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Symptoms of Migraine

Symptoms of Migraine: Introduction

People who have migraines can experience a wide variety of symptoms. Symptoms of migraines are the result of a constriction and dilation or widening of arteries in the brain. This process results in the classic symptoms of migraine, which include a severe, throbbing persistent headache that increases in intensity. The headache generally starts on one side of the head and spreads to the other side.

Just before the headache occurs, some people experience an aura or warning symptoms of an oncoming migraine. Symptoms of an aura may include surging emotions, lightheadedness, and sensory disturbances, such as seeing flashing lights or a zigzag pattern of distorted colors and lights. Sometimes an aura is described as feeling like an inspirational or religious experience.

Other symptoms that can accompany a migraine include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light (photophobia), numbness or tingling in different parts of the body, difficulty concentrating, and mild confusion or a feeling of being "spacey". Many people with migraines report a sudden overwhelming fatigue and need to lie down in a dark, quiet room to sleep.

The length of a migraine can vary greatly between individuals, from several hours to several days or more. Some people only have one migraine, but migraines often recur. Repeat migraines can happen often or there may be years between migraines....more about Migraine »

Symptoms of Migraine

The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources for Migraine includes the 44 symptoms listed below:

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Migraine: Symptom Checkers

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Migraine: Symptom Assessment Questionnaires

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Migraine: Complications

Read information about complications of Migraine.

Research More About Migraine

Do I have Migraine?

Migraine: Medical Mistakes

Migraine: Undiagnosed Conditions

Diseases that may be commonly undiagnosed in related medical areas:

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical tests related to Migraine:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Migraine?

The list of other diseases or medical conditions that may be on the differential diagnosis list of alternative diagnoses for Migraine includes:

Migraine: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Other Possible Causes of these Symptoms

Click on any of the symptoms below to see a full list of other causes including diseases, medical conditions, toxins, drug interactions, or drug side effect causes of that symptom.

Article Excerpts About Symptoms of Migraine:

Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS (Excerpt)

sensitivity to light is a standard symptom of the two most prevalent types of migraine-caused headache: classic and common.

The major difference between the two types is the appearance of neurological symptoms 10 to 30 minutes before a classic migraine attack. These symptoms are called an aura. The person may see flashing lights or zigzag lines, or may temporarily lose vision. Other classic symptoms include speech difficulty, weakness of an arm or leg, tingling of the face or hands, and confusion.

The pain of a classic migraine headache may be described as intense, throbbing, or pounding and is felt in the forehead, temple, ear, jaw, or around the eye. Classic migraine starts on one side of the head but may eventually spread to the other side. An attack lasts 1 to 2 pain-wracked days.

Common migraine—a term that reflects the disorder's greater occurrence in the general population—is not preceded by an aura. But some people experience a variety of vague symptoms beforehand, including mental fuzziness, mood changes, fatigue, and unusual retention of fluids. During the headache phase of a common migraine, a person may have diarrhea and increased urination, as well as nausea and vomiting. Common migraine pain can last 3 or 4 days.

Both classic and common migraine can strike as often as several times a week, or as rarely as once every few years. Both types can occur at any time. Some people, however, experience migraines at predictable times—for example, near the days of menstruation or every Saturday morning after a stressful week of work. (Source: excerpt from Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS)

Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS (Excerpt)

Children with migraine often have nausea and excessive vomiting. Some children have periodic vomiting, but no headache—the so-called abdominal migraine. Research scientists have found that these children usually develop headaches when they are older. (Source: excerpt from Headache -- Hope Through Research: NINDS)

Migraine Update: NINDS (Excerpt)

Migraine symptoms occur in various combinations and include pain, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting. The pain of migraine is often described as an intense pulsing or throbbing pain in one area of the head. Some individuals can predict the onset of a migraine with tell-tale signs that include visual disturbances. This is called a migraine "aura." (Source: excerpt from Migraine Update: NINDS)


migraine headaches are a severe, throbbing pain over one or both temples, or behind one eye or ear, and are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. A migraine often starts on waking up in the morning, but can occur later in the day and can last hours to one or two days. In individuals with a form of migraine called classic migraine, visual symptoms described as bluriness, dazzling zigzag lines, blind spots or sensitivity to light occur just before and sometimes during the headache. While fatigue and stress can sometimes bring on both tension and migraine headaches, bright lights, noise and alcohol are specific factors that can trigger a migraine. (Source: excerpt from MIGRAINE HEADACHES: NWHIC)

Migraine as a Cause of Symptoms or Medical Conditions

When considering symptoms of Migraine, it is also important to consider Migraine as a possible cause of other medical conditions. The Disease Database lists the following medical conditions that Migraine may cause:

- (Source - Diseases Database)

Migraine as a symptom:

For a more detailed analysis of Migraine as a symptom, including causes, drug side effect causes, and drug interaction causes, please see our Symptom Center information for Migraine.

Migraine: Onset and Incubation

Onset of Migraine: premenstrual period

Medical articles and books on symptoms:

These general reference articles may be of interest in relation to medical signs and symptoms of disease in general:

About signs and symptoms of Migraine:

The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible signs and symptoms of Migraine. This signs and symptoms information for Migraine has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of Migraine signs or Migraine symptoms. Furthermore, signs and symptoms of Migraine may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of any signs or symptoms and whether they are indeed Migraine symptoms.


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