• 10 Early Warning Signs of a Migraine Attack

    Early Warning Signs of a Migraine Attack

    If you’re one of the 30 million Americans who suffer from migraines, you know how frustrating they can be. Since everyone experiences migraine pain differently, it can be difficult to define precise triggers, signs and symptoms of an attack.

    If you’re looking for somewhere to start, remain alert for these 10 common early warning signs. Known as the prodrome phase, some of these pre-migraine signs show up within an hour of getting a migraine while others appear up to two days ahead of time.

    Days in Advance

    You can think of the following warning signs as nothing more than annoyances or you can take a proactive approach and initiate your early treatment plan when you notice them cropping up. Here’s what to watch for:

    • Yawning: In the 24- to 48-hour period leading up to a migraine attack, you may find it difficult to resist the urge to yawn every few minutes. In a 2006 study, more than one third of participants reported uncontrollable yawning as one of the warning signs they experience in the prodrome phase.
    • Food cravings: Some people develop an intense craving for certain foods before a migraine attack. Chocolate is a common pre-migraine craving.
    • Fatigue: Even simple tasks such as walking up a flight of stairs can leave you winded if a migraine is on its way. Headaches that occur as a result of physical exertion could be serious. Contact your doctor to make sure you don’t have a different underlying cause, such as a brain aneurysm.
    • Thirst and frequent need to urinate: The desire to drink a lot of liquid, which results in the need to use the bathroom more frequently, is a sign of an impending migraine.
    • Difficulty speaking: Do you ever struggle to string words together and then experience a migraine a day or two later? The occurrences may be connected. If you’re experiencing speech problems for the first time, contact your doctor to make sure your difficulty isn’t related to something more serious such as a stroke.
    • Mood changes: If you feel irritable or depressed for no reason, it could mean a migraine will strike in the next day or two.

    Hours or Minutes in Advance

    • Sensitivity to light, sound or aromas: Some researchers suggest migraine sufferers have an overactive brain stem. Since this area is responsible for determining if stimuli in the environment are painful, over-activity can cause light, sound and even certain smells to trigger a migraine attack. Learn what triggers your sensitivity so you can avoid it.
    • Aura: Strange alterations to your vision – such as seeing stars, tunnel vision or blurred vision – may begin 30 to 60 minutes before a migraine hits and last five minutes to an hour. Auras usually go away completely a few minutes before the headache starts. If you experience this warning sign, it’s a signal you need to get yourself to a safe place before the migraine begins.
    • Pins-and-needles sensation: Tingling hands and feet or numbness in various parts of your body may accompany aura events or occur during the migraine.
    • Muscle weakness: If the muscles on one side of your body suddenly go limp, beware of an impending migraine. This symptom can also indicate you’re about to have a stroke, so call your doctor without delay to rule out this possibility.

    Treating Your Migraine Headaches

    Knowing when a migraine is coming is one thing; treating it and making attacks less frequent is another. Spinal Healthcare & Physical Medicine offers migraine headache treatments to:

    • Help you avoid your triggers.
    • Relax tight spots that could enable a migraine to occur.
    • Relieve nerve pressure.
    • Test for nerve damage that could be causing your condition.

    If you suffer from migraine headaches, the experts at Spinal Healthcare & Physical Medicine can help you find relief. Please contact us or call (260) 493-6565 for a free consultation.

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