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What are migraines?

A migraine is a specific type of headache that involves severe pain, often localized to one side of the head. Migraines can last from a few hours to a few days, and the pain can be bad enough to interfere with your daily activities. 

Some people who experience migraines will experience an ‘aura’ before or alongside the onset of a migraine. Auras can include visual disturbances such as blind spots, flashes of light, tingling in the body, or other symptoms the patient can become accustomed to if they have frequent migraines as a warning sign of an oncoming migraine attack. 

Medications can help to prevent migraines for some and are often most helpful if taken before the onset of a migraine, so for those who get auras, that can be a helpful indicator to take their medication. Of course, consult with your doctor to set up a treatment plan that is right for you. 


Migraines go through four stages. Not everyone who experiences migraines will experience all the stages, but these are things to look out for if you do experience migraines. The stages are: Prodrome, aura, attack, and post-drome.

Prodrome (one or two days before a migraine)

  • Constipation
  • Mood changes
  • Food cravings
  • Neck stiffness
  • Increased urination
  • Fluid retention
  • Frequent yawning

Aura (before or during the onset of a migraine, usually lasts a short time)

  • Visual abnormalities (seeing shapes/lights/bright spots)
  • Vision loss
  • Pins and needles
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Difficulty speaking

Migraine Attack

  • Severe pain – sometimes localized to one side of the head
  • Pain that throbs/pulses
  • Sensitivity to light/sound
  • Nausea and vomiting


After a migraine, some people feel drained and confused for a day or so. Others may feel elated and energized. Sudden head or neck movement can bring pain about again briefly. 


Much of this page was inspired by Mayo Clinic articles.

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