Most of the time when migraine symptoms are discussed, they are listed in order by how common they are. What we are going to look at today are some of the most debilitating migraine symptoms. While the order is subjective, you will no doubt agree that migraines are more than just an ordinary headache. We also want to provide our readers with hope that migraines don’t have to lead to disability or lifelong medication use, so we will also discuss a way of finding natural relief from migraine symptoms.
#1 A Throbbing Headache
This is by far the most common migraine symptom, and it can be one of the most debilitating. The throbbing headache that affects most migraine patients can range from moderate to severe. Strain often increases the pain making strenuous physical activity difficult if not impossible during an attack. In about two-thirds of cases, the pain occurs on one side of the head, but that means about a third of migraine attacks affect both sides of the head. The throbbing or pulsing sensation is a telltale sign that a headache is actually a migraine symptom.
#2 Sensory Sensitivity
This is the migraine symptom that sends most migraineurs heading to a dark, quiet room during an attack. Not only can bright lights, loud sounds, and strong scents trigger a migraine attack, but they can also make one that is in progress significantly worse. Even dim lights may seem exceedingly bright during a migraine attack, which is why sufferers seek dark rooms to recover. A normal sound, such as a loved one chewing, may suddenly seem to sound like a woodchipper being used. Even a normally pleasant scent, if it is too strong, could be overpowering during a migraine.
#3 Neck Pain
The fact is that most migraineurs don’t complain about neck pain – until you place it on a list of symptoms in a questionnaire. Then you suddenly have 75% of responders admitting that neck pain usually occurs either before or during an attack. In fact, an Italian study found that many patients who thought they were suffering from cervical pain syndrome were actually dealing with migraines. Why did the confusion exist? A few reasons include:
- Pain started in the back of the neck – Since most people associate migraines with headaches, pain starting in the neck caused patients to separate the symptoms.
- Pain was triggered by weather changes – Most people associate weather and pain to mean arthritis. However, weather changes are among the most common migraine triggers.
- Patients experienced dizziness or vertigo – While these symptoms are commonly associated with neck pain, they can also be migraine symptoms.
We’ll get into the link between neck pain and migraines again toward the end of our article.
#4 Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting can put a quick end to whatever you thought you were going to accomplish today. Combine this with sensory sensitivity, and you have the recipe for lying in bed in a dark room with a nearby bucket for emergencies. This is one of the most debilitating migraine symptoms. Fortunately, nausea is the more common of the two symptoms ,and most patients don’t actually reach the point of vomiting.
#5 Dizziness or Vertigo
Whether you get a feeling of lightheadedness and faintness or the feeling like the room is spinning, you’re probably not going anywhere for a while. No one wants to be up and active when it feels like he or she may faint at any moment. And vertigo (a false sensation of movement), can often make nausea worse, especially a severe bout. A person may not even be able to shake the sensation of movement when lying down with his or her eyes closed.
#6 Vision Changes
The vision can be affected in many ways by a migraine. We already discussed sensitivity to light, but other vision issues may include:
- Seeing flashing lights or zigzag lines
- Blurry vision
- Double vision
- Temporary loss of vision
- Pain behind one eye (this may affect your vision by forcing you to keep the eye closed)
Visual symptoms are most often associated with migraine with aura or ocular migraines. While aura will likely affect both eyes and occur 20-30 minutes before a migraine, ocular migraines will affect just one eye and occur with or without a headache.
Since sight is an important part of most human activities, this can be a particularly debilitating symptom.
Dealing with Migraine Symptoms Naturally
If you experience migraines frequently, you may be searching for natural remedies for migraines. While there are some self-care practices you can perform at home (i.e., getting enough sleep, not skipping meals, keeping a migraine journal and avoiding triggers), we want to introduce you to a natural way to be proactive about your migraine care.
The neck is related to migraines in a number of ways. For example, the upper cervical spine protects the brainstem, but a misalignment can actually put pressure on the brainstem and inhibit proper function. The cervical spine facilitates blood flow to the brain, but a misaligned cervical spine can have the opposite effect. In fact, when the C1 is out of alignment, it may prevent proper cerebrospinal fluid drainage and lead to intracranial pressure.
It makes sense then why upper cervical chiropractic care, a subspecialty of chiropractic, is finding much success helping reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. In fact, some patients even find that migraines are completely resolved after just one or two adjustments. To learn if you are a good candidate for this form of care, find a practitioner in your local area, and schedule a consultation.
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