All headaches are not created equal. There are several different types of headache. The tension headache is often brought about by stress and eye tension from reading. Then there is the headache brought about by environmental conditions like barometric pressure or thunderstorms. Migraine headaches are probably the most dreaded and painful of headaches. These debilitators can take you out and they can occur without warning. How do you know if you are experiencing a migraine? Here are some ways to tell.
All headaches have pain but migraine headaches tend to be a pulsating pain on one side or both sides of the head. In one survey, 50% of the people surveyed said that they always have this symptom and 35% percent said they frequently have the symptom.
This is one of the most identifiable signs of migraine headache but not everyone experiences them. Aura can be visual like wiggly lines or flashing lights within your line of vision. However, they may be sensual like a pins and needles feeling in your arms and legs. They may also be speech-oriented like a speech impediment that goes away after a time. Some people actually have trouble speaking or forming words with this type of aura. Aura may also occur even though there is no pain from the migraine. These migraines are called silent migraine headaches.
Nausea and Vomiting
Migraine sufferers that experience nausea and vomiting have harder times finding relief than those who do not experience this symptom. One study reported 73% of migraine sufferers had nausea and 23% had vomiting.
Depression, Excitement, or Irritability
Mood changes are a frequent sign of migraine headaches. Some patients can feel down or depressed for no reason. Others report feeling very high. Researchers have stated that there may be a possible genetic link between depression and migraine. Also, having moderate or severe depression may increase the change from episodic migraines to chronic migraines.
Sleep is very important for a body to function properly. When sleep patterns are changed, the result can cause migraines. Research has linked the lack of restorative sleep with the frequency and intensity of migraine headache. Of course, it is difficult to get a good night’s sleep when migraines hit. This can start a vicious cycle since research has also shown that lack of sleep can also trigger migraines.
Stuffy Nose or Watery Eyes
This would not be such a likely symptom as some of the others. You may think that the headache you are experiencing is just a sinus headache. However, some people with migraines complain of stuffy noses, clear sinus drainage, and tearing eyes. Of one large study, 90 percent of patients who complained of sinus headaches were actually having migraines.
Some migraine sufferers complain of cravings before the migraine hits. Chocolate is the most common craving.
Eye and Neck Pain
Migraine headaches often burrow behind the eyes, mimicking eye strain headaches. Patients will think it is eye strain and will even get their eyes examined, but that does not deter the headaches.
Other people report that they get a stiff neck and then they have the migraine. Neck pain can precede a migraine, come after a migraine is over, or be a throbbing pain at the bottom of the neck as part of the migraine.
Frequent urination may be one of the many prodrome or warning symptoms that people experience before the actual migraine occurs. This symptom may come one hour or up to two days before the migraine hits.
Yawning is another prodrome or warning sign that a migraine is on the way. Unlike the “I’m tired” type of yawn, this yawning is excessive and occurs every few minutes. Migraine sufferers have reported that yawning was a symptom that preceded a migraine headache.
If an arm or leg goes limp, this could be a sign of an on-coming migraine. However, it could also be a sign of stroke, so always consult your physician in this case to rule out this possibility.
Vertigo or Double Vision
Basilar-type migraine headaches can cause dizziness, double vision, or loss of vision. Some people with migraines may also suffer a loss of balance. In a recent study, researchers discovered a link between dizziness or vertigo and intensity of migraine. The more intense the headache, the more likely this symptom was experienced.
After a migraine passes, many patients feel like their bodies have been battered. Patients frequently feel fatigued; they have trouble concentrating, experience weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, and loss of energy. This headache hangover is a common part of the postdrome phase of migraine headaches.
If you have one or more of these symptoms, your headache is most likely a migraine. Talk to your doctor about treatment options if these headaches are frequent and severe. There are also many alternative options that you can try that do not require any medications. Check them out so the next time you think you are having a migraine, you will be ready with some actions to take to help relieve the symptoms.