Migraine Symptoms

Migraine Symptoms With or Without Aura

The major difference between the two types of migraines is the appearance of an aura 10 minutes to 30 minutes before the headache begins. A person who suffers from migraines with aura may have one of several of the following symptoms:
  • Flashing lights or zigzag lines
  • Slowly spreading blind spots
  • Temporary loss of vision
  • A spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Double vision
  • Speech difficulty
  • Tingling of the face or hands
  • Weakness of an arm or leg.

Prodrome Symptoms

It is believed that up to 60 percent of people with migraines may have vague prodrome symptoms (regardless of whether they also have an aura) several hours or even several days before the onset of the headache. These prodrome symptoms may include:
  • Mental fuzziness
  • Mood changes, including irritability, restlessness, or depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Unusual retention of fluids.

How Frequent Are Migraine Symptoms and How Long Do They Last?

Both classic and common symptoms of migraine can strike as often as several times a week, or as rarely as once every few years. However, more than 50 percent of people experience no more than one headache per week.
Both types of migraines can occur at any time. Some people, however, experience migraine symptoms at predictable times. For example, some people may have migraine symptoms near the days of menstruation or shortly after or just before a period of psychological stress -- such as every Saturday morning after a stressful week of work.
Left untreated, migraines can last from less than 24 hours (in up to 50 percent of people) to as long as 3 or 4 days.
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