Migraine 

Introduction 

A migraine is usually felt as a throbbing pain at the front or side of the head 

A migraine is usually a severe headache felt as a throbbing pain at the front or side of the head.

Some people also have other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound.

Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around one in every five women and around one in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood.

There are several types of migraine, including:

  • migraine with aura – where there are warning signs before the migraine begins, such as seeing flashing lights
  • migraine without aura – where the migraine occurs without warning signs
  • migraine aura without headache, also known as silent migraine – where an aura or other migraine symptoms are experienced, but a headache does not develop

Some people have migraines frequently, up to several times a week. Other people only have a migraine occasionally. It is possible for years to pass between migraine attacks.

Read more about the symptoms of migraine.

When to seek medical advice

You should see your GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms that cannot be controlled with over the counter painkillers.

You should also make an appointment to see your GP if you have frequent migraines (on more than five days a month), even if they can be controlled with medication, as you may benefit from preventative treatment.

You should call 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone you are with experiences:

  • paralysis or weakness in one or both arms and/or one side of the face
  • slurred or garbled speech
  • a sudden agonising headache resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before
  • headache along with a high temperature (fever), stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision and a rash

These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a stroke or meningitis, and should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.

Read more about diagnosing migraines.

What causes migraines?

The exact cause of migraines is unknown, although they are thought to be the result of temporary changes in the chemicals and blood vessels in the brain.

Around half of all people who experience migraines also have a close relative with the condition, suggesting that genes may play a role.

Some people find migraine attacks are associated with certain triggers, which can include starting their period, stress, tiredness and certain foods or drinks.

Read more about the causes of migraines.

How migraines are treated

There is no cure for migraines, but there are a number of treatments available to help reduce the symptoms.

These include:

  • painkillers – including over the counter medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • triptans – medications that can help reverse the changes in the brain that may cause migraines
  • anti-emetics – medications often used to reduce nausea and vomiting

During an attack, many people find that sleeping or lying in a darkened room can also help.

Read more about treating migraines.

Preventing migraines

If you suspect a specific trigger is causing your migraines, such as stress or a certain type of food, avoiding this trigger may help reduce your risk of experiencing migraines.

It may also help to maintain a generally healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, sleep and meals, as well as ensuring you stay well hydrated and limiting your intake of caffeine and alcohol.

If your migraines are severe or you have tried avoiding possible triggers and you are still experiencing symptoms, your GP may prescribe medication to help prevent further attacks.

Medications used to prevent migraines include the anti-seizure medication topiramate and a medication called propranolol that is usually used to treat high blood pressure.

Read more about preventing migraines.

Outlook

Migraines can severely affect your quality of life and stop you carrying out your normal daily activities. Some people find they need to stay in bed for days at a time.

However, a number of effective treatments are available to reduce the symptoms and prevent further attacks.

Migraine attacks can sometimes get worse over time, but they tend to gradually improve over many years for most people.




Page last reviewed: 14/04/2014

Next review due: 14/04/2016

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Comments

The 45 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

tomachito said on 29 October 2014

I had a migrane about a week ago. Fortunately I got a friend who ask me to try "Crystallised Ginger". You can get it at any supermarket in their 'special' food department.
bingo! Hey presto instant cure, what a relief!

I kept using it for the last few days when I did not felt 100 per cent. On day 6 I can report totally cure.

Thank you "ginger"

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underpressure said on 12 October 2014

25 years of headaches and migraines all vanished when I had my pineal cyst removed. Shame I had to go abroad to have it taken out as no one would believe they cause symptoms here.

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underpressure said on 12 October 2014

Check your MRI's for an 'Incidental pineal cyst'
That is the culprit!

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f4ye_g said on 31 July 2014

I previously suffered from migraines about 4 years ago and my main symptom was the auro which effected my vision for about half an hour to an hour at a time. My contraceptive pill was changed and i seemed to make a full recovery. However 4 years later, the aura and headaches have returned!!! I was told that on my new contraceptive pill migraines weren't a worry so i am unsure as to whether or not this is the cause but will be coming off them anyway. It may be worth other women reading this to trial a new contraceptive method as well.

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terrilouise94 said on 13 July 2014

i seem to get getting headaches and migraines a lot just recently but i cant get though to my doctors as they are so busy, what should i do? im not sure how much longer i can cope

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venabh said on 24 April 2014

My experience is that I wake up with a headache and and facial pain, jaw ache. Once I get up start moving I start wretching, this goes on for most of the day. I tried taking anti sickness but I cant keep it down. After its all over I feel like Im getting over a hangover and somehow feel like the issues have lifted or at least for now. The bouts happen every few months. I am a worrier, over analyse things which Im guessing is the trigger, theybuild up and because I dont know how to relax the brain seems to behave in this way. Im trying to make sense. Like to know if this is the same sysmptons for anyone and how itis managed. thank you for reading.

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AngelaUK said on 11 November 2013

I suffered for years for what I and my immediate family thought was actually a migraine. However when I read all the symptoms of migraines, I never accompanied either one of them. I am taking about early 2000 and unfortunately i was in a developing country at that time and doctors there had no idea! However now I know that I get tension headaches. and the reason I found was basically I am allergic to certain foods! and the most innocent one which I had used all my life was actually tea! The fact that is the most painful is that whenever I would get this tension headache, I would drink more tea to make it less intense! Well I am happy now that I know what the problem was. However one must be careful in diagnosing what type of headache they have.

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SLF200 said on 10 November 2013

I've had a permanent migraine now for over 5 yrs, had an MRI. On daily 100mg topiramate & 25mg Amitriptyline, have been for yrs now. It's at a manageable pain level with some flare ups. Would love to come off meds but daren't because of fear of the pain if I do.

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Lensley said on 04 November 2013

I've had always migraines with aura, and I remember that it really scared me, I knew what was about to come.
I've noticed that sometimes, when the aura begins, you can go to take some deep breaths of fresh air and the migraine doesn't develop.

It's now been about 10 years now since my last one... and it really improved my life quality.
I've found a good video about a similar way that I've done in order to stop experiencing them:

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johnledi50 said on 21 October 2013

just over the last 3 weeks iv'e started taking two lots of tablets for my stomach, it seems i have bad reflux which burns like mad, the first lot of tablets i had to stop taking because i started to get migranes, it seems now that i might have to stop taking the second lot of tablets also,
i'm getting really bad migranes which is really affecting my vision, it looks like i'm looking through water and when i look at somebodies face the bottom of there face wobbles like jelly.

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Angllv said on 27 August 2013

hi this past Saturday aug.24th I woke up early with a horrible headache and it immediately went right into a migraine...it was a severe migraine to where I was in tears and it lasted all day...had a wedding to go to that day and I went to it but it was very painful to try to get thru it and try to enjoy it...well yesterday woke up with slight headache but very neaseous and again the same thing today but with slight headache..my migraine pains seem to be located on the left side of my head...my dr has me on toprimate and they help but I only take them daily and cannot take no one more today...I have not had a migraine this severe in a very long time and it has not lasted this long with all thease side effects 2 days later...has anyone else had this happen to them ...im in the usa and I also have found the advil migraine does help....my husband bought me Excedrin migraine because that's all he could find...my prescription med for my migraines makes me very sleepy so I mainly take it when its bedtime but today I took it so I wont be able to take it again tonight and I don't go see my dr until the end of October..

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kronik666 said on 03 May 2013

I have read all your posts and thought I would add that Meditation, Yoga and Ti Chi are all helpful for combating the pain of migraine headache. Also you need to look at diet / nutrition and chemical sensitivities. Our food, air, and water is all contaminated with a variety of deadly chemicals. So as a result our bodies are overloaded with stress and our brains are not functioning well. Optimal nutrition and nutritional supplements can help by working to repair damaged cells, this will aide the body in healing itself. Medications are toxic to the body because the drugs build up and begin to work against you. One needs to focus on stress management to help in avoiding attacks. We often don't recognize when we are experiencing too much stress until our bodies stop functioning normally. The world we live in is highly stressful and it seems to be nonstop. My 8 yr old son is experiencing incredible stress at school because his teachers punish him when he can't accomplish his written work, as a result he suffers symptoms of stress and often refuses to go to school. The stress on him to perform at school is too overwhelming and the teachers won't give him a break. Work is the same ... you experience stress almost 24/7. Meditation is a calm way to combat that stress. Hope this helps anyone who reads it. Most important for me is to know when I have had too much activity in a day and to sit down to a relaxing activity before the headaches start. I banged my head badly last year and I have been suffering with bad migraines. I am not one to go to the doctor much, I prefer to use natural methods to solve health issues because I have had health problems all my life which no doctor could solve. I found solutions when I went to see a naturopath doctor. A naturopath Dr. will test you for food allergies and help you get a better diet together. Good health to you all and take time to relax. Quiet reflection calms the spirit!

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Gypsey said on 28 April 2013

I am just recovering from a 4 day marathon migraine, definitely one of my worst. I have been to hospital on a number of occasions with migraines but this one I tried to manage myself, probably not a good idea. It started at work with a pain top of my head and behind my eyes, I knew it was a migraine and not a headache. By the time I got home from work I went straight to bed, got the bucket out and the vomiting started. I had eaten so there was a little to throw up. The pain continued behind my eyes, I can't tolerate light at all when I get migraine, and I don't get the aura that some do. Soon after the pain concentrated around my right temple and eye, top of head. Put a wet wash cloth on my brow, seems to help, trying to put pressure with my hands on my temples. Unable to get any medication in and taking sips of water, threw up for next 36 hours. Unable to sleep but dozing off for 10 mins at a time and having the most weirdest dreams. Totally dehydrated, cant even urinate, and worried about repercussions from that I went to a local GP, this is about 48 hours in, managed to stop vomiting but very nauseous. Dr gives me script for medication to stop vomiting, tells me to get some electrolytes, small sips no gulping. Strong pain killers and on my way. Took the medication to stop the vomiting, waited 30 mins, had some electrolytes, another 30 mins, had a piece of toast, fingers crossed kept it all down. Then I had the pan adenine forte for the paid, which had now settled to the back of my head. Last night I had the first nights sleep, managed to go 6 hours without pain killers but have a pain my neck and shoulders, it is not like the migraine head pain, totally bearable. Still not 100%. Lessons to be learned have medication before it is too late if you can. Once the cycle starts too late.

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drallim said on 03 April 2013

Six months have elapsed since N.I.C.E. endorsed the use of Traditional Acupuncture as a tool to be used in the effective treatment of Migraine type headaches.
At this time of writing, there is no evidence to suggest that the NHS is allowing appropriately qualified acupuncturists to perform a much needed function that could benefit around 1 out of every 7 people in Great Britain who suffer from this sometimes totally debilitating condition.
However, it continues to be carried out effectively in the private sector.
Not everyone can afford the treatment and as a consequence have to continue along the same pathway of medically approved drug therapy with all the pitfalls of side effects.
But all this can change. From April 2013, All GP surgeries will become more autonomous. This will mean that GPs will be in control of funding Specialist Providers. They will be able to tailor treatment more effectively towards their patients' needs.
This will mean that patients should have the power and the right to request and/or demand treatment from an acupuncturist of their choice.
Because this is rather a new concept, some GPs may find the process of referral a little difficult - preferring perhaps to ignore those requests or demands in favour of their own treatment pathways.
In such instances, patients would be well advised to press their case for acupuncture and not give in to pressures to continue along in the same old way.
Drug therapy is not the only solution!
Traditional Acupuncture is a chance worth taking!!

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xcherylx said on 28 February 2013

To the women reading this discussion, please make sure you check whether it may be a contraceptive pill! I was on microgynon for about 4 years and started getting migraines around 2 years in. I saw the doctor and they said I must coome off them as I'll be prone to strokes. I now get a migraine say every 2 months and have been off the pills for about 9 months nw.

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noemi73 said on 19 February 2013

I have noticed that my migraine is related to my cycle, usually I have it around the 12th day or during my period. Painkillers do not work and they are poison for the body, my mum is on dialysis due to painkillers she used to take for decades for migraine.
The only thing that works for me is when the migraine kicks in I immediately get my grain/bean bag and heat it up in the microwave for 2.5 minutes and apply a lot of Tiger balm/Chinese balm on the pain area (head, neck, shoulder, wherever I feel the stiffness in the muscle/nerve or the pain on my head.

I keep applying this balm very often as I noticed that the menthol content of the balm warms up my skin and creates a really nice feeling reducing my pain.

I keep the bean bag on my forehead and if I can I go to bed and lay down for a few hours (sleeping is impossible for me due to the pain) in a dark, quiet room.
I have also noticed that when I have nausea due to the migraine the only thing that helps is a small glass of Activia drinking yogurt as the ingredients calm down the upset tummy.

My main advise is that you should never wait until the migraine gets really bad, whatever works for you start doing it immediately.

For me holding my head really down (leaning off the bed) and laying on the side where the pain is these also reduce the throbbing pain.
Besides, I usually take Magnesium with vitamin B.

Everyone is different but I think it might be useful for those who just like me want to avoid chemicals.

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Gerts93 said on 08 February 2013

Ive been having migraines since i was 8 years old. I was at school one day and i got pushed over and hit my head on a wall and had to spend the night in hospital. Ever since then ive developed migraines since then usualy a cuople times a week and they can last for days sometimes. I get many symptons including blurred vision in one eye, numbness down the left side of my body, confusion, slurred speech and vomiting. Does any one known if the head trauma has anything to do with my migraines and should i se a nueroligist.? would be very greatfull for any feedback.

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K8wilson said on 28 January 2013

My daughter has suffered with migraines since she was 2, always sat at the front of the class at playschool and looked like she was lip reading. Her headbands used to be on the front of her head rather than on the top. She used to have loads of sickness bugs (what I thought were) fell asleep for 3 hours wherever she was floor, bed, sofa, woke up hungry like she had been asleep for a week, but me thinking it was a bug gave her a biscuit one at a time but she kept them down. She used to get an awfu amount of tummy ache which again I thought were tummy bugs. She is now 8 years old and hormones are kicking in and she has 2 episodes a week. She vomits at least once every 2 months and has had a stroke like feeling once every 4 months. She tried a preventative which got us to stage 2 of supernanny if it wasn't nailed down it was thrown she went skitzy. We are now looking at another one propranolol 10mg and hope this works. Is there anyone else out there with a child who I can talk to? My husband and I both suffer with them but I hadn't until I had my daughter but my husband has from an early age. I am worried as her hormones start kicking in it might get worse.

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Toomanymeds said on 17 January 2013

Lotty185 you're not the only one! I've been suffering from daily migraines for about a year now.
I started getting migraines about two years ago but usually only one every 2/3 months. I've always gotten an aura; a strange poking sensation, usually in in the left eye but not exclusively, that seems to come from inside my head. I start seeing strange colours and things often start to look like the negatives of photos. My eyes sting so badly with the light it's unbearable. Usually my vision will go completely for a couple of days at least. Then the headache starts. A thumping an whirling like my head is exploding. It's awful!
My doctors started me on triptans which kinda did the trick at the time but about a year ago for no apparent reason I started getting migraines every single day. And they were worse then before. The pain was unimaginable. I couldn't speak properly most times nod sometimes couldn't talk at all coz I was lost in the pain. I'd lose control of my fingers and feet. And I'd bang my head off anything I could to try and stop the pain.
Docs did all the usual tests (EEG,CT,MRI) which all came up clear. Just chronic migraine they said. apparently thats what its called if you have migraines more than 15 days of a month. They tried all the migraine preventers but my body reacted badly to every one. I would black out and fall over and hit my head. I couldn't be left on my own for very long and I could barely leave the house because I was always having migraines.
Thankfully a little bit along now, I'm on topiramate, like pinkmoon77. It seemed to be doing the trick and I've stopped having them everyday. But still having them 1/2 a week. I'm getting there. Anybody got similar story to give me hope...please?!

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delstar said on 17 October 2012

Thank you all for sharing your experiences. Some are a bit kooky for me but i appreciate all views. I have now had 2 auras with the camera flash thing followed by the zigzag which morphs betwixt b&w and colour. Then i feel like i lose my peripheral vision to the entire right side. This is followed by a feeling similar to having my head stuffed with cotton wool. I struggle to focus. I cannot think clearly.I slur my words. I struggle to even think of words.
(example: during the last attack i had to google 'massive headache flashing lights' to even remember the word migraine. How bad is that?) Joking aside i do find the symptoms hard to explain to others. Then starts the serious detachment, feeling of isolation and madness and struggle to understand what people are saying. The upshot is a stinker of a headache and a grumpy mood and a decidedly cotton wool mind for a good few days. Hate feeling like an imbecile during the aura but even worse is being grumpy with those i love in the days afterwards. Any old how thanks for sharing your experiences, i do not feel alone, genetically mutated or insane thanks to you. Onwards and upwards. And embrace the zigzags.

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Lottyl85 said on 03 October 2012

I've been suffering daily 'migraines' for a year now. I don't usually get a headache but get a drooping left eye, tingling face and mouth (on left-side only) and a numb left arm. Sometimes my mouth droops causing me to dribble. I feel sick and drunk, and sometimes lose my balance. I often feel very spaced out. They happen seemingly at random and I find it hugely embarrassing when it happens in public, or at work.

The symptoms look a lot like a stroke, but apparently I'm not having strokes or TIAs. I've had MRI scans, CT scans and EEGs but nothing has been picked up.

I was taking triptans for 6 months but they didn't help so now I take nothing. The more I have these episodes, the less convinced I am that it's migraines. I've never known anyone to display my symptoms. My doctors say they haven't seen anyone have them this frequently. It's almost every single day.

My symptoms have recently started to change..for the past 48 hours I've had a terrible headache and everything looks slightly yellow. I couldn't move my left arm at all for about 20 minutes. I feel ok when I sit down, then awful when I get up. I'm too frightened to take pain killers because I want to know what the pain feels likes, however stupid that may sound.

Does anyone else have these symptoms? They are really scary and it would be comforting if I wasn't alone in feeling them!

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bbirch said on 20 September 2012

I have suffered migraines for years. I get the zigzags in my eyes first, I take medication and then half an hour later my face, tongue & arm go numb & tingley, I also lose my speech and can't concentrate on anything, I also feel sick, then when that's gone I get a bad headache and then I feel lethargic and just want to sleep.

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liamgibbins said on 20 September 2012

I suffer very summarily symptoms, mine starts with seeing like orbs in my eyes, when i speak it does not make sense. the left side of my body goes numb, then them symptomns subside I get intense headaches and I can not stand been in the light.

I was tested via ECG, CT scan and it was put down to a rare complex migraine, also found that i have a irregular heat beat..

Also they said that there was nothing they could do about it, so I have just lived with it for the past 6 years. and when I get them, usually when I get stressed i go to bed and they tend to last about 24-36 hours

That coupled with spondulosis and the pains in my back (since been on morphine it is like been kicked in the back constantly, instead of the feeling like I was been stabbed in the back consintly).

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Iolanthe said on 16 July 2012

I do so agree with Barnacle's comments that you don't necessarily get a headache. I used to suffer badly from full blown migraine when younger (with severe headache and vomiting) but it disappeared in my early-30's.

I'm now 75 and have just started getting disturbance of vision, problem with articulating etc. lasting 30 minutes or so, about every two weeks.. Thankfully, I now have no headache but do tend to feel a bit muzzy.

I've suffered for years from hayfever and sometimes urticaria (nettle rash). These are both allergies and it is thought by a large proportion of experts that migraine falls into this category too.

My optician and my doctor both think it's a recurrence of my migraine. Is there anything I can do about this? It can be very awkward, not to say dangerous, not seeing properly particularly if I'm driving my car or have arranged to drive somewhere.

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Angelllla said on 29 May 2012

I have just had my first Migraine attack and came here to look for advice. It started with a flashing in my left eye, as if I had been looking at a bright light for too long then progressed to almost like a Kaleidoscope effect in my eye, i could barely see anything, very worrying. I was at work and I decribed my symptoms to a colleague and she said it sounded like a migraine and her father suffered from them but he did not suffer any other symptoms. I waited for the blurred vision to go (around 20 mins later) and got on with my work. Around 30 mins after the vision cleared i started to get a headache on one side of my head. This headache spread right across my forehead and made me feel extremely nauseous and dizzy. I took two paracetamol and just had to sit with my eyes closed for a while. Another colleague then gave me two ibuprofen tablets and some water and again i sat with my eyes closed but the headache did not dissipate at all. Eventually after around two hours i got up and went for a short walk as the pain was just excruciating, the walk seemed to help a bit. After three hours the headache eased, not sure if this was down to the pain killers. I still now have a slight headache but it is bearable (five hours later) and i can get on with my work.. I was so worried when this came over me as i had not experienced it before. Having read some other comments i realise it is quite a common occurrence but am now left wondering what brought it on and whether it will happen again. Any advice would be really helpful - although reading through other sufferers comments has helped. :)

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James Ingram said on 20 April 2012

I have just had a migrain. Luckily i was able to catch it early on and prevent it from getting much worse, by using some strong pain killers. I keep them with me at all times as it is the only medication that has worked so far.

The medication was described for a severe pain after damaging my AC joint n an accident. I know i should not use this prescribed medication for this as it is not the intended use, but when i run out, i plan to go to my GP and explain the situation with the migrains, then ask for some more.

Causes:
I have just started going to the gym and using whey protein powder. I believe this to be a cause of my migrains as i have had two this week, compared to having 1 every 3-6 months.

I have also been told that full fat milk and processed foods can cause them.

There are also other factors such as tiredness, stress, dehidration and too much strong coffee.

These are just some of my suggestions based on experience, and so may just be specific to me.

Symptoms:
I usually start by having blind spots in my vision which start off very small and grow over a short period of time.
If i get a full blown migrain, symtoms go on to include severe headaches, vomiting and the inability to articulate how i am feeling to others. Sometimes i am also unable to recoginse written or spoken language. I often have to plan what i am going to say, and plan it in my head several times before i try to say it. Even then i'm not sure if it sounds right.

Thanks to the others here for sharing you experiences and i hope mine help some of you too.

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GB2310 said on 04 December 2011

In reply to Barnacle's: I have suffered from what I call migraines all my life (I am now 76). However according to the above "A migraine is a severe headache ..." (and to Wikipedia) I don't. I have never had any sort of headache..."
Your case is similar to mine, although I'm 55. So you are not alone but I am also concerned about whether my diagnosis is correct.
Suffice to say, these messages do not offer expert advice so I also question their use.

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mfjackson said on 16 November 2011

Im now 21 and from what ive been told, experiencing and read seems to be varied, but at the same time seems similarities do accur. Its seems that im having my first migraine attack, and from i've gathered, they can last upto 3 days, this has lasted upto almost a week. But some symptoms do not accur like what over have said so could it be more? like others, i get what is called an "aura", it comes very fast with my lower jaw going through what can only be described as extremely painful, vision in my right eye goes blurry, then comes the extrememly painful headache... what is most worrying is its at its most intense when i am sitting or lieing down, and will only go until ive stood up for a while. Does anybody else experience severe toothache and what to me seems like an attack when sat or lay down ???

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freshfuit said on 06 November 2011

I keep reading in reputable sources (as above) that the "headache stage" lasts up to 72 hours. However, this stage has often lasted up to five days for me. Does anyone else have this experience?

My migraines first started when I was in my mid-20s. They have gone through various changes since that time (I’m now 34). The attacks can be presaged by an aura or may just hit me out of the blue. If I catch it immediately, aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen are enough to completely avoid the attack. If I don't, or if I wake up with it, then the chance is gone. My triggers used to be certain cheeses, nuts, chocolate and wine, as well as not eating as soon as I felt hungry. Now, the triggers seem to be lack of sleep and/or stress. I spend most of the headache stage lying in a dark room, sleeping. For the first two or so days, I throw up everything I eat – I basically fight hunger and nausea in equal measure. This is a relatively new addition to my attacks. After the pain finally recedes, I experience about two days of postdrome, involving complete exhaustion. Again, this is new. It is used to be that the headache stage lasted a full five days, and ended with a euphoric feeling. These days, the attacks tend to last about three days and end with feeling grey, drained and exhausted.

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jessicalauren said on 28 July 2011

I've suffered from migraines since I was four and they started to get worse as I grew older, I was violently sick and I used to have to lie on the bathroom tiles for a few hours till it eased. I went to see my GP and she advised using mefenamic acid, I just take 2 when the migraine starts, she also prescribed me some tablets for the sickness called buccal tablets which I place on my gum when I'm sick. They work fine and I notice that I'm not worrying when I'm going to have another attack.

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Lynzy265 said on 22 July 2011

I have suffered with classic migraines since I was 8 years old. I've recently devoloped an over active thyroid which seems to have increased my attacks. I used to get them once every year or two. I've now had 1 a week for the past month. I've noticed that in the 2 or 3 days before I get a migraine I start to feel lethargic, my speech slurs and I get a tingling sensation down the left side of my head. Does anyone else experience these early warning signs? And is there anything I can do to stop the migraine from surfacing? Wouldn't that be nice!!

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barnacle said on 12 July 2011

I have suffered from what I call migraines all my life (I am now 76). However according to the above "A migraine is a severe headache ..." (and to Wikipedia) I don't. I have never had any sort of headache with my migraines so I must be very lucky or perhaps it's something else. However I do have a pronounced visual aura consisting of a scintillating curved zigzag in my visual field and a reduction in peripheral vision rather like a grey cloud. It all lasts about 30 mins with no other affects although it is rather unpleasant. I find it difficult to concentrate while I have an attack but not seriously - I completed this comment while having one. Is it a migraine? If so, then some of the information available is rather misleading. I am a little concerned because my frequency of migraines has greatly increased in the last six months and I should like to know why.

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kizzy231 said on 19 May 2011

i've been having migraines on and off for about 10 yrs,now i know when its about to start cos i feel a little throbbing on the right side of my head and i take some medication. unfortunately sometimes i dont realize on time and thats when i feel like blowing my head off.i always end up in my room with all the lights off and curtains drawn,even the little light from my alarm clock is very annoying.i know it may sound embarassing but sometimes i cry while waiting for the drugs to take effect.my saliva seems to be much thicker when i have my spells. i really hate it cos it makes me very unproductive and grumpy.i always feel like a new person when it stops. its a bit of a relief to know theres other people out there with the same problem. good luck to us all

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pinkmoon77 said on 15 April 2011

My 1st Migraine was when I was 17. I didn't have another until I was 24. They since have progressed to up to 5/6 a month. I suffer Migraine with aura. I get the flashes of light in my eyes, followed by blurred spots within the flashes folloiwed by tunnel vision. It usually takes one eye out 1st. I know it will be a bad ione if both eyes go. Within 30 mins, the pain on usually one side of my head is excrutiating. If both eyes have gone then the whole of my head feels awful. Paracetamol dont touch the sides. I used to take codiene but again, they partially dulled it. I was prescribed Zomig (A triptan) but then found out by taking it that I am allegic to triptans so it was a case of I am well and truely stuck in a hellhole here. I should add here that when I was taking paracetamol with codiene, I had to make sure that I took the tablets as soon as my eyes went otherwise, I lose feeling in my left hand, which travels up my left arm and then my speech becomes defected. Im really in trouble then. I was at the age of 31 eventually listened to and prescribed betablockers (Atenol) which really wiped me out and did nothing for my attacks. I am now 33 and under a neurologist and see them every 6 months. I have been taking Topirimate (Topimax) for the last 12 months. These are anti epileptic tablets which are licensed for my type of attacks. I have to be assessed every 6 mths due to adverse side effects they can have but.. I have to say, my attacks have declined in numbers and If I have one, a simple couple of paracetamol help. This medication I take each day. This was progressive and worth it even though the 1st 8 weeks on them was tough becuase they can make you feel down too. I know when I will get an attack these days unless I get a surprise... I dont have sugar in anything such as tea so if I wake up thinking I'll have a brew and go for the sugar.
This medication has made life bearable again.....

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Virgo4 said on 23 March 2011

I have suffered almost the same as Lumier. I had one to two migraines per year until two years ago and now they are happening almost every month sometimes more than one in a month. I get a blind spot , then a zigzag (can be in either eye) , limited vision for 30 mins then after this clears, a very painful pounding head plus nausea ....hate it.

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lumier said on 28 February 2011

I have silent migraine for 20 years it starts with a zigzag in my right eye within half an hour my right hand is numb my lips are numb and I lose my periferal vision. I can cope with this, its the dibilitating feeling I get for 2-3 days afterwards, the lethargy and almost depresion like feeling that really gets me down, I end up in bed for 2 days just because I feel so tired. I used to get them on average three times a year but for the past 2 years they are happening every month. I have always taking triptans as a cure but they cause me to feel hypersensative to heat and cold ie having to drink luke warm tea or water. Does any one else find this. I am so pleased Ihave found other people who have the same symptoms, it good to know that its not uncommon

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cazamerline said on 14 February 2011

I suffer with between 2-3 migraines a month now controlled by various medications. I suppose that I am fortunate that I suffer from visual auras (I lose my peripheral vision in my left eye and get zigzag lines and patterns) about 15-30 minutes before the attack will begin so I am able to get home/lie down and take my tablets before it gets worse and hopefully quell the attack before it starts (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't). I find it incredibly debilitating and am usually out of action for several hours at a time, the worst attack I had lasted for nearly 48 hours. I find the worst thing is people who know nothing about migraines and assume that a migraine is just a bad headache and cannot fathom why I cannot go to work, or why I have to leave work before the attack starts.

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ElleEff said on 28 January 2011

I suffer from silent migrane but I am also very sensitive to bright lights especially fluorescent which make me file quite ill. A couple of years ago I developed a slight visual impairment brought on by a migrane headache damaged some blood vessels in my brain after the spasm of the headache had released. Impairment is now there constantly but if I have a silent migrane it opens up from this visual impairment. Also noticed when awakening from dreams (which are vivid to say the least) that they close down into the same visual impairment. Could it be that the part of the brain which causes us to have migrane if awake causes us to dream if asleep. Could it be whilst in rem sleep the brain reacts differently and produces complicated dreams that it is unable to do whilst we are awake and when the dream part of the brain is activated if we are awakened the brain cannot deal with it and goes into spasm causing a migrane?

I would be interested to have some feedback on this theory.

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TankGirl said on 03 November 2010

Gardener74, yes like yourself I have experienced repeated auras - I think these tend to happen when I have not responded quickly to the first one. I get really angry and frustrated when this happens! I find it imperitive to swiftly ensure that all triggers are removed or avoided as soon as the first aura begins. For me, this means stopping whatever I was doing, taking painkillers and going to sleep in a dark room. My main trigger is contrasts of light - bright chinks around the edges of curtains or blinds or sudden glares of sun, particularly when driving, as the sun reflects off other cars or creates flashes of dappled light through trees at the side of the road. I find wearing polarized sunglasses really helps cut this glare and, after a particularly scary episode when I instantaneously lost most of my vision whilst driving, I now never go out in my car without them. I agree that the sense of unreality is very disturbing as are visual disturbances and I sometimes get quite irrational in my thoughts when I am experiencing a migraine but it is important to remember that these are only ever temporary sensations and you will recover each time.
If dehydration or overheating is a trigger, I find electrolyte powders (such as Dioralyte) are a very effective remedy.

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TankGirl said on 03 November 2010

Gardener74, yes like yourself I have experienced repeated auras - I think these tend to happen when I have not responded quickly to the first one. I get really angry and frustrated when this happens! I find it imperitive to swiftly ensure that all triggers are removed or avoided as soon as the first aura begins. For me, this means stopping whatever I was doing, taking painkillers and going to sleep in a dark room. My main trigger is contrasts of light - bright chinks around the edges of curtains or blinds or sudden glares of sun, particularly when driving, as the sun reflects off other cars or creates flashes of dappled light through trees at the side of the road. I find wearing polarized sunglasses really helps cut this glare and, after a particularly scary episode when I instantaneously lost most of my vision whilst driving, I now never go out in my car without them. I agree that the sense of unreality is very disturbing as are visual disturbances and I sometimes get quite irrational in my thoughts when I am experiencing a migraine but it is important to remember that these are only ever temporary sensations and you will recover each time.
If dehydration or overheating is a trigger, I find electrolyte powders (such as Dioralyte) are a very effective remedy.

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JJ101 said on 03 November 2010

For Gardener74 I have had migraines with multiple aura's, and the way you describe them is just the same for me. Usually I have just one aura and once that goes I get the headache but on a couple of occasions one aura has finished for another to start in 5 minutes, recently I had about 4 aura's one after the other, it left me off my feet for several days. Stress is a common cause of migraine, and getting stress out when an aura appears in my experience makes the symptoms much worse - I've found the best action is to sit somewhere dark and quiet with eyes closed and relax, concentrate on your breathing and staying calm - by doing this it has definitely reduced the severity of the headache which followes.

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JJ101 said on 03 November 2010

For Gardener74 I have had migraines with multiple aura's, and the way you describe them is just the same for me. Usually I have just one aura and once that goes I get the headache but on a couple of occasions one aura has finished for another to start in 5 minutes, recently I had about 4 aura's one after the other, it left me off my feet for several days. Stress is a common cause of migraine, and getting stress out when an aura appears in my experience makes the symptoms much worse - I've found the best action is to sit somewhere dark and quiet with eyes closed and relax, concentrate on your breathing and staying calm - by doing this it has definitely reduced the severity of the headache which followes.

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Gardener74 said on 23 October 2010

I tend to get the visual symptoms but with a stiff neck and tension headache afterwards, which responds to pain killers.
The last one I had was horrible It was the visual aura for about 30 minutes then it weant away and 10 minutes after that it started again but on the other side of my vision field and even worse!
For me the visual aura is the biggest and worst part of the attack. Some times before I feel a slight bit unreality for about 10 minutes. Then It starts with a tiny spot like when you have looked at a bright light, but can't quite shake off the glare spot. It then elarges to disrupt one half of my visual field and develops into different colours and looks like looking through a broken window. It usually lasts about 30 minutes foolwed a while later with a stiff neck and tension headache. I feel washed out and rattled after. They really terrify me, thinking I will loose my vision or something terrible will happen!
I staterted getting them in 2006 and as a result have developed panic attacks fearing passing out unreality etc but I am getting councelling for that. But this last one where I got two auras has really freaked me out and made me scared of going into town etc, which is so annoying because I was getting over my panic attacks :(
Has anyone experience having one aura after the other?

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Wiggie said on 25 March 2010

I absolutely agree about getting dehydrated and then suffering with migraines. Although mine are often linked to hormonal changes they can occur when I've been too busy to drink enough water. They can also be eased by drinking lots of water as suggested above. It is nice to see that my own diagnosis is also shared by someone else. Migraines are misery!

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Pricklyhead said on 07 February 2010

I have suffered from migraine headaches since I was about twelve years old. It has only been in the last few years that I have realised that most attacks occur when I have been concentrated so hard on my work that I have forgotten to drink some liquid. Each attack is usually preceded by a feeling of wellbeing, almost euphoria. The attack starts with visual interference which is minor for about two minutes. This then gets worse and I can't see or understand anything. If it happens to start when I am asleep, I will wake up with numbness down one side, nausea and headache that lasts for at least 24 hours. If I am awake, I can control the symptoms by drinking quite a lot of water and walking for about two miles (quickly). When I then rest, I have a dull headache on one side of my head but the full-blown migraine does not develop. Have had an attack today and know that it was only due to my own stupidity by forgetting to rehydrate that it happened. It is now three hours since it started and I have a slight one-sided headache. Please spread the word . . . keep hydrated, avoid migraine.

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