Migraine Signs & Symptoms | American Migraine Foundation

Signs & Symptoms

Migraine Signs & Symptoms

Migraine is more than just a headache, it’s a complex group of symptoms that are unique to you. Understanding your symptoms and triggers is key to managing your migraine so you can get back to living your life to the fullest.

WHAT IT IS LIKE TO EXPERIENCE MIGRAINE

Despite migraine being one of the world’s most common health conditions, many people living with this disease know that no two migraine experiences are the same. Symptoms can range from light sensitivity and dizziness to food cravings or body chills. Knowing how to identify your unique symptoms will help you talk to your doctor and get an accurate diagnosis.

Common Symptoms:

Common Symptoms:

  • Depressed mood or changes in mood
  • Increased sensitivity to light, sound or smells
  • Yawning, fatigue or difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Moderate or severe head pain
  • Depressed mood or changes in mood
  • Increased sensitivity to light, sound or smells
  • Yawning, fatigue or difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Moderate or severe head pain

Phases of Migraine

Timeline of a Migraine Attack

Migraine attacks have distinct phases, and understanding them is the first step toward advocating for your needs. Additionally, being able to identify and treat a migraine attack early on can help you prevent or minimize symptoms.

Prodrome

The beginning of a migraine attack, which can start several hours or even days before the headache.

Aura

Only 20% of people with migraine experience aura. Its effects last between 5-60 minutes and are completely reversible.

Headache

The third phase of a migraine attack that can last several hours or up to three days.

Postdrome

The final phase of a migraine attack which is often called the “migraine hangover.”

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Diagnosis & Treatment

If you live with migraine, receiving a diagnosis will help you take the first step in looking for the answers you deserve.

The Interictal State

  • The interictal state is defined as “the period between episodes.”
  • Symptoms can be psychiatric, like changes in emotional state, or sensory, like heightened sensitivity to light and sound.
  • If you are experiencing interictal symptoms, track them in your headache diary to find patterns and share with your doctor.
  • Research is underway to help us better understand and treat interictal symptoms. 

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