About Migraine

Background

A migraine is usually described as a moderate or severe headache pain, typically felt on 1 side of the head. Many people also have symptoms such as feeling sick, being sick and increased sensitivity to light or sound. Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around 1 in every 5 women and around 1 in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood.

Stages of a migraine

Migraine often develop in distinct stages, although not everyone goes through all of these:

  • Prodromal = Pre-headache
  • Aura = Usually visual problems
  • Headache stage = Usually a pulsating or throbbing pain
  • Resolution stage = When the headache and other symptoms gradually fade away

Symptoms of aura

About 1 in 3 people with migraine have temporary warning symptoms, known as aura, before a migraine. These include: visual problems, such as seeing flashing lights, numbness or a tingling sensation like pins and needles, which usually starts in 1 hand and moves up your arm before affecting your face, lips and tongue. Aura symptoms typically develop over the course of about 5 minutes and last for up to an hour.

Common symptoms

The main symptom of a migraine is an intense headache on 1 side of the head. The pain is usually a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that gets worse when you move and prevents you carrying out normal activities. In some cases, the pain can occur on both sides of your head and may affect your face or neck.

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