Early Signs and Symptoms of a Migraine Attack
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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!

Ten or more people said that they experience 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

Some 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.
  • I get the yawning. And one eye will water constantly 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? This is the oddest symptom I get, and I swear if I am in the ladies like all day, I get a migraine, a bad one, within 36 hours.
  • I yawn like crazy! I always have to apologize, my nose and cheeks get cold and 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. 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

  • 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, back of head and neck get stiff and sore, and I get super human smelling and hearing…. everything intensifies before a migraine and during and as it eases away.

 My vision is affected

  • Blurred vision and an aura.
  • 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 is that I cant read my books.
  • I get irritable, spacy, change in vision (every thing seems brighter or duller), visual disturbances (spots that i can not see through), lessened energy, confusion, weakness and disorientation.
  • Blurry vision…difficulty speaking & processing info.
  • Mine start 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.


I have a lot of neck pain/stiffness

  • Sore joints, especially back and neck, irritable (my poor family), clumsiness, forgetfulness, crippling headache, sensitive eyes.
  • 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 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. 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 had my first one in almost 2 years!

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

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