Migraine Symptoms

Migraine symptoms affect around 15% of the UK population and are most common in adults aged between 20 and 50, with the majority having a family history of migraines.

People who get migraines are completely symptom-free between attacks and have an average of around 1 migraine/year.

There are different types of migraine that come with a range of different symptoms.  The most common types are the so called “classic migraine” (migraine with aura) and “common migraine” (without aura). Other types of migraine include aura without headache and abdominal migraine.

The primary symptom of classic or common migraines is an intense throbbing pain, usually towards the front or side of the head that can last from anywhere between 4 hours to 3 days. Many migraine sufferers have other headache types as well e.g. muscle tension headaches and rebound headaches.

Classic Migraine with Aura

Around a quarter of migraine sufferers get warning symptoms within only an hour of getting a migraine. This is known as 'aura' and is a special type of feeling that a migraine is about to start. Symptoms may include:

  • Visual symptoms - flashing lights or zig zag lines in your vision, or the temporary loss of sight  in one or both eyes
  • Loss of coordination - you may feel disorientated, or off-balance with difficulty speaking
  • Pins and needles – often in the hands, neck and shoulders.
  • Raised or dull senses - you may become irritable, tired and withdrawn from people
  • Food cravings - especially for sweet foods

Other Migraine Symptoms

Other symptoms often accompany a migraine headache. These may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Poor concentration
  • Sweating
  • Sensitivity to bright lights and noise
  • Stomach ache and diarrhoea
  • Increased urination