A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on just one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and can be so severe that the pain is disabling.

Warning symptoms known as aura may occur before or with the headache. These can include flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling on one side of the face or in your arm or leg.

Medications can help prevent some migraines and make them less painful. Talk to your doctor about different migraine treatment options if you can't find relief. The right medicines, combined with self-help remedies and lifestyle changes, may help.


Symptoms
Migraines often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. Migraines may progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, headache and post-drome, though you may not experience all stages.


Prodrome
One or two days before a migraine, you may notice subtle changes that warn of an upcoming migraine,including:


  Constipation
  Mood changes, from depression to euphoria
  Food cravings
  Neck stiffness
  Increased thirst and urination
  Frequent yawning

Aura
Aura may occur before or during migraines. Most people experience migraines without aura.

Auras are symptoms of the nervous system. They are usually visual disturbances, such as flashes of light or wavy, zigzag vision.

Sometimes auras can also be touching sensations (sensory), movement (motor) or speech (verbal) disturbances. Your muscles may get weak, or you may feel as though someone is touching you.

Each of these symptoms usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes and lasts for 20 to 60 minutes. Examples of migraine aura include:

  Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light


  Vision loss


  Pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg


  Weakness or numbness in the face or one side of the body


  Difficulty speaking


  Hearing noises or music


  Uncontrollable jerking or other movements

Sometimes, a migraine with aura may be associated with limb weakness (hemiplegic migraine).


Attack
A migraine usually lasts from four to 72 hours if untreated. The frequency with which headaches occur varies from person to person. Migraines may be rare, or strike several times a month. During a migraine, you may experience:

  Pain on one side or both sides of your head


  Pain that feels throbbing or pulsing


  Sensitivity to light, sounds, and sometimes smells and touch


  Nausea and vomiting


  Blurred vision


  Light headached, sometimes followed by fainting

Post-drome
The final phase, known as post-drome, occurs after a migraine attack. You may feel drained and washed out, while some people feel elated. For about 24 hours, you may also experience:

  Confusion
  Moodiness
  Dizziness
  Weakness
  Sensitivity to light and sound