Migraine Symptoms: Common Types and Variations

If you’re suffering with the symptoms of common migraine for any length of time, then you know how debilitating they can be. There are several types of migraine symptoms, not everyone experiences these types of headaches in the same fashion. That is to say, because of how migraines come on and present, there are different patterns. In most cases, people that experience them do so as a child or before the age of 20. We’ll discuss some of the more classic migraines here. Then, you and your health care practitioner can come to a further conclusion about the nature of your headaches.

The actual classic migraine symptoms include a pain that is throbbing or pulsating in nature. This pain can be made worse with exercise and typically lasts anywhere between 4-6 hours or up to 3 or 4 days.  This pain is very similar to that of sinus headache symptoms and is something that needs to be considered, especially if you have just recovered from or are experiencing a bad cold.  There is a unilateral nature to this type of pain or symptom.  This is one main piece of information that can be helpful when creating a picture of migraine versus, say, tension headaches.  In the latter case, the pain is often bilateral in nature and more mild or moderate in degree.

Migraine Aura

The aura is a term that is used to describe the time before the onset of a migrane. These aura migraine symptoms can include any number of perceptual changes, pain and various symptoms. It is not uncommon to notice visual disturbances that may include: blurred vision, blind spots, wavy lines, flashes of light and sensitivity to light. It is also common to experience a sense of dizziness or nausea prior to the onset of a migraine headache. Tingling or numbness in the extremities is also another common symptom or aura. While most individuals with migraines do NOT have auras, it is certainly a common enough phenomenon.

Prodromal Stage

This phase leading up to the migraine is called the prodromal stage. This prodrome may be just a sense of premonition of an impending migraine. It may be what one experiences prior to any symptoms occurring. This can occur hours or days before the onset of a migraine and may include the following: feelings of intense emotions; depression or elation, drowsiness, thirst, cravings for sweet foods.

This may be somewhat ironic in that many migraine triggers include items that one might crave, like chocolate, rich cheeses, alcohol and tobacco, aspartame and other flavor enhancers. These triggers are not completely well-understood but may have something to do with their amino acid makeup that relates with similar neurotransmitters (serotonin commonly) in the brain and body.

This may also be why some individuals experience abdominal migraines. Because of the network of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides are in the gut as they are in the brain, it is possible that these same triggers and factors affect how the gastrointestinal system modulates. Children are often more commonly affected by abdominal migraine symptoms that must be ruled out from other GI diseases and symptoms related to the kidneys and other organ systems. Also, children that suffer with these are often more likely to experience migraine headaches later in life.

Migraine Treatment: Do I Need to See A Doctor?

One question that comes up in our office is often about when to see a doctor and what type of migraine treatment is available. If you’re suffering with headaches everyday, then you definitely need to speak with a professional. There are a lot of ways to address migraine symptoms that are outside of the traditional medical route. Migraine medications are not your only option.  In fact, even though much has been learned about them, migraine causes are still not well understood.

As a chiropractor Gilbert, AZ is as common a place to find people suffering from the ‘ordinary’ to unusual presentations of headaches – including migraines – back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia and everything in between. If you are at the point where you want a change, contact us to see if we can help you with your chronic migraine symptoms.


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