Virtually everyone suffers from occasional headaches, and migraines are a more painful and intense type of headache with several debilitating symptoms. Figuring out if you suffer from migraines may help you treat the condition and reduce the severity of these vicious headaches.
Four Stages of Migraines
Migraine headache sufferers may experience one or all of the four stages of a classic migraine, and awareness of these stages and symptoms is important for treatment.
The four stages of migraines are called:
The most pain from a migraine occurs during the attack; however, a variety of migraine symptoms occur in every stage.
Before the Migraine Attack
The earliest stage of a migraine is the prodrome stage, and this may occur a few days before the migraine. Some of the symptoms you may experience include:
- Neck stiffness
You may also feel depressed, start to crave certain foods, or begin yawning more frequently than usual. Not all migraine sufferers will experience any or all of these symptoms.
Experiencing the Aura
One of the signature symptoms of a migraine is an aura, and this symptom isn’t universal so only some migraine sufferers will experience it. An aura tends to last somewhere between 20 and 60 minutes, and symptoms may include loss of vision and speech problems like aphasia.
Additionally, the aura may cause the sufferer to feel a pins and needles sensation in the arms or legs, as well as vision problems that feature strange flashes of light, spots, and dark shapes that impede sight.
The Migraine Attack
The third phase of a migraine is the painful stage and may last anywhere from a few hours to three days. Some people have migraines several times a month while other people have them very infrequently. The location and intensity of migraine pain varies.
Some of the migraine symptoms that occur during the attack include:
- Pulsing or throbbing pain
- Sharp pain on one side
- Pain on both sides of the head
In addition, a migraine attack may cause nausea or vomiting, as well as blurred vision and lightheadedness. In some attacks, fainting may occur. Migraines may also cause heightened senses and sensitivity to noise, light, and smells.
After the Migraine Ends
Once the pain subsides from a migraine, sufferers often continue to feel impacted by the migraine, but the symptoms will vary for each person. Many people feel drained and tired after the migraine ends, but some people actually feel euphoria during the final stage.