Portraits of people exhibiting different early migraine symptoms like yawning, watery eyes, neck pain, and numbness

Early Signs and Symptoms of a Migraine Attack

As we know, people with migraine experience a vast number of symptoms during a migraine attack, and every person's experience is unique. In addition to actual symptoms during an attack, migraineurs may also encounter specific signs that an attack is on the horizon. We asked our Facebook community if they have any unusual early migraine signs, and over 300 people responded!

Top warning signs of migraine

Ten or more people said that they experienced the following before a migraine attack:

  • Yawning
  • Watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Neck pain/stiffness
  • Sensitivity to smells
  • Mood swings
  • Food cravings/hunger
  • Vision changes
  • Numbness/tingling
  • Nausea
  • Auras
  • Sensitivity to lights
  • A cold nose
  • Eye pain
  • Fatigue

Other symptoms

Other commonly reported symptoms were difficulty concentrating, slurred speech, hiccups, sweating, droopy eye, tasting metal, frequent urination, jaw and/or eye pain, runny nose/sinus pressure, thirst, and muscle tightening.

Here are some of the comments from the members of our Facebook community:


I yawn a lot.

    • Yawning is a big signal...another of mine is the inability to listen to whoever is talking. I drift off and find it irritating.

Asian man yawning

    • I get the yawning. And one eye will constantly water until I'm in full-fledged migraine status. I am sensitive to smell as well.
    • Yawning, watery eyes, vision changes, irritability, sometimes it just appears ugly unexpectedly.
    • Thanks for sharing all of this. I get the yawning too. It took me a long time to put it together with migraine. It's very distracting. Sometimes I get the sweats. Does anyone, ummmm, urinate a LOT? It is the oddest symptom I get, and I swear if I am in the ladies' room like all day, I get a migraine, a bad one, within 36 hours.

White man with watery eyes

  • I yawn like crazy! I always have to apologize, my nose and cheeks get cold, and my eyes go a little funny. Lately, I smell smoke. The back of my head and neck go rigid. I have been using Tiger Balm to help. Sometimes I have to wrap myself in multiple blankets. I have yawning too. Never heard of anyone else with the same issue. Yeah. I am not crazy.
  • Yawning, watery eyes, and Super Smell!
  • Yawning is a big thing with me, also. It took a while to figure it out, but now when I yawn, the people at work say, "Uh oh, are you getting a migraine?" They notice it before I do!


Nausea is a big signal for me.
Older white woman with cold nose

  • I get extremely nauseous. The back of my head and neck get sore. I get extremely cold and cannot get warm.
  • Nausea, yawning & hiccups.
  • Nausea & taste of metal in my mouth before migraine even hits.
  • I get that nausea feeling, the back of my head and neck get stiff and sore, and I get superhuman smelling and hearing.... everything intensifies before a migraine and during and as it eases away.

Vision changes

My vision is affected.

    • Blurred vision and an aura.

White woman with eye pain

    • Sharp pain behind my left eye, always left? Then noises, light, and smells get more intense right before it hits. But once I have a migraine, I can't sit still, or my whole body throbs. I know my blood pressure is high at the time due to the pain. So until the pain eases, I pace and pace.
    • Sore eyes, nausea, irregular heartbeat, trembling hands, and much more. To me...the real pain and sadness are that I can't read my books.
    • I get irritable, spacy, change in vision (everything seems brighter or duller), visual disturbances (spots that I can not see through), lessened energy, confusion, weakness, and disorientation.

Older man with mood swings

  • Blurry vision...difficulty speaking & processing info.
  • Mine starts with sore eyes. My neck starts to bother me. I can feel the pressure thing as well, Angela. But mine usually start between my eyes and neck at the same time and eventually meet in the middle, then I get the pressure feeling.
  • Never noticed yawning...But I will get a warning of seeing auras and other visual things like little "shooting stars" across.
  • I get a sharp pain in my right eye, then white spots, then down for a few days. I get anywhere between 3 to 6 migraines a week.

Neck pain and stiffness

I have a lot of neck pain/stiffness.

    • Sore joints, especially back and neck, irritable (my poor family), clumsiness, forgetfulness, crippling headache, sensitive eyes.

Southeast Asian woman with neck pain

  • My neck becomes very painful, which for me means a migraine the next day
  • For me, usually the night before, I get these really bad pains in the back of my head on the left side. Then the next day, I have a killer migraine that knocks me out of my daily life. I also see spots and lights.
  • Neck pain. It feels like I slept wrong, and then it feels like I have a giant weight on top of my head, compressing my neck. I used to get them at the very least once a month. Since I started MM, I have had my first one in almost two years!

Do you encounter any unique symptoms before you get a migraine? Please share your experience with us in the comments!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.