that to 50%…slight chuckle…ouch that hurt my head. Going to bed now…again.

  25. Hi,
    I have been suffering MIGRAINES ever since I was about 15 and I am now 48. They used to just come when I would get my period and I would suffer terribly for about 3 days with no relief from the only medicine I knew of at that time, which was Ibuprofin. Then in 1990 I was in a car accident and hurt my neck and back and I now suffer migraines pretty much on a daily basis.
    I have seen so many neurologists and have been on almost every prevenitive out there with some not so nice side effects. I have even had Botox injections and that was the biggest waste of money, but worth a try!
    I used to be in the ER at least twice a year and would have to get Nubaine and Benidryl injections. But because I complainedto my doctor I had not been sleeping well she have me Tizanidine 4 mg and said to also take for migraines. Well one day I had a very,very bad migraine and took a Maxalt pill along with 2 Tizanaidine and was able to not go to the ER and it’s been 2 years now that I have not been there so the Tizanidine has been a life saver for me, it is a miscle relaxant. It is a not addictive drug.
    I have found that I would wake up every single day with the migraine so one night I decided to sleep in my recliner with my donut pillow and , lord and behold I did not have a headache in the morning but I also did not have much sleep. I tried that for about 3 nights and 3 mornings no migraine. This tells me my mirgraines are muscle related, probaly now from that accident. I can’t sleep in my chair all the time and now prop my self up with a extra pillow and my donut pillow and have some good mornings but then usually sometime during the day I will still get a mirgraine. Yes…I have been to Chiropractors and did have some phyical therpy for my pain and it did not help.
    I as you all am so tired of mirgaines.
    Oh I take Topamax on a daily basis and I have Imtirex Injections for pain and Maxalt.

  26. Does anyone, while having the visual disturbance or after having more than one in a row begin to imagine that there is something very wrong with you? Does your imagination run away with you? Mine does. I just came down with another while out in the garden in the bright sunshine, despite wearing dark sunglasses, the light got me over top of them. The visual disturbance has lasted a lot longer this time and all the while I have been imagining that there is something very wrong me me. I know that it is strange and I probably shouldn’t write this at all while in the midst of it, but it helps to speak it.

    I don’t know what could be happening, but I recommend seeing your doctor. It is a good idea to check in any time your symptoms change.

    Good luck,

  27. My migraines are almost always triggered by light. Usually I get them infrequently but in the last week I have had three. Two triggered by LCD screen on celphone and that most recent, today, I do not know what triggered it. I was asleep dreaming I had the visual distrubance that always occurs before the migraine, woke up and actually had the visual disturbance already. Was totally weird. But I have a good doctor and last week he actually rang my house to make sure that I was okay, knowing I had just had a migraine that day. I was never aware that there are “post migraine” symptoms. I have them, probably always had them after but simply did not recognise them as being associated with it. Having read your posts has helped me tpo relax a little about them. Mostly I feel as though I have had some kind of drug and my eyes don’t feel quite right. Also a very deep sense of depression. Other than that, I am fine. Does anyone else experience a deep sense of depression post migraine?

    You’re not alone — a lot of people feel very depressed or down after a migraine. I do sometimes. The best treatment for it is to take it easy and try to not be too hard on yourself.


  28. Ashley – Yes, many of us feel like you have described. Feeling “like and empty shell” afterwards is a great description – I can really identify with that! To answer your question, yes, migraines can come in a range of severity, both from one person to another and from one time to the next for the same person. Most doctors use a 1 – 10 pain scale, with 1 being barely noticeable and 10 being the worst pain you can imagine. I find it helpful to ask myself where this migraine is on the pain scale, because if I’m below a 4 I can function pretty well and 5 and up I really need to go lie down. It helps me cope. I’m glad you found the site. Keep sharing.

  29. Hi! I just found your website…it has dispelled a lot of my anxiety. I was really worried because I have all sorts of allergies, and PND and all kinds of symptoms because of this. I was worried because I also was very very out of sorts cognitively, and also anxious, and had a head ache…but only in one spot. I would like to know however if migraines can come in a range of severity? Mine seems to be less severe and more consistent. I had one migraine in my life when I was probably 15, and not another one until I had my second child. I had a Post dural puncture headache (Spinal headache) hands down worst pain in my life. Anyhoo, I am not sure if the migraines were brought on by the PDPH or birth, but either way I am now a full fledged nearly incapacitated (before, while, and after they happen) migraine sufferer. I am nearly useless to anyone myself included before and while…and afterward I am like an empty shell for a while. It really takes a toll on you mentally and emotionally. Does anyone else feel like I have described?

  30. My 16 yr old dd has migraines, and about once a year or so, they’re so bad she hallucinates. She sees people, spiders (she’s terrifed of spiders), and other very strange, and to her dad and me, scary things. It’s almost as if she’s ‘tripping’ on drugs or something. She doesn’t remember anything the next day. Is this a normal migraine pattern? Thank you.

    Hallucinations can definitely be part of migraine. I recommend checking with her doctor to be sure.

    Best of luck.


  31. Reading these comments on this blog where these poor people are in agonizing pain everyday makes me feel like a whiner. I, too, get migraines, but they rarely hurt. I get 2-5 a month, but usually they are all visual.

    Lately I have been getting 2-5 migraines a week. Again, they don’t usually hurt (only about 1 or 2 painful headaches a week) but the rest of the syptoms are getting out of control.

    I actually have just realized that I’ve been going about these symptoms backwards. I’ve been thinking that my migraines trigger anxiety attacks (which have been increasing with the migraines). I started seeing a therapist to deal with my anxiety only to find that I don’t really have as big a problem with anxiety as I thought. After doing some research (this site included) I realized the the anxiety is part of the migraine.

    I have also gone to the doctor on seperate occasions for several of these symptoms (vertigo, dizziness, nausea, eyesight, hearing, etc) but I have never, until now, put it all together to add up to migraine – which now that I look at all of the symptoms, I really do have almost daily.

    I can’t tell you what a huge deal this is. I’m actually crying right now out of relief that this is all connected and I’m not some sort of crazy hypochondriac. Thank you so much for sharing this information. The knowledge, alone, has made this an easier battle to suffer.

  32. Before I begin, I don’t consider myself having migraines, something else. The list you have provided is very helpful, thank you very much.

    I am a 24 year old male who just so happened to bump into this site during a google search for TMJ disorder. I struggle daily with random headaches due in part of my TMJ problem for many years. My headaches can last all day to only a few hours a day. When my headaches happen, I have a hard time concentrating, fatigue begins, my eyes will feel heavy, I become irritable and I will have difficulty getting my words out when I speak. Although my jaw clenching and/or trigger points could be causing my headaches (I have no doubt), the throbbing head pain on the left side of my head seems more of a problem than the TMJ itself but this may all be interconnected somehow. I’ve seen a MRI specialist about my headaches years ago and had one done and the results showed that I had a small cyst on the left side of my temple area. My MRI specialist and my neurologist told me its a benign cyst and I should have nothing to worry about but I still question this today as this cyst could be the culprit. I am on Dilantin 400 mg 4 pills a night for my seizures (I’m not epileptic).

    I’ve been taking slow-mag (magnesium 500 mg one pill) every morning for muscle contractions for the last few months and their haven’t been any good results. I want this throbbing head pain to stop because its ruining my life, I can’t seem to find any answers that I’m looking for and I have no desire to have brain surgery at all. No one should ever have to live with the head pain I have and I’m tired of my friends and family feeling pity on me as this shouldn’t this shouldn’t be happening.

    I’ll be coming here more often now that I found thedailyheadache.

  33. I don’t know where to post this so I am putting it here in hope that someone will read it.
    I am 22 years old and have had migranes associated with Arnold Chiari Malformation since I was around 10. I did have the corrective surgery and everything is perfect as far as that goes.
    On October 23, 2007 my life went to haties. Beginning that day I have had the worst pains I have ever felt. It feels like a 9in blade going through my skull in one specific spot and then the entire left side of my brain will throb with horrific pain. This happens daily and when it occurs it stays. The strange thing is I have NO common migrane issues.
    I have passed out twice and feel dizzy on occassion. Once I had super high blood pressure and twice there has been numb/tingling of the limbs. But none of occured often enough to really relate to the head pains.
    I have had the usual ct and mri’s and they are clear. I have gone on a strict diet of organic chicken, few veggies, and fruits other than citris (just like all the diets say). We have also tried pulling all meds away to test the rebound headache theory and then I was placed various meds. On top of all of this I am still dealing with my regular migranes.
    I love my life, job and family and right now everything is on a stand still because I cannot deal with this pain.
    My question is has anyone experienced similar situations and do you have any suggestions?
    Thank you.

  34. i am glad that i found this web site an i am having really tough migraines since i was 9 am 23 now an everyday still i get that i know the pain 🙂 we all do ., i just wanted to point somethin here , i actually have nasal problems causing migraines,, i sure dont know the scientific definition so i call it infection nways , its like difficulty breathin with ur nose and ur allergic to bad smells could cause migraine , this is a reason everyone should check and if the weather is hot well pple here dont talk about that cz u know its cold in europe an so am in africa now so believe me hot weather is a trigger , could be number one:) ,, umm one thing i wanna ask about i know a way that i can get rid of migraine well anykind of migraines no matter how tough it is , its gone in about 10 to 15 minutes max, am not bluffing nways , but screw medications u know , ok here it is when i get the headache i strap my head tight with a robe kinda thing u can use anythin i dunno but the main idea if u have somethin tight on around ur head preventing the blood pressure from running to the point of that headache it will go away , just tight enough so u would feel the pressure is gone then u relief that tight thing an blood starts to flow normally again , what i dont know is it healthy to do that? i mean it work an i dare everyone if it doesnt work an faster than any medication but is it ok to do that? . i mean preventing blood pressure from ur skull so u slow down that blood stream causing the headache ..,, i dunno i need help in that matter!! an i noticed if u want medication to work ,well one thing about migraines most of the times u get the headache u feel so before u get it u know its like an alarm i know the headache is near ,take ur medication then , but if u got the headache believe me no pill in the world would let that headache go away except that manual way i talked about an it works!!!!!!!!

  35. I have had migraines since 92 when my dad passed ..I have a headache everyday and a migraine at least 5 days a week…I have every thing .The light ,smell,sound,all of it bothers me..Im very nausated …I go to our E.R about once every other month to get a shot or 2 or 3 to help with the pain…Im allergic to the imitrex and I took the topamax for awhile but it made me gain weight which depressed me more then I already was so the Dr took me off it…I have Fibromyalgia which they also say migraines go along with..I get S.S.I because I am unable to work do to the fact I cant leave my home …I have a great boyfriend and kids that help me when I feel bad.. Im a 44 yr old woman whose ex husband was verbally abusive and put me out because of my medical problems…Somedays I wake up and my right eye is smaller then my left and im full of energy …I know its going to be a bad headache later due to these clues…my kids know if these things are happening then Im going to have the headache from HELL…I then clean my house and get nausated ,and the headache comes on full force ,my neurologist has me on zonegran now trying to get the headaches under control…

  36. My brother has been suffering “migraines” since he had a stroke several years ago. It’s daily 24/7. Unfortunately, he has an HMO that is going to kill him before he finds relief, but we keep going to new Doctor’s and still no relief. It seems the IPA “Oasis Medical IPA” doesn’t have a “Headache Specialist” and keeps sending us to Neurologist, which are good people, but not helping the headaches. What do people do in this case? Your site gave us just a few names in California for “Headache Specialist”, but of course after a year of trying to go “out of network” with the HMO, we still can’t get to that doctor and of course money is an issue when it comes to office visits, etc.
    Any ideas? We thought of trying a Chiropractor that is “in-network” as well as continue trying to find a “headache specialist” in-network. Should we give in a contact the Insurance Commission? I think that’s the only way he’ll get treatment for his headaches? What do you suggest?

    I’m sorry, but I don’t have any ideas for you. I’ll highlight your comment in a post and see if anyone else has suggestions.

    Take care,

  37. I am so glad I found this site. I have been suffering from daily headaches for 20 years. I am now 36 years old. I have always been told that I do not have migraines…I guess I do not experience alot of the classic symptoms. I do get severe pain throughout my head, I cannot think straight, fatigue sets in, my eyes feel heavy, and no over the counter pain med nor even prescribed narcotics even begin to take the pain away. Sometimes the headache lasts for 2 days only to return a day later. This cycles at least every 5-7 days. Recently, a neurologist prescribed imitrex which did relieve my pain. So now, he has diagnosed my chronic headache as migraine. I have also now been taking Topamax for 2mo which does not seem to be working. I still get just as many headaches and now the Imitrex does not seem to be working as well. If Imitrex doesn’t work, and Topamax doesn’t work, is it likely that I am not suffering from Migraine?

    It’s fairly common for Imitrex and Topamax (as well as other drugs) to not work for some people with migraine. They are the most prescribed drugs for a first attempt at treatment, but there are many other meds available for people with migraine to try.

    Imitrex is one of seven available drugs in its class, called triptans. Some people try four or five before they find one that works. I think that having Imitrex work at all is a good sign that you have migraine.

    Also, Topamax is often prescribed for chronic daily headache, whether it is caused by migraine or not.

    My migraine symptoms aren’t typical either, so it was hard to believe that my headaches could possibly be migraines. Turns out that only 40% of people with migraine have an aura. As you’ve seen from the list, there are many symptoms for us to choose from!

    Here’s a good overview of different migraine drugs: http://mayoclinic.com/health/migraine-headache/DS00120/DSECTION=8

    Let me know if I can help any further.


  38. Hey, thanks for posting this link on my page. I’d really been wondering about some of those symptoms, like frequent urination, runny nose, and mood changes.

    Actually, my body is a bit of a mess now – I think I’m going into perimenopause early (I’m 37), which is, among other things, causing bouts of PMS, which I never had before. (I also think it’s causing my migraines.) And some of the PMS symptoms are remarkably like the odder migraine symptoms – changes in fluid balance, constipation followed by diarrhea, and mood changes. It seems to me that Oliver Sacks even said that he thought PMS was a *kind* of migraine. Go figure.

    You’re welcome. It may be the most important thing that most migraineurs rarely ever learn about.

    PMS and migraine sound like an awful combination! Hang in there.


  39. I’ve had migraines for the last 16 years, usually 1 or 2 a month around my period. All of a sudden I have had them almost daily for 3 months. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this. It seems like something must be causing them, but I can’t figure out what. I had an MRI 3 years ago, but only showed typical migraine findings.

    Whenever your migraines change, you should see your doctor. He or she can help you identify what’s triggering them and find effective ways to reduce the frequency of them.

    I wish you the best of luck.


  40. I just found your website and find it quite informative. I’ve suffered from CDH and migraines for about 27 years now without taking prescription medication. I had a 9:30am soccer game the other week and felt a headache coming on. Was craving salt so bought some Bugles at the 7/11 which sent the headache to the back burner. I asked my doctor about this and she said that I could be getting a sudden drop in blood pressure which could cause a headache. Just thought I’d throw that out there for anybody else who experiences the same thing.

    Thanks for the kind words and the tip. Eating regularly is something that many headache sufferers (including me) find very helpful. I hope it continues to help you.

    Take care,

  41. I was having migraines every day and the drs were playing pass the patient I guess. I ended up with a pain specialist but I found that he was unwilling to listen to me. He was going to treat me the way he wanted even tho what he was doing made no sense and had no effect at all. I went through treatments with big q-tips of novacaine up my nose, shots in my neck, I even had novacaine patches taped to my neck for 12 hours a day every day because he was convinced that was my problem. (and let me tell you, that tape coming off every day was rough, especially since I’m allergic)Even tho all my scans and tests showed nothing wrong, it still had to be my neck. I finally decided that this communication problem was not going to get better and I stopped seeing him. At the same time, I switched my GP and he recommended a new Neurologist for me and that was the best thing ever. We went over all the meds I’ld been on, and there were alot I must say, most of which hadn’t worked. He wasn’t afraid to perscribe IM meds and pain meds that worked together and because of that, I have worked from 7 days a week to 2 or 3 a month. I’m not off my toradol injection because of my liver and on stadol nasal, which works way better I might add but in the end, it’s really about finding a dr. that you can communicate with. It turns out that my migraines are from an injury. They do happen to run in my family which exasberates the situation but because of the head trauma, makes them much harder to treat. I’m sorry for all the frustration everyone feels with this because I have felt it too and I hope that you’ll also get relief as I have. Thank you for posting this list of symptoms as well. I have passed migraines to both my daughters, 13 and 5. My 13yo’s symptoms are different then mine and my 5yo doesn’t really know to tell us or recognize what they are yet but both are diagnosed already. Now we have a list to turn to, to hopefully recognize even earlier when one’s coming. Thank you.

    I’m so glad you’ve gotten your migraines under better control. Finding the right doctor for you can make all the difference in the world.

    I hope the list of symptoms helps your daughters. Catching a migraine early in the episode usually makes it much easier to treat.


  42. Thanks for letting me know that what I am experiencing is normal. I have been getting migraines for many years and of late they are more severe and occurring more often. The list of symptoms is reassuring in that I am experiencing normal reactions to the migraines and that there is not some other underlying problem that needs to be addressed. Keep up the good work

    These are normal migraine symptoms, but not normal for you. It is common for migraines to change over the years, but it’s always good to see your doctor when you have a change in symptoms. Just to check in and see if there might be a better treatment for you or something else going on.


  43. Thanks for your list. I’m having a particularly bad migraine today and I was having symptoms I don’t usually experience, which made me very anxious–I thought perhaps something more serious was going on. I felt relieved when I found this blog. I’ll check that book out. Thanks again.

    You’re welcome. I’m glad you find it helpful.

    If you ever have alarming symptoms, I recommend making an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can. While it’s probably not something worrisome, it’s always good to get checked out when your symptoms change.

    Take care,

  44. Just found your site, and have been amazed at what I’ve read. I have had migraines since high school, (I’m now 51), and they have increased to the point of daily pain since having a hysterectomy two years ago – something I was told would probably improve my situation. I have a brother and sister who suffer daily from them as well. And I was generous – I gave them to all three of my children. My neurologist has tried every preventative medication he can think of, as the migraines have already caused two tiny strokes. Pain meds have been a joke. Fiorinal used to help, but most of the time I try them nowdays, I might as well have swallowed a couple m&m’s. Butorphanol Tartrate nasal spray has been the most effective for relieving the pain, but it is highly addictive and my Dr. is hesitant to continue prescribing it. I have no doubt I have some dependency on it, but without another alternative that will work, where does that leave me? I have tried everything he has recommended, and nothing has worked. I even tried accupuncture, but that was money down the drain. Tried Botox… looked great, but it only helped the first time I had it done – subsequent applications did nothing. Had a nurse suggest using an not quite legal substance one smokes, but I lived thru the seventies once – don’t need to go there again. Basically I am at my wits end. Those who haven’t experienced migaine pain have no idea what an occasional migraine feels like – let alone daily pain. Glad to find there is some support here. Thanks for all your efforts! Am contemplating applying for disabilty. Not sure what I’m in for there. Probably enough red tape to give me a headache.

    Wow, you’re really going through a lot. I’m so sorry.

    While I don’t have any specific advice, you aren’t alone, which can be a huge assurance in itself. Also, there are many, many treatments. Even when people feel like they have tried everything, there are almost always more options out there. That’s not to discount that it’s an exhausting fight to find out what works best for you.

    If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me. I’m more than happy to help. kerrie@thedailyheadache.com

    Best wishes in your search for treatment. Take care of yourself.


  45. i have suffered from migraines all my life but the last 7 years have been the worst. i have chronic headaches every day and migrains at least 4 days out of 7. i cant leave the house or go anywhere cause i am so ill. i have tried migraine specialists all over the country but no one can help. most of the time i am unable to get out of bed. Its not the head pain its the fact that i feel so sick and dizzy and weak and cant tolerate light or sound or smell or touch. i have no life. i pray for a new treatment that will help but i am too ill to help myself and no one else will do it for me. i use frovatiptan, indomethecin, and stugeron at moment, and have tried loads of preventitive meds with no positive outcome. Someone please help.

    I’m sorry you’re suffering so much. While I have no specific advice for you, I can reassure you that you aren’t alone. There are many treatments available — even when it seems like you’ve seen every possible doctor and tried every possible treatment, there are always more option.

    E-mail me if you have questions about specific treatment or medications. kerrie@thedailyheadache.com

    Hang in there and take good care of yourself.


    1. While I do not have severe, frequent migraines, I get them often enough that a few years ago I went to a neurologist. After discussing options of much heavier drugs that I still don’t think I’m ready for, he offered me a holistic preventative approach. While I still get migraines, they don’t last as long, and I get them less often.

      I take 75mg of Butterbur Extract twice a day, 400mg of Magnesium Oxide twice a day, and a B Complex tablet once a day.

  46. This list has been really helpful for me. I swore up and down for months that I had chronic sinusitis, but two doctors told me my sinuses were fine. Tonight I discovered that a lot of my symptoms were common to migraines. This list shocked me, because of problems I’ve been having with this smell in the house that no one else can smell, as well as the fuzzy thinking (I call it my “noun problem”, where I can’t think of the words I want to use.)

    What bothers me is that neither doctor I went to suggested migraine. My GP thinks I’m “worrying too much” about my face and head pain, so I’m unsure about going back to him and asking about migraines. Maybe I should get the book and bring it with me when I see him.

    It’s so irritating to have little-discussed symptoms and not have your doctor know about them. I think taking the book to an appointment is a great idea.

    Best of luck with your GP and future doctors.


  47. It’s reassuring to see that high energy levels can be prodromal. Some people in my family would say to me, “If you just would calm down, you wouldn’t get the headaches.” I’ve tried to do that, but part of the problem is that, finally, I DO have a day where I feel well. And, also, when I try to “tamp it down,” I still get the headache.

  48. This list has been unbelievably helpful to me – thank you for posting it.

    I’ve spent years with dreadful physical anxiety symptoms, not realising that it was actually a part of my migraine attacks. (I’ve had migraines since I was about 18). It’s only recently that I’ve made the connection. To have it spelt out in black and white here has been so helpful, and I refer to it often in the middle of an attack, when I’m too anxious to be rational with myself.

    Thank you for helping to keep me sane, and to know that I’m not going insane.

    I’m glad this is helpful for you. I wish this information was widely available. I, too, was relieved when I found out that many more symptoms were involved than I once thought.

    Take care.


  49. Glad to see that Im not crazy! I could check of a majority of the things mentioned that you listed. It always amazes me how my body reacts to these stupid migraines and how many of those symptoms I have before during and after a migraine.

    As always, thank you for posting such valuable info, you provide an invaluable service to those of us who suffer from migraines.

    Your faithful reader!

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