Wait…That Could Be Migraine? Surprising and Lesser-Known Migraine Symptoms.

By Molly O’Brien, Association of Migraine Disorders 

When you hear the word migraine, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? For most people, the answer is a bad headache. While a headache can be one major symptom, there are many other potential symptoms that can occur during an attack. 

“I’ve suffered greatly over the years –– a living hell with more weird, unexplained and scary symptoms than most could imagine.” – Chrissy

Migraine is a complex neurological disease that impacts nearly every system in the body. Migraine and its symptoms can impact vision, hearing, balance, the way you think and even your mood.

“It affects all aspects of my body, not just the physical. I feel like my migraine takes over my thoughts and emotions too.” – Lisa

Headache, nausea, and light sensitivity are the most recognized migraine symptoms, but people can experience many others. Check out these symptoms, you might be surprised they can be connected to migraine disease.

General Migraine Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Hypersensitivity to stimuli like touch, cold, heat, wind (allodynia)
  • Numbness and/or tingling in the face and/or extremities
  • Sensitivity to motion or motion sickness
  • Sweating
  • Temperature dysregulation

Migraine Symptoms of the Brain

  • Mood changes (anxiety, irritability, sadness)
  • Frequent yawning
  • Brain fog, trouble concentrating, short-term memory loss, inability to recall words 
  • Trouble understanding what people are saying
  • Food cravings
  • Trouble talking 
  • Confusion
  • Problems sleeping

Migraine Symptoms of the Abdomen and Pelvis

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating 
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Belching (burping)
  • Frequent need to urinate

Migraine Symptoms of the Face/Head/Neck

  • Throbbing or pulsating head pain on one or both sides
  • Facial pain or pressure behind the eyes, across the forehead, or in the sinuses
  • Neck pain or stiffness

Migraine Symptoms of the Ear

  • Persistent pressure or the feeling of blockage in one or both ears
  • A feeling of water or something crawling in the ear canal
  • Sound sensitivity
  • Hearing a hissing, ringing, pulsating or other noise that is not actually there (tinnitus)
  • Feeling off balance 
  • Discomfort or pain when your ears are exposed to wind or cold (allodynia)
  • Vertigo or dizziness

Migraine Symptoms of the Eye

  • Light sensitivity
  • Watery eyes
  • Visual disturbances – flashing lights, zig-zag’s, blind spots, colored spots, temporary partial loss of vision or double vision
  • Seeing an image repeatedly after you stop looking at it (palinopsia)

Migraine Symptoms of the Nose

  • Unexplained stuffy or runny nose 
  • Smelling odors that aren’t actually there (phantosmia)
  • Sensitivity to smells (osmophobia)

Migraine Symptoms of the Mouth

 1 in 7 people live with migraine disease. That means nearly everyone knows someone living with migraine. Please join us in raising awareness and showing your support! Participation is easy, post a photo wearing sunglasses to social media on June 21st with #ShadesForMigraine.

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