A migraine is an intense form of headache accompanied by light sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting, and it may last for hours or days.
Migraines may last anywhere between four and 72 hours. The variation in the frequency of migraines may happen from person to person, but two to four headaches per month are common. Some people get migraines every few days, while others only have them once or twice a year.
The frequency and symptoms of a migraine may vary from person to person. However, the attack often shows the same pattern.
Symptoms and Stages of Migraines
The symptoms of a migraine may vary depending on the stage of migraine. However, in most individuals, it is comprised of the following stages:
According to a study conducted by the American Headache Society, around 32% of migraine sufferers have a prodrome. This phase occurs 60 minutes to six hours before a migraine attack and might continue for many hours or even days and can cause various symptoms.
The following are the symptoms experienced by approximately 60% of individuals hours or days before a headache:
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
- Severe thirst
The symptoms of this stage originate from the nervous system and usually affect your vision. They gradually start within 5 to 20 minutes and may last less than an hour.
The following are the symptoms of the Aura phase:
- Ringing in the ears
- Vision problem (black spots)
- Changes in taste, smell, and touch
- Numbness or tingling on one side of the body
The headache stage is identified by pain on one or both sides of the head. The severity of pain differs from person to person, with some experiencing little discomfort while others experience excruciating discomfort. There is the possibility of other symptoms other than pain, they include:
- Sleep problems
- Sensitivity to smell, sound, and light
This occurs after the migraine headache and is sometimes referred to as the migraine hangover stage. After a headache, this stage may last up to one day. The postdrome affects around 80% of patients. Postdrome symptoms include:
- Lack of concentration
- Sensitivity to light
- Body aches
Warning signs of Migraines
Migraines are undetected and mistreated far too frequently. Keep track of your migraine episodes and how you handled symptoms if you suffer symptoms on a regular basis. Then schedule a consultation with your physician to address your headaches.
Even if you’ve had headaches before, consult your physician if the pattern changes or your headaches feel different.
Migraine and Quality of Life
According to clinical research, migraines negatively impact a person’s daily life and quality of life; the intensity, incidence, and related symptoms such as nausea, phonophobia, photophobia, and comorbid conditions such as mood disorders all contribute to this negativity. However, the pain can be enough to impair the life quality by itself, regardless of related factors.
Migraine and Pain Relievers
The goal of using painkillers against migraines is to take them as soon as you detect the warning signs, whether they’re over-the-counter or prescription. The sooner you start, the better the outcomes will be. Excessive use of pain relievers may cause stomach ulcers and withdrawal headaches after discontinuation.
When to See a Doctor
You must consult your doctor if your headache doesn’t go away or returns frequently. If you experience a headache accompanied by a stiff neck, fever, vomiting, numbness or weakness in the limbs, or difficulties speaking, immediately go to an emergency room.