If you are dealing with bad headaches, you may be wondering if your problem is actually migraines. While there are many migraine and headache differences, the best way to determine if your headaches are actually migraines is to consider a list of migraine symptoms. We’re going to take a close look at the 8 most common migraine symptoms in descending order. Then we will look into natural remedies for migraines.
Table of Contents
You may be surprised to find that a pulsing headache is only a symptom in about 85% of migraines. That’s probably the biggest migraine and headache difference. A migraine doesn’t have to include a headache. It is the most common symptom though, so it is understandable that the two get confused sometimes.
Sensory sensitivities are the next most common symptom. While light sensitivity is the most common of the three, sound and smell sensitivities are also very common for migraine patients. Bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells don’t just trigger migraine episodes, but they are also miserable for someone who is in the middle of an attack. It is no wonder that many migraineurs seek out a dark, quiet room during an episode.
This is the one that surprises most people. In fact, doctors will rarely ask headache patients if they are experiencing neck pain. Many lists of common migraine symptoms leave this one out because it wasn’t even a part of their study. However, this is the third most common migraine symptom, it often occurs either before or during the migraine, and it may point to a natural way to get relief from migraines as we will discuss at the end of our article. For now, just know that neck pain and migraines are related.
This is one of the migraine symptoms that patients know best. Whether it is the pain itself causing the nausea or the patient is also experiencing vertigo (common in vestibular migraines), nausea certainly makes a painful episode even more difficult to deal with. Fortunately, the majority of patients don’t get so nauseous that they actually throw up (see number 8 on our list), but it still adds to the discomfort and disabling effect of migraines.
Here’s another shocker for most people. Only about 3 in 5 migraine patients have pain on one side. You may have previously heard that this is the main migraine and headache difference – that migraine pain is just on one side. However, this is not the case in over 40% of patients, so don’t be fooled. That headache that reaches all the way around your head could still be a migraine if some of these other symptoms match up as well.
There are numerous vision changes that a migraine patient may experience including blurred vision, double vision, or even temporary loss of vision. If a person experiences ocular migraines, the vision changes will just be in one eye. Vision loss usually only lasts about 30-60 minutes. An eye exam can rule out a physical problem with the eye. Just keep in mind that almost half of migraine patients experience these vision changes and that you don’t have to have a headache during an ocular migraine.
Depending on the study you are referencing, aura is experienced by anywhere between a third and a fifth of migraineurs. Migraine with aura holds with it a higher risk for associated conditions like clinical depression and general anxiety disorders. What is aura? It is a series of visual symptoms that occur 20-30 minutes before a migraine. Visual symptoms may include seeing spots, wavy lines, or flashes of light.
Fortunately, this appears lower on our list and only affects a quarter to a third of patients. In fact, even if you get migraines, you may not vomit every time. It is a good idea to keep a bucket nearby during an attack though. Keep it by the bed when you head to a dark, quiet room just in case you need it and can’t make it to the bathroom.
If you get migraines on a regular basis, you may have been prescribed numerous medications that have varying degrees of benefit and many unwanted side effects. As a result, many people are searching for natural remedies for migraines. Self-care at home can include lifestyle changes like eating on a regular schedule, exercising daily, avoiding triggers when possible, and getting 8 hours of sleep per night. However, we would like to introduce you to something else that many people are finding effective – upper cervical chiropractic care.
What is upper cervical chiropractic? It is a specialized type of chiropractic that is focused on the top two bones of the spine. Precision measurements are taken using diagnostic imagining, and then gentle adjustment are tailored to each patient’s needs. This results in long-lasting adjustments that give the body time to heal from the effects of an upper cervical misalignment such as inhibited cerebral blood flow and brainstem function (both are common factors in migraine occurrence). Thus, upper cervical chiropractic attacks the root of the problem rather than the symptoms.
If you are experiencing migraine symptoms, especially if you have a history of head or neck trauma, we encourage you to give upper cervical care a try. To learn more, find a practice in your local area by using the Upper Cervical Awareness search feature.
The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.