Migraine - Symptoms 

Symptoms of migraine 

A migraine is usually an intense headache that occurs at the front or on one side of the head. However, the area of pain can change position during an attack.

The pain is usually a severe throbbing sensation that  gets worse when you move.

Symptoms accompanying a migraine

Other symptoms commonly associated with a migraine are:

  • nausea - you may feel queasy and sick; this may be followed by vomiting
  • increased sensitivity - you may have photophobia (sensitivity to light), phonophobia (sensitivity to sound) and/or osmophobia (sensitivity to smells), which is why many people with a migraine want to rest in a quiet, dark room

Other symptoms can also occur during a migraine. These include:

  • poor concentration
  • sweating
  • feeling very hot or very cold
  • abdominal pain (which can sometimes cause diarrhoea)
  • a frequent need to urinate

Not everyone experiences these symptoms when they have a migraine, and they do not usually all occur at once.

In some cases, you may experience these symptoms without having a headache.

The symptoms accompanying migraine can last anywhere between four hours and three days. They will usually disappear when the headache goes.

You may feel very tired for up to seven days after a migraine attack.

Symptoms of aura

About one third of people with migraines have warning symptoms, known as aura, before the migraine. These include:

  • visual problems - you may see flashing lights, zigzag patterns or blind spots
  • stiffness or a tingling sensation like pins and needles in your neck, shoulders or limbs
  • problems with co-ordination - you may feel disoriented or off balance
  • difficulty speaking
  • loss of consciousness - this only happens in very rare cases

Aura symptoms typically start between 15 minutes and one hour before the headache begins. Some people may experience aura with only a mild headache or no headache at all.

Page last reviewed: 14/05/2012

Next review due: 14/05/2014


How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 688 ratings

All ratings

Add your rating


The 3 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

User389826 said on 02 April 2014

Ive literally just been to see a neurologist, who diagnosed my falls, severe fatigue, dizzyness, numbness in hands and feet and burning sensation in my scalp as an sensitivity to caffiene. Ive been a moderate tea drinker for 40 years, all of a sudden Im intollerant of this?

He took 3 minutes to do this, did a plantar reflex test using the wrong tool and whilst I was wearing socks.

The NHS is in such a hurry they rush through appointments just to meet targets.

If I had the money I would go private, where they would give me the decent respect and see me for long enough to properly investigate what may be symptoms of something serious.

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

Kpunto said on 21 February 2014

I used get a metallic taste in my mouth sometimes just before an aura and then it continues for a while.
I now experience a very strong reaction from what I assume is my saliva glands. If I taste any food or drink I get a strong pressure sensation at the back of my mouth either side of my jaw, which I would describe it as painful, thankfully this only lasts for an hour or two!

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

Carlespie said on 16 August 2013

I experience a metallic taste in my mouth at the same time as the aura and during the headache. Does anyone else?

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable