Migraine Headaches

What are migraine 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.
  • headache phase - period during the actual headache. Throbbing pain occurs on one or both sides of the head. Sensitivity to light and motion is common, as are depression, fatigue, and anxiety.
  • headache resolution phase - pain lessens during this phase, but may be replaced with fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Some individuals feel refreshed after an attack, while others do not.


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