The pain of a migraine is felt as an intense, throbbing pain in the forehead, temple, ear, jaw or even around the eyes. It usually starts on one side of the head, but may eventually spread to the other side.
Migraines are sometimes preceded by an aura that usually starts about 30 minutes before the headache starts. The following are symptoms of aura:
- Blind spots
- Blindness in part of your visual field
- Zigzag lines
- Flashing lights
- Numbness of the lips and arm
- Difficulty speaking
The migraine is often accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Low blood pressure
An attack usually lasts from 4 to 72 hours and may be incapacitating enough to disrupt daily activities
Reviewed by Dr Elliot Shevel, BDS, Dip MFOS, MB, BCh, Maxillo-facial and Oral Surgeon and Medical Director, The Headache Clinic, Johannesburg and Cape Town, February 2015.