Headaches may be the most prevalent, destructive aspect of a migraine attack, but they don’t always come without warning. Some of the earliest symptoms of an approaching migraine may take you by surprise.
Migraines are a neurological condition which causes people to experience frequent migraine attacks.
A “migraine attack” actually refers to a variety of symptoms which occur in phases, over the course of several days.
The earliest symptoms of a migraine attack may begin the day before you experience headache, and end several days later.
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To learn how to manage your migraines, it pays to become familiar with these basic signals early on, in order to give yourself ample time to stop whatever you’re doing, take migraine headache medication, and plan an emergency exit.
Migraine: the earliest symptoms
The prodrome stage of a migraine attack may occur hours or days before you experience the first signs of headache. Some of the symptoms are so subtle that you may not even realize that you’re experiencing a migraine, not until it’s almost too late to treat it.
With practice, you may learn to recognize the initial symptoms of the prodrome phase of a migraine, so that you can be on the alert, take any supplements or medications that help to reduce migraine severity, and also try to avoid migraine triggers that can exacerbate symptoms of migraine.
Symptoms of a migraine prodromal phase may include:
- Food cravings
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings- depression, giddiness
- Hallucinatory scents
- Frequent yawning
- Brain fog, difficulty concentrating
- Increased urination
- Neck stiffness
What’s that weird scent? It smells like somebody burnt a bag of microwave popcorn, or spilled a bottle of nail polish…
Believe it or not, you may be experiencing the beginnings of a migraine aura, otherwise referred to as Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. Hallucinatory scents are just one of many unusual experiences some people can have during the early aura stage of a migraine attack, usually minutes before the headache strikes.
Not all people get the migraine aura phase- roughly a quarter of all migraine patients experience a stroke-like phenomenon during the earliest minutes of a migraine.
Aura symptoms may include:
- Hallucinatory scents, including chemical, smoky, or noxious fumes
- Visual disturbances, such as flickering lights, bright oscillating shapes, voids, loss of peripheral vision, and other vision problems
- Sudden speech slurring, inability to communicate
- Loss of consciousness
- Partial paralysis
Other phases of migraine attacks include the headache stage, and the recuperation phase- postdrome.
Read more about The Four Phases of Migraine Headache Attacks
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