Understanding The Different Symptoms of Migraines

Symptoms of migraines usually change over the course of your life. You may be prone to severe headaches that you recognize as migraine-related and also to one or more kinds of headache that you feel as "tension" or "sinus" headache. You may also have neck stiffness that you think is arthritis or some other, altogether different issue.

At the same time, you may have bouts of dizziness or fleeting visual disturbances, not necessarily associated with headache that you don't even relate to your headache problem. Yet all these symptoms may stem from migraines as it becomes activated to varying degrees and manifests itself in multiple ways at different times. These types of headaches can start from early childhood through old age. Onset of symptoms is more common earlier than later, often beginning in the teenage years or early adulthood and, in women, most notably around the start of menstruation, during pregnancy, or menopause. However, they can also present in toddlers with attacks of vomiting and falling down. Very young children may be unable to communicate their suffering and, instead, manifest migraine as irritability, fatigue, yawning, withdrawal, crying, or just appearing pale and sick.

Elderly people also can experience chronic daily headaches, dizziness or visual disturbances for the first time after decades of only occasional, "normal" headaches. As you go through life, migraine's symptoms are likely to change. Different kinds of discomfort might afflict your head, face and neck. Over time, you may experience varying degrees of autonomic dysfunction, or neurological symptoms that come and go, all stemming from migraine and reflecting its fluctuating trait.

When overall migraine activity rises or falls, or the pattern of symptoms shifts, there must be one or more reasons, but they may or may not be easily recognized. In fact, often no reason is identifiable.

Changes in your overall migraine activity reflect changes in the relationship between your threshold for activation and your trigger load. Rises in overall activity represent either a lower threshold (genetically preprogrammed to occur at a certain time of your life or brought on by a life event such as head trauma), increased trigger input (which may or may not be recognizable), or both. Less easily explained are shifts in the nature of their symptoms. The new appearance of flashing lights or dizziness but the general trend toward decreased headaches yet increased neurological symptoms in the elderly points to age-related influences.

When headaches get worse, or when you feel a new type of pain in a different part of your head, you may think that something more serious is going on. An unprecedented occurrence of brief, sharp pains in your head may make you think you have an aneurysm that is about to burst. The development of new neurological symptoms such as flashing lights, dizziness, or numbness and tingling of your face may provoke fear of stroke or multiple sclerosis. Therefore, it is very important to talk to your doctor immediately if you're concerned about increased or new symptoms...if for nothing other than peace of mind.


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