Prodrome: Migraine Warning Signs
By Kerrie Smyres—September 19, 2012

As soon as I woke up yesterday morning, I was pretty sure a migraine was coming on. I couldn’t put a finger on the exact symptoms, but I felt “off” and sluggish. As a chronic migraineur, I can’t stay in bed whenever I feel “off” — I’d rarely be vertical if that were the case. Within five minutes of hauling myself out of bed, however, tears began streaming down my face, a sure sign a migraine is on the way. Although it doesn’t happen every time I have a migraine, I’m grateful when this prodrome symptom warns me so I can take a triptan and try to abort the migraine before it happens.

Tearing is the most reliable warning sign for me. Sometimes it is accompanied by yawning, but not always. Frequent sighing is often a predictor, though I also sigh a lot when I’m physically tired and it can be hard to tell which is which. Other prodrome symptoms, according to the Migraine Association of Ireland, can include:

Neck or other muscle stiffness
Feeling hot or cold
• Increased thirst
• Increased urination
Food cravings
Loss of appetite
• Yawning
Constipation
Diarrhea
• Fluid retention
Sensitivity to light and/or sound
Depression
• Euphoria
Irritability
• Restlessness
• Hyperactivity
Fatigue
• Drowsiness
Difficulty concentrating

These aren’t even all the possible vast and varied symptoms. Many people can’t pinpoint anything specific, but just say they feel “off” or “out of sorts.” What reliable symptoms signal a migraine is coming on for you?

Profile photo of Kerrie Smyres

About Kerrie Smyres

Now in her late 30s, Kerrie has had chronic migraine since she was 11. She's been writing about migraine and headache disorders on her blog, The Daily Headache, since 2005. Kerrie is also the cofounder of TheraSpecs, which makes eyewear for migraine and photophobia relief.

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