A migraine is characterized by severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation in the head. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and interfere with daily activities.
A migraine may progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack, and post-drome. Symptoms common during the prodrome stage include constipation, food cravings, neck stiffness, mood changes, increased urination, fluid retention, and frequent yawning.
During the aura stage, patients may experience visual phenomena (such as bright spots, flashes of light, and seeing various shapes), difficulty speaking, vision loss, pins and needles sensations in the arm or leg, and weakness or numbness in the face or one side of the body.
A migraine attack can last between four and 72 hours if untreated. Symptoms common during this stage include pain on one side of the head (but oftentimes on both sides), throbbing or pulsating pain, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound, and sometimes smell and touch.
During the final stage of a migraine, an individual may feel drained, confused, and tired. Some people may feel elated. Pain may briefly re-appear after sudden head movement.
Migraines may be triggered by one or more of the following:
Migraines accompanied by any of the following signs and symptoms could indicate a serious medical condition: