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Is My Headache a Migraine?
Symptoms of Migraine Headaches
Screening and Diagnosis for Migraines
Treatment Options for Migraines
What is The Treatment for Moderate or Severe Migraines?
Alternative Ways for Treating Migraines
How Can You Prevent or Avoid Migraines?
What Are Migraine Triggers?
Prophylactic Medications to Reduce or Avoid Migraines
Types of Migraines
Cryotherapy:  Ice Relief for Migraine Headaches
An Optical Migraine FAQ
Migraines and Pregnancy
The Art of Massaging Migraine Headaches
Migraine Headaches and the Weather
Menstrual Migraines
Migraines and the Smoking Connection
Well-Known Migraine Triggers
The Migraine-Aspartame Connection
Stress & the Migraine Sufferer
Sexually-Triggered Migraines
Eye Problems & Migraines
Fragrance Migraine Triggers
Treating Menstrual Migraines
Migraine Treatment:  A Natural Approach

Symptoms of Migraine Headaches

Got an unbearable headache and you just can't explain where it came from?  Maybe it's not you're sinuses or the noise or the tension of the day. It could be a migraine headache.Migraine refers to a chronic condition of recurring attacks usually, but not always, associated with headaches. 

A migraine headache is usually described by the sufferer as an intense pounding pain involving one temple. In some instances, the pain is found in the forehead, surrounding one eye, or in the back of the person's head. Normally the pain is said to be unilateral, meaning it affects only one side of the head, although it can affect both sides in about a third of the cases. It's typical for these headaches to change sides, first striking one side, and then on the next attack, affecting the other side. Some common symptoms of migraines include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, cold hands and feet, facial pallor, and a sensitivity to sound and light. 

In about 40 to 60 percent of instances of migraine, the attacks are preceded by warning signs several hours or several days ahead of time. Some of these warning symptoms include irritability, sleepiness and fatigue, depression, euphoria, excessive yawning, and cravings for salty or sweet foods. 

About 20 percent of the time, migraine headaches are accompanied by an 'aura.'  This aura will precede the headache, although sometimes it occurs simultaneously with the migraine headache. Normally these auras are flashing lights, bright in color, which go in a zig-zag pattern. The other characteristic of the aura is that it is a hole in the person's visual field, called a blind spot. One other, less common aura, is one consisting of "pins-and-needles" sensations in the person's hand and arm on one side of the body. (In fact, some people, who don't know they suffer from migraines, might mistake the experience as the precursor to a stroke).Other auras sometimes include auditory hallucinations and unusual tastes and smells.

Some complicated migraines are accompanied by a neurological dysfunction. The body part affected by this dysfunction will be determined by the brain part responsible for the headache. A vertebrobasilar migraine is characterized by a dysfunction in the brain stem. Symptoms associated with vertebrobasilar migraines  could include fainting, dizziness, double vision. On the other hand, hemiplegic migraines are associated with a paralysis or a weakness in one side of the person's body--somewhat like a stroke.This condition is normally temporary, but sometimes might last for a few days.

It's important to remember to react appropriately to these symptoms. Remember that sometimes it's difficult to tell a migraine from a tension or sinus headache, unless you're carefully monitoring the signs and symptoms. In other cases, migraine-like symptoms can be associated with more serious conditions, even as serious as a brain tumor. Having said that, it would be premature to jump to a worst-case scenario, because in the vase majority of instances of headaches, a migraine is the worst-case scenario. Only a small minority stem from something more significant.

If you have questions about these symptoms, seek the advice of your doctor.

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