Migraines are often described as a severe (and often unbearable) throbbing or pulsating pain in one or both sides of the head, often around the temples, front of the head, or behind an eye. Approximately 15-20% of migraine headaches are accompanied by a sensory aura, which is a particular sensation that, in adults, precedes the actual headache pain (children sometimes get the aura at the same time as the headache).
An aura can present in the form of a variety of sensations such as suddenly smelling a certain smell, seeing spots or zigzags, feeling a twitch, excessive yawning, numbness or tingling in the face or one part of the body, or even weakness on one side of the body. Some migraine sufferers even crave certain foods, such as chocolate, as their aura.
Migraine symptoms vary from person to person however they typically include nausea, vomiting, double vision, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, or smells. Migraines can also be accompanied by a loss in memory, altered thinking capacity, and altered speech.
Migraines can last anywhere from an hour to, in extreme cases, several days. Most migraines are severe enough that they cannot be ‘worked through’ and once the headache has passed a ‘headache hangover’ is often felt, which is a feeling of extreme fatigue, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. Neck pain may or may not be present during or after a migraine headache.
Migraine headaches are often run in one’s family familial (familial). Being depressed can also increase your likelihood of suffering a migraine headache, as can lack restorative sleep or having chronic sinus problems. Migraines are more common in women than in men.