The typical signs and symptoms of a migrain headache are: the prodome, which happens hours or days before the migraine; the aura, which is what immediately precedes the migraine; the headache phase, and lastly the postdrome, which quite obviously is what occurs immediately after the migraine. The typical migraine consists of throbbing and can also be intensely aggravated by light and physical activity, and the pain may be bilateral at the onset or it can start on one side and then become generalized.
How to Relieve a Migrain Headache
There are many approaches available that you can take to relieve your migrain headaches, and this includes everything from herbal and home remedies to prescriptions and medications. Physical therapy is also considered to be extremely helpful for migrain headaches, and chiropractic adjustments to the upper cervical spine are also found to be incredibly effective. Stress management activities such as massage therapy and relaxation are also incredibly helpful, and they may also help to make attacks happen less often.
However the best method of all of course is that of prevention, and the best way to prevent migrain headaches is to find out what events or activities actually cause the onset of your migraines, and then you should obviously try to avoid these triggers or at least limit them as much as you can.
As well, if you have consulted your physician and they prescribed you medication for your migrain headaches, you must make sure that you take it exactly as prescribed in order for it to work properly. If you do happen to miss a dose, ask your doctor what you should do, and never use medications such as these improperly, as using them too often can in fact cause a condition called rebound headaches, and with this condition not only will your medication stop helping the existing migrain headache pain that you have, but it can also cause you to experience more headaches.
What are the symptoms of migraine headaches?
Migraine is a chronic condition with recurrent attacks. Most (but not all) migraine attacks are associated with headaches.
Migraine headaches usually are described as an intense, throbbing or pounding pain that involves one temple. (Sometimes the pain is located in the forehead, around the eye, or at the back of the head).
The pain usually is unilateral (on one side of the head), although about a third of the time the pain is bilateral (on both sides of the head).
The unilateral headaches typically change sides from one attack to the next. (In fact, unilateral headaches that always occur on the same side should alert the doctor to consider a secondary headache, for example, one caused by a brain tumor).
A migraine headache usually is aggravated by daily activities such as walking upstairs.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, facial pallor, cold hands, cold feet, and sensitivity to light and sound commonly accompany migraine headaches. As a result of this sensitivity to light and sound, migraine sufferers usually prefer to lie in a quiet, dark room during an attack. A typical attack lasts between 4 and 72 hours.
An estimated 40%-60% of migraine attacks are preceded by premonitory (warning) symptoms lasting hours to days. The symptoms may include:
depression or euphoria,
cravings for sweet or salty foods.
Patients and their family members usually know that when they observe these warning symptoms that a migraine attack is beginning.
An estimated 20% of migraine headaches are associated with an aura. Usually, the aura precedes the headache, although occasionally it may occur simultaneously with the headache. The most common auras are:
flashing, brightly colored lights in a zigzag pattern (referred to as fortification spectra), usually starting in the middle of the visual field and progressing outward; and
a hole (scotoma) in the visual field, also known as a blind spot.
Some elderly migraine sufferers may experience only the visual aura without the headache. A less common aura consists of pins-and-needles sensations in the hand and the arm on one side of the body or pins-and-needles sensations around the mouth and the nose on the same side. Other auras include auditory (hearing) hallucinations and abnormal tastes and smells.
For approximately 24 hours after a migraine attack, the migraine sufferer may feel drained of energy and may experience a low-grade headache along with sensitivity to light and sound. Unfortunately, some sufferers may have recurrences of the headache during this period.