Severe symptoms often accompany migraine headaches

There are different types of headaches, including tension, cluster, sinus and migraine. Migraine headaches can be either with aura (often called classic migraine) or without aura (referred to as common migraine). Migraine with aura refers to nervous system symptoms, particularly visual, that come on just before or up to a day in advance of the headache.

Symptoms may include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seeing stars, lines, zig-zags
  • Tunnel vision

With this type of migraine you might also have:

  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • Yawning

During these attacks, some people also have difficulty finding the right words to say. These types of symptoms and the headache itself may come on frequently (almost daily) or several days a month, or there may be long stretches in between. Because of the severity of the types of symptoms, however, migraine with aura can be quite debilitating, causing the person to not be able to perform daily activities.

When you have a migraine without aura, or common migraine, a throbbing headache on one side or part of the head is often accompanied by symptoms, including dizziness, nausea and light sensitivity. The headache and symptoms may last for several hours or several days.

Migraines are thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Certain things may trigger migraines, such as processed foods and food additives, caffeine and alcohol, stress, environmental changes, and hormonal changes in women.

If you have migraine symptoms that are concerning you, it might help to keep a journal of when you experience the symptoms. This way when you talk to your doctor, he or she can better assess what’s causing your symptoms while also reviewing your medical history. Certain tests, such as a blood test, MRI, or CT scan, may also be recommended to identify or rule out other conditions.



The neurology team at Main Line Health treats and manages conditions such as migraines, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and more.

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