Top 5 Most Common Symptoms of a Migraine Headache

A whopping 38 million people in the United States are struck with migraines, five million of whom have a migraine at least once a month. While preventing migraines in the first place is the best way to deal with them, there’s still much you can do when the first symptoms come on. It’s a matter of recognizing them and taking action.

Here at AccuHealth Urgent Care, we’re able to get our patients the help they need when the first red flags appear, in order to head off a migraine. To help you get the same early intervention, here are the top five most common symptoms of a migraine.

1. The prodrome

Migraines are very complex because they often include four different stages, or they may seemingly attack out of the blue. If you fall into the category of four-stage migraines, your body supplies plenty of warning signals that a migraine is looming, starting with the prodrome.

The prodrome stage is different for everyone, but most people experience one or more of the following: constipation, stiffness in the neck, sudden mood swings, increased thirst, and excessive yawning. These symptoms typically begin to develop 24-48 hours before the onset of the migraine attack.

2. The aura

Most people suffer migraines without an aura, but for those who do, this affords a further warning of an impending migraine attack, though these symptoms can crop up before and during a migraine.

An aura is activity in your nervous system that can affect your vision, which is why it’s called an aura. Some people see flashes of light or bright spots while others experience zigzag or wavy vision.

The aura stage may also bring on muscle weakness, numbness, and tingling, as well as difficulty moving or speaking. If you’ve experienced these symptoms before, you know there’s not much you can do on your own; therefore, be sure your family and friends understand what’s going on so they can get you to our urgent care for help.

3. Know yourself

Many migraine sufferers don’t undergo the first two stages of a migraine, or don’t think they do. Pre-migraine warnings can be very strong and also very subtle, so it really comes down to your knowledge of yourself.

For example, if you notice that you often experience a loss in appetite before your migraines, this can be part of your own individual prodrome. Or maybe you feel particularly fatigued right before the head pain comes on. It’s helpful that you note these small changes to better recognize them in the future and so we can help you avoid a full-blown migraine attack.

4. Recognizing the triggers

As helpful as it is to know your own particular signals that a migraine may be imminent, it’s also imperative that you understand your triggers. For many people, migraines develop when they eat foods that contain certain additives, or there’s a change in weather, or there’s a lot of external stimuli.  

For women, changes in estrogen levels can lead to migraines, so be aware that you may be more prone to a migraine during your period than at other times.

Here again, it’s worth noting how complex migraines are and how they affect people differently. By understanding what triggers yours, you can be especially vigilant, and the warning signs buy you valuable time to get treatment before a migraine hijacks your life for hours, or days.

5. Under attack

Even if you’re in a full-blown migraine attack, which is characterized by throbbing pain on one side of your head (though you may feel it on both sides) and sensitivity to light and sound, you should still seek prompt treatment at AccuHealth Urgent Care. We can neutralize your migraine and can treat other symptoms, including nausea and vomiting, along with your pain.

Whether you suspect that a migraine is coming on or you’re in an attack, please come in to see us at AccuHealth Urgent Care so we can help.

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