Migraines: Yawning and Other Indicators of Impending Head Pain

Yawning and other indicators of impending Migraine

Migraines are an increasingly common problem. Just about everyone either knows someone who suffers from migraines or struggles with them personally. Migraines are the third most prevalent illness in the world. As many as 12% of the population, including children, suffer from migraines. This means in American alone, 18% of women, 6% of men, and 10% of children have migraines. Migraines are most commonly seen in the age range of 25 to 55. Every 10 seconds someone in the United States goes to the emergency department because of severe head pain. About 90% of migraine sufferers have a family history of migraines.

Migraines consist of a complicated collection of neurological symptoms which can include the following:

  • Severe pounding or throbbing head pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and certain odors
  • Tingling and numbness in the extremities or the face
  • Visual disturbances


Warning Signs of Migraines

Often our friends and family notice things about us that we ourselves don’t recognize. For example, we may be repeatedly performing a certain behavior indicative of a health condition and not even realize it. One of these things can be yawning. Migraine symptoms, such as yawning, are the clues that can help you find out a migraine is about to attack. If you look for these things, you may be able to stop the attack before it begins.

Migraines often come with something called a premonitory phase, according to a 2012 report published in the medical journal Cephalalgia. It is estimated up to 87% of people with migraines go through this stage. The symptoms associated with the premonitory phase can be reliable predictors that a migraine is about to occur.

A recent study pointed to yawning as being one of these symptoms. Yawning is a common symptom in both adults and children and this study confirmed the link between yawning and migraines. It looked at 339 patients. Of these, 45% reported repetitive yawning as part of their migraine attacks. As many as 11% reported yawning as a warning sign that comes on before the head pain. The remaining participants of the study reported experiencing yawning as either a symptom before or during the headache phase or both.

The study noted how yawning was associated with other symptoms such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sleepiness
  • Aura
  • Hypersensitivity to odors called osmophobia
  • Changes in appetite
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Cutaneous allodynia

Out of all of these, the ones most associated with yawning were aura and nausea and vomiting.

Researchers are theorizing that yawning may be linked to drops in dopamine levels. This may mean, for some patients, dopamine drops when a migraine hits. Another theory being explored is that yawning is related to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar levels have a complicated relationship with migraines and both have been seen to be associated with yawning and low dopamine levels.

Here are a few more subtle migraine indicators to let you know a migraine is about to happen:

Feeling exhausted

We all have tired spells. However, this is extreme exhaustion. Feeling this tired can indicate you’re about to have a migraine attack.

Going all the time

Feeling as if you have to urinate more frequently than normal – and it’s not due to drinking too much water, caffeinated drinks, a UTI, or certain medications – may indicate a migraine is about to hit.

Neck pain

Neck pain is not really a trigger for migraines but it can be a symptom that attacks may begin and are in the premonitory phase.  

Wearing sunglasses

If you feel the need to put on sunglasses, even inside, a migraine might be pending. The light may feel as if it’s blinding you even though it’s normal to those nearby. Fluorescent lights in a grocery store can it be extremely irritating.

Your nose works as good as a dog’s nose

No, this is not a superpower although it may appear to be. You may notice smells, such as gas fumes, garbage odors, cleaning products, perfumes, or food aromas, much more intensely than those around you

Noises echoing in your head

You may begin to hear things you wouldn’t normally hear or noises might be extremely irritating. Normal sound on the radio or TV can be very loud to you this is another indicator that a migraine is about to attack.


Finding Natural Relief for Migraines

If you suffer from this condition, you are probably searching for a way to cope with the pain. You will be comforted to know that upper cervical chiropractors have special training so as to help their patients manage the pain of migraines. Migraines are often linked to a misalignment in the bones of the upper cervical spine, such as the C1 and C2 vertebrae. If these bones move out of their original position, they can be putting undue stress on the brainstem causing it to send improper signals to and from the brain and body.

We use a gentle method to help these bones move back into place more naturally than popping or cracking the spine or neck. It is based on scientific measurements and specific points in the neck that encourage the bones to realign without the need for force. Studies have been done that have shown this type of care is very effective for migraine patients. One study observed 101 headache patients. All of them were noted to have a misalignment in the top bones of the neck. Upon receiving care from an upper cervical chiropractor, all of them saw some improvement in their headaches while the majority of them see their migraines go away completely          


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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.