What're the symptoms of migraine headaches?
The pain of migraine is often present only on one side of the head, although it may involve both, or switch sides during attacks. The pain is usually throbbing, and may range from mild to incapacitating. It is often accompanied by nausea or vomiting, painful sensitivity to light and sound, and intolerance of food or odors. Blurred vision is common.
Migraine pain tends to intensify over the first 30 minutes to several hours, and may last from several hours to a day or longer. Afterward, the affected person is usually weary, and sensitive to sudden head movements.
Migraine is characterized by attacks of sharp pain involving (usually) one half of the skull and accompanied by nausea, vomiting, photophobia and occasionally visual (or rarely other) disturbances known as aura. The symptoms and their timing vary considerably among migraine suffers, and to a lesser extent from one migraine attack to the next. Migraine is often caused by the expansion of the blood vessels of the head and neck. Classical migraine (migraine with aura) is forerun by a group of symptoms called aura, whereas common migraine does not have any indicator for the impending headache. A few (perhaps fortunate) people actually get aura without migraine. Although comparable in severity, the symptoms of migraine differ from those of cluster headache.
Migraine without aura is the most prevalent type and may occur on one or both sides (bilateral) of the head. Tiredness or mood changes may be experienced the day before the headache. Nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light (photophobia) often accompany migraine without aura.
Basilar artery migraine involves a disturbance of the basilar artery in the brainstem. Symptoms include severe headache, vertigo, double vision, slurred speech, and poor muscle coordination. This type occurs primarily in young people.
Carotidynia, also called lower-half headache or facial migraine, produces deep, dull, aching, and sometimes piercing pain in the jaw or neck. There is usually tenderness and swelling over the carotid artery in the neck. Episodes can occur several times weekly and last a few minutes to hours. This type occurs more commonly in older people.
Headache-free migraine is characterized by the presence of aura without headache. This occurs in patients with a history of migraine with aura.
Ophthalmoplegic migraine begins with a headache felt in the eye and is accompanied by vomiting. As the headache progresses, the eyelid droops (ptosis) and nerves responsible for eye movement become paralyzed. Ptosis may persist for days or weeks.
Status migraine is a rare type involving intense pain that usually lasts longer than 72 hours. The patient may require hospitalization.