Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches affect more than 36 million Americans, according to estimates by the American Migraine Foundation. These powerful, throbbing headaches usually occur on one side of the head and can last from four hours to three days or more. They may happen rarely or several times a month. Migraines are often accompanied by other symptoms, including nausea and vomiting or sensitivity to light or sounds.

Stages of a Migraine

Prodrome

Subtle changes 24-48 hours ahead of time may warn of approaching migraine headaches. These can include mood changes, food cravings, increased thirst and urination and neck stiffness.

Aura

About 25 percent of migraine headaches have an aura 20 minutes to an hour before an attack. Auras usually affect vision, with sufferers seeing dots, lines or flashing. But they can include other symptoms, such as numbness in the face or body, slurred speech, uncontrollable jerking or hearing problems.

Attack

Pain will occur, usually on one side of the head, but sometimes on both, and can be accompanied by other symptoms.

Post-drome

Feelings of confusion and fatigue may last up to a day after an attack. Certain movements may trigger the pain to return briefly.

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