Signs and symptoms of migraine headache
Doctors have identified two types of migraine:
- migraine without aura
- migraine with aura (which present as altered vision, speech, sensation or, more rarely, movement).
Both types of migraine:
- are associated with a severe throbbing or ‘pounding’ pain, usually only on one side of the head, although the affected side may change between, or even during, attacks
- usually last from 4 hours up to 3 days
- are often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, and a sensitivity to bright lights or noise — many people feel the need retreat to a quiet, dark room when they have a migraine
- are so painful and distressing that normal everyday activities become impossible during an attack
- can leave the person feeling drained and exhausted afterwards
- can be aggravated by physical activity such as walking or climbing stairs.
You may also experience a range of characteristic symptoms — such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating, neck stiffness, food cravings and a sensitivity to light or sound — up to a day or so before a migraine attack.
Migraine affects everyone differently. Some people have migraines only once a year while others have migraines several times a week or even daily. Overall, the average is one to two attacks per month.