When your headache is particularly severe, you may wonder if you’re dealing with a migraine. There are several ways to differentiate a headache from a migraine, but a good place to start is to learn about the symptoms of the latter. Below is a list of the 8 most common symptoms of migraines. Following this list will be some natural, recommended treatment options.
Table of Contents
This is the most prevalent symptom amongst migraineurs, occurring in about 85% of migraine episodes. This is perhaps the most defining difference between a migraine and a headache. Another interesting fact about migraines is they don’t always include a headache. However, it is the most common symptom, so the two often get confused.
The next most common symptom are sensory sensitivities with light sensitivity being the most common. Sound and smell sensitivities follow closely as being very common among migraine patients. Not only can bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells trigger a migraine attack, but these sensitivities along with the other symptoms of an episode can make for a miserable combination. This explains why so many migraineurs seek out a dark, quiet room when undergoing a migraine attack.
This symptom tends to be surprising for most people. In fact, doctors often do not ask about neck pain when they have a patient visiting for a headache. When listing migraine symptoms, this one often gets overlooked even though it commonly preludes or occurs during a migraine episode. Neck pain relief may actually be linked to migraine relief, which we will explain at the end of the article as we describe how neck pain and migraines are related.
This migraine symptom is more popular than the others. Sometimes it is the pain itself or a combined vertigo episode (common in vestibular migraines) that is causing the nausea. The combination can be unbearable. Most patients won’t be so nauseated that they actually throw up (see number 8 on our list), but this added issue does not make a migraine any more comfortable.
Approximately 3 in 5 migraineurs will have pain on one side. A popular myth that has circulated is that the main difference between a migraine and headache is that migraine pain only happens on one side. This is actually not true in over 40% of cases. A headache that wraps all the way around your head may still be a migraine if other symptoms match up also.
Several vision changes that could result from a migraine are blurred vision, double vision, or even temporary loss of vision. If it is an ocular migraine, the vision changes will only affect one eye. Vision loss typically lasts only 30-60 minutes, and an eye exam can confirm that there is no physical problem with the eye. It is important to understand that nearly half of migraineurs experience these vision changes, and they are not always combined with a headache.
Study results vary regarding this topic, but researchers found that an aura affects between one-third and one-fifth of migraineurs. Any time an aura is part of a migraine, it is usually means that the person is at a higher risk for associated conditions like clinical depression and general anxiety disorders. An aura is a series of visual symptoms that happen 20-30 minutes before a migraine. Someone experiencing an aura may see spots, wavy lines, or flashes of light.
Fortunately, this one is not very high on the list and is only a problem for a quarter to one-third of patients. Typically, having a migraine does not mean you will vomit, but it’s not a bad idea to keep a container close by during an attack in case you can’t make the journey to the bathroom.
If you have chronic migraines, or get them frequently enough that you are eager to find a permanent, natural solution, upper cervical chiropractic care could be the right option for you. Many people like yourself are looking for remedies that don’t involve medications and the unwanted side effects they bring. There are a number of lifestyle changes that can help alleviate migraine onset, for example, eating on a regular basis, exercising daily, avoiding triggers if possible, and sleeping 8 hours per night. When these steps are not enough, it is important to know what other options are available to you.
Upper cervical chiropractic is a specific kind of chiropractic care that specializes in the upper two bones of the spine. Practitioners take precise measurements using diagnostic imaging, followed by a gentle adjustment. These adjustments are unique because they are long-lasting, giving the body time to heal. An upper cervical misalignment like this can disrupt cerebral blood flow and brainstem function (both are contributors to migraine symptoms). Upper cervical chiropractic focuses on the underlying cause of the problem, not just the symptoms.
If you are having any of these symptoms, we strongly recommend upper cervical care as a possible solution. For more information, contact 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.