A migraine headache occurs when you experience intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation in one area of the head. It is commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. When experiencing a migraine you may be in pain for hours to days. Some migraines are so severe that all you can do is lie down in a dark room.



There are four stages that migraines typically progress in, but you may not experience all of the stages.

  • Prodrome: one or two days before a migraine

    • Constipation

    • Depression

    • Food cravings

    • Hyperactivity

    • Irritability

    • Neck stiffness

    • Uncontrollable yawning

  • Aura: before or during a migraine

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

    • Vision loss

    • Pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg

    • Speech or language problems

  • Attack: during a migraine

    • Pain on one side or both sides of your head

    • Pulsating or throbbing pain

    • Sensitivity to light, sounds and sometimes smells

    • Nausea and vomiting

    • Blurred vision

    • Lightheadedness, sometimes fainting

  • Postdrome: after a migraine

    • Feeling drained


How to treat before seeking medical advice:

Take pain medicine such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen (Aleve).