Migraine and Headaches

Migraines are different from other headaches in that symptoms other than pain occur. Migraines are also unique because they have distinct phases. Learn more about migraine and headaches ›

Symptoms of Migraine and Headaches

This throbbing type of headache is distinguished by the fact that symptoms other than pain occur with the headache. Nausea and vomiting, lightheadedness, sensitivity to light (photophobia), and other visual disturbances are common migraine symptoms.

Migraines are also unique in that they have distinct phases. Not all individuals experience each phase, however. The phases of a migraine headache may include:

  • premonition phase - a change in mood or behavior that may occur hours or days before the headache.

  • aura phase - a group of visual, sensory, or motor symptoms that immediately precede the headache. Examples include hallucinations, numbness, changes in speech, and muscle weakness.

Learn more about the symptoms of migraine and headaches

Could It Be a Migraine?

Take this health test to find out if your headache is a migraine.

Treatment for Migraine and Headaches

In order to get an accurate diagnosis it is important to be able to describe your migraine symptoms to your physician. It is helpful to track migraine occurrences (dates and times) and the details associated with migraines.

  • What time of day do the headaches occur?

  • What is the specific location of the headaches?

  • What do the headaches feel like?

  • How long do the headaches last?

  • Have there been changes in behavior or personality?

  • Do changes in position cause the headaches?

  • Do you have trouble sleeping?

  • Do you have a history of stress?

  • Is there a history of head trauma?

Procedures used to diagnose a migraine are generally used to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, some procedures that may be used include:

Learn more about treatments for migraine and headaches

Living with Migraine and Headaches

The idea of getting a premonition before a headache may sound farfetched or even supernatural to some. But if you've ever had a migraine, you likely know exactly what it means--the intense energy, fatigue, food cravings, and mood changes. You may even experience visual disturbances of flashing lights, zig-zag lines, or a temporary loss of vision. When you feel this "aura" coming on, you know what you're in for.

Learn more about living with migraine and headaches

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Did You Know?

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Which of the following is a treatment option for migraines?