I Know a Migraine Attack is Coming on When…

I Know a Migraine Attack is Coming on When…

  • The waist of my pants or my bra strap suddenly feels too tight
  • My left ear itches then starts to ache
  • It feels like there’s something in my left eye
  • My teeth become ultra sensitive
  • I slump over in my seat, unable to hold myself upright
  • I yawn uncontrollably
  • My eyes water
  • My feet get cold
  • I cannot remember simple words
  • I lose my train of thought repeatedly
  • I cannot comprehend or follow an article or discussion I would normally be able to understand just fine
  • I get clumsy, dropping things and walking into walls
  • I make typos because I can’t get my fingers to hit the correct keys on the keyboard
  • A simple task like taking out the trash or getting up to get ready for bed feels impossible
  • Lights seem too bright
  • Sounds seem too loud
  • Odors seem overwhelmingly (and disgustingly) strong
  • I hallucinate odors
  • My vision gets blurry
  • My smile becomes lopsided

Without a visual aura, it can be hard to tell when a migraine attack is coming on. These symptoms let me know what’s on the way before the pain hits. Not every one is present in every attack, but at least a few sound the alarm in time for me to take acute meds when they are most effective. Your indications of an oncoming attack may be different or less numerous, but you likely have them, too. Even if you’ve identified some, you may have more that you’re not aware of. It took me ages to uncover all mine… and I bet I’m still missing some. I’ve shared my list in the hope it might help others find their own migraine warning signs.

How do you know when a migraine is coming on? Please leave a comment to add yours to the list.

P.S. Many of you have asked about frequent urination—yes, it’s a migraine warning sign for a lot of people!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


View Comments (85)
  • glassmind
    1 week ago

    Yes to all those except yawning. And I get visual aura for some migraines.

  • margaret fiedler
    2 months ago

    Didn’t know anyone experienced the clothing tightness!!! I have all these symptoms listed except the itchy ear! And I have an uncontrollable urge to eat constantly :(.
    My nose also turns very cold. As does my left foot. Crazy symptoms! Thanks for sharing.

  • Mixi
    1 year ago

    It’s hard for me; I have no aura…….. maybe à stiff neck with pain. After that comes many symptoms and it’s already too late to stop the migraine path. All I can do is take my triptan and go to bed for 4 – 5 hours.

  • Lisahollybeth
    3 years ago

    The day before I get really really hungry… Even when I’ve just eaten. And then I’m at the toilet a lot… Then yawning… Then very lethargic… However – had my Diath pierced in February and been ok so far (touching wood as I type!!)

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi there Lisahollybeth,

    I am so happy to read that your daith piercing has seemed to have brought you some relief! Truly hope you continue to experience positive results! Thanks for taking the time to comment! Be sure to check back in when you can & let us know how things are going.

    Take care,
    Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • katdan1026
    3 years ago

    My tinnitus gets super loud, I lose part of my hearing, have trouble remembering words, stumble over words, feel dizzy, and my face and ears feel like they are being squeezed in a vice right before it hits.

  • Julie
    3 years ago

    I know I’m getting a migraine when I instantly start hating everybody and everything and feel like crying for no reason.

  • 3 years ago

    Anyone out there smell phantom odors? Or has what I call hypersmell (in that, I can smell real odors before others do, or when others can’t, but the odor is really there after all)? I have this so often, I’m not sure its a precursor to Migraine. I definitely have louder tinnitus, dullwittedness(stupidity), clumsiness and brain fog prior to a migraine episode. Very few days a month when I’m joyfully sharp, clear-headed and pain free…

  • weary survivor
    3 years ago

    I was sexually abused by my father and another person about age 9. My mother was neglectful of me and another woman would fondle my breasts. When in college, I got in trouble with a professor. Following that, my boss offered to give me a ride home from work but he took me to his house. He was furious with me that I was scared and insisted he take me home. My headaches began on that day with terrible vomiting. Eventually I had to leave school. My headaches always begin in my ear (was left for years, now it is the right. Am mildly nauseous and wish my ear would throw up. Feel very dizzy and have trouble focusing. Head feels awful (sick) if I try to turn it. Have history of daily migraine for about two months, then about 10 days of an absolutely clear head. Then starts up again. I am a very happy person (now 74 years old)who has worked thru the awful repercussions of sexual abuse but the headaches never went away, although I did have a brief reprieve from them, they are back again. Venlafaxine (Effexor) helps me tremendously. Summavel Dose Pro also helps. This is a very difficult way to live.

  • lauraax
    3 years ago

    I will get really agitated and have mood swings usually 2/3 days before my migraine I also just feel poorly not right in myself I get really lethargic also

  • Not_faking_it
    3 years ago

    I have found that artificial sweetners,flowery smelling perfumes, musky smelling colognes, certain sounds (usually high pitched), and certain spices can trigger a migraine. I have been hospitalized 4 times because of severe migraines. My worst episode hospitalized me for 10 days. My head felt like it was going to explode. I lost my job because of it. I am still bitter about it. I have a different job now.

  • Not_faking_it
    3 years ago

    I know a migraine is coming when I feel numbness in the back of my head followed by feeling very agitated. I’m not very nice when I have a migraine. I get angry very easily.

  • kmiller5537
    3 years ago

    Prior to a migraine I get hiccups. I never get hiccups otherwise. My neurologist told me its the first time in his 30+ yrs practicing he’s ever seen it as a prodrome to a migraine. (I have other symptoms, but hiccups are the most odd/stand-outish)

  • Tiki
    3 years ago

    Clarification on my previous post: my migraines are constant. When I’m asleep is the only time I don’t feel them.
    Moral of the story is don’t get hit by high voltage power lines.

  • Tiki
    3 years ago

    I know a migraine is coming on when I’m conscious.

  • flyingdragon
    3 years ago

    So many of those symptoms I had at one time or another. Also driving is very uncomfortable, my back starts hurting real bad.

  • Busyangels
    3 years ago

    So glad I found this site! I often get a metallic taste in my mouth, my temple and above my eye burn, not pain but burning. I have had them since I was 5 but none while nursing or pregnant. The only thing that works is maxalt or imitrex. Worse lately but my allergies often trigger my migraines. My worst migraines are after stress or a food allergy (pork of any kind, red dye, aged cheese) caffeine actually helps as does a hot cloth on my head. Don’t know how people do the ice packs, makes my head hurt thinking about it!

  • ALloyd
    3 years ago

    My pupils become unequal prior to my migraine. Being an ER RN this becomes concerning for my coworkers who notice it prior to me noticing it and they are very relieved when I tell them it’s a migraine and I’m not going to have a cerebral infarct. 🙂 Or, not yet.

  • Pat
    3 years ago

    My pupils also become unequal (Aniscoria) prior to a migraine. Often times it will occur a day or more before I get one. It totally freaks out the doctors I’ve had in the past. I too am an RN, but retired now. It sounds strange, but I’m somehow relieved to hear that someone else has the same symptom. Up until now, I haven’t seen or heard of anyone experiencing this. I found it in a review of literature probably 15 years ago.

  • Mansi Choksey Vyas
    3 years ago

    Hi everywhere. I have been suffering from Migraine from the past 10 odd years. I think I have hormonal migraine. The one which usually comes few days before the period, goes when on periods and comes again few days after period. SO basically for almost 6-10 days in a month I have migraine. Apart from hormonal changes, heat, stress, lack of sleep, changes in eating patterns also contributes to it. I generally get one sided pain in my head. Sometimes the pain extends to my jaws and teeth and i even feel that the back of my eye hurts. I yawn too much, feel weak and very lost. Light, sound and odour sensitivity is at max that time. Irritability is also very high.Become clumsy, simple tasks like reading or concentrating becomes too much for me. Neck pains are also prominent.The worst feeling is feeling sleepy + nausea + pain in the head.. Just dunno what to do. If this happens late in the evening or after that i just goto sleep without eating anything. infact i also get back pains during migraine. Reading so many comments here I feel there is someone who feels the same like I do 🙂

  • KellieR1069
    3 years ago

    When I blink and suddenly feel like someone just flashed a bright light in my eyes. It moves, either from one side to the other or starts in the center and spreads outward becoming clearer in the center with no peripheral vision. Like looking through a small tube. I get about 15 to 30 minutes after the onset of these before pain, nausea, photophobia begin to some degree.

  • 3 years ago

    Imitrex or Relpax save me and I am allowed 9 per month. Definitely give it a try. I have become chronic in the last 4 years. I used to have your symptoms, and still do, prior to really bad attacks. But mine have changed to mostly relentless head aches with other symptoms such as chills, depression, nausea, phantom odors, loud tinnitus, phantom voices, forgetfulness, earache, dizziness, I could go on…but for me, the magnesium seemed to help. Not the calcium so much. That seemed to make it worse for me. Don’t give up on the magnesium just yet.

  • KellieR1069
    3 years ago

    Oddly, I have just started taking magnesium and calcium supplements. And today I experienced my first double migraine. I woke up and within 10 minutes experienced an aura (one side to the other). I took the herbals I would normally take, ginger, garlic and also some Tylenol when it was still bad after an hour. Then, this afternoon, just as I was starting to feel a little better, another aura hit (center to outward). The most prevalent symptom through both was nausea. Headache intermittent. But I feel very bloated. Extremely photophobic. Especially with the onset of the 2nd one. And just feel odd. I also noticed really bad heartburn all day.
    I am considering trying Imitrex.

  • SusanKH
    3 years ago

    I am a physician and I had to retire after practicing only 1 1/2 years for disabling migraines. I was a psychiatrist in the Navy with a remaining service obligation and I was accused of having a Psychiatric disorder that I would not admit to or wanting to avoid my service obligation and subsequently pracitice medicine as a civilian. It was so humiliating.
    I suffered several episodes of delirium with the headaches including one episode when I found myself speeding down a Chicago freeway with no memory of how I had gotten there. I could not coordinate my movements or read signs. I had great difficulty pulling off the road into some kind of store parking lot and fell out of the car before I entered the store. I could not tell what kind of store it was. (Later I was able to locate my car with the help of my husband and found it was a music store filled with pianos.) I lost consciousness and was taken to an ER and “came to” some time later. I didn’t know my name, date etc and couldn’t draw a clock. I was delirious and later in another (Navy) hospital was again delirious and found wandering aimlessly about. The Navy doctors said “everyone’s mind wanders sometimes.” They dosed me heavily with Dilantin (an anti-seizure medication) although they continued to insist that I just wanted to avoid my Navy obligation and nothing was wrong with me.
    I was delirious twice more in the Navy, lost consciousness and collapsed with subsequent transport to the ER. The Navy continued to insist that I was just trying to avoid my military obligation. They hospitalized me a the Michigan Head Pain Institute. Note at the time that I was a LCDR with a sterling reputation. I had graduated in the top third of my class at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. I had received the most awards of anyone in my 3rd year for clinical excellence. The Navy explicitly told me that they believed that I just wanted/needed to live with my husband, although in my entire time in the Navy (more than 10 years) I had never done so.
    I waited for the Navy to do the right thing and discharge me from the Navy as I had become quite incapacitated by horrible fatigue and near daily headaches, which I still experience. Practicing medicine outside the Navy or any other work was and is completely out of the question. My husband had to launch a Congressional Inquiry which I am happy to say members of congress immediately recognized as valid; I was released after several months from my Navy obligation. However the entire procedure was humiliating in the extreme and it took me honestly 15 years to recover from the traumatizing experience.
    My own family members were unsupportive (with the exception of my sister) and my own brother told me that I had psychiatric problems and that he was thoroughly disgusted with me. He screamed at me in front of other family members while I was providing him room and board during his vacation and said that his own migraines were far more severe than mine (he practices medicine to this day) and that I should “snap out of it”. I was feeling very ill at the time and was hardly in a position to defend myself. My parents did and still do support him and his point of view and are angry with me because I do not “forgive him” for having this opinion of me and associate with him at family gatherings. It makes the family “look bad.” In a recent conversation, my mother told me that she wanted absolutely nothing to do with with me at all because I refused to “forgive” my brother.
    Please note that when I was told that I had psychiatric problems that I said I did not believe so but was willing to entertain all possibilities and allowed myself to be examined several times through a variety of interview techniques in a couple of different hospitals and with sophistical psychological testing. They were unable to make a psychiatric diagnosis and eventually concluded that I did not have a psychiatric diagnosis.
    I know these details are a bit off topic but they do include some unusual symptoms that I experienced and some of you may find these descriptions helpful. Also, as I am a psychiatrist, I think it important to recognize how traumatic it can be to be diagnosed with this illness, especially when your physicians and family are downright hostile. It can take an enormous toll on your psyche and the damage incurred should not be underestimated. I am extremely fortunate that my husband was incredibly supportive and I hope with all my heart that my experience was atypical. I hate to think that any of you migraine sufferers suffered or suffer anything near to what I did battling this disease. I am a very independent person, but it is not something easily faced alone.

    To return to the main topic (and I apologize for the huge digression), one of the physical symptoms I have experienced repeatedly is periorbital edema. Sometimes one eye is affected. Sometimes both. In later years actually my whole face is affected. When it is mild, no one else can notice, but because it is my face I can certainly detect it especially as all fine and not so fine wrinkles disappear! I can tell that I have edema first thing in the morning. I feel it when I get out of bed and I know that I can expect extreme fatigue for at least a couple days, often accompanied by a migraine. No physician I have seen is familar with this symptom, perhaps it will be helpful for this audience to be aware.
    Sorry for the long diatribe, maybe someone will find this useful.

  • Marcus
    3 years ago

    Thanks for your honesty and a touch of needed humor.
    Migraines since childhood; new chronic daily migraines for last 22 years. I’ve kept careful daily tracking of triggers; read widely for any ideas; have also tried nearly every medication, every natural and complementary treatments. At 63 I’ve been forced to retire early. Now mostly abortives & pain meds.
    Stumbled across similar list of precursors, though yours is more complete.
    I have probably at least 60% of yours. In the past, I figured these were side effects to various meds, along with age and burnout. Now I’m paying better attention as possible part of this whole phenomenon that is the migraine brain!
    Again, thank you!

  • JennS
    3 years ago

    I experience several of these symptoms, though they have changed some through the years.
    The one I didn’t see is EXTREME ITCHING – my skin gets very sensitive and feels like it’s on fire or that there are tiny pin pricks all over but nothing is there. Another is getting hot or feeling like I’m coming down with a fever but thermometer shows normal.

  • terri64
    3 years ago

    I’ve actually been wondering if anyone else had the same issue with having increased urination frequency and urgency just before a migraine. I noticed really picking on this as a warning last year.

    I also get bad neck pain. My speech gets scrambled. Although Topamax has added to the loss of my brain function :-).

    I smell phantom odors, I get clumsier, I scramble words when I trying to type. My face gets numb. Pretty much everything on the list up above.

    I’ve had migraines since I was 13. The pre-symptoms vary. I deal with them several times a week even with preventive medication and Botox. The severity is a bit less then before starting on Botox.

  • KellieR1069
    3 years ago

    I noticed today a frequency to urinate during the migraine. It has something to do with pain because I noticed with the pain coming an going (in a way similar to a shout with an echo that dies out; strong sudden pain then throb, throb, throb, throb, each a little less than before) each time the pain would come I would have to pee.

  • lightweaver
    3 years ago

    I am so glad I am not alone in this. I have such a hard time telling if it is a migraine or one o my MS symptoms.

  • Gina
    3 years ago

    I get most of the same symptoms before a migraine. The fatigue is actually bad enough that I will spontaneously fall asleep.My stomach will burn as though I am really hungry, but then when I eat I feel nauseous. I also get the horrible neck and scapula pain and the left ear pain. I tear constantly from the left eye and my left nostril and sinus gets clogged. I get sad, irritable, sensitive to light and sound,bad vision in my left eye, drooping left eye, trouble speaking, and sometimes the shape of my forehead bulges out. The longer I have had migraines ( 65 years now) the more varied and intense these symptoms have been. There isn’t a lot of help from the medical community, except pain relief.

  • 3 years ago

    Omg! I thought it was my imagination. My right temple feels like it’s bulging during a migraine when I compare it to my left. I’ve never mentioned this for fear of being thought alarmist. Although I hate that you suffer so, I’m so glad I’m not crazy. And although I’ve only been chronic for just over 3 years, you’re absolutely correct in that the only thing the medical community can truly offer is temporary pain relief. And then were suspected of addiction!

  • jns192 moderator
    3 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. As a fellow migraineur, I understand how uncomfortable and debilitating symptoms of a migraine can be. It is interesting because I have the same exact feelings (nausea, fatigue etc.) with each migraine but it has become more intense over the years for me as well.

    I know that there is a pill out there for everything, but sometimes that gets a little overwhelming. Have you tried any non-pharmaceutical options for your migraines? If you are interested, feel free to read through some of the info we have on this topic:

    Wishing you a gentle evening.
    Jillian (Migraine.com Team)

  • Greta
    3 years ago

    Does anyone else pee like crazy? This symptom starts before the headache, and lasts through the pain, too. Very annoying and rather embarrassing.

  • jns192 moderator
    3 years ago

    Greta & Stacey,
    Thank you so much for sharing. I have chronic migraine and pee all the time as well!
    I haven’t been able to link my urine frequency to migraine attacks because I always pee often but luckily I don’t always have a migraine.
    If you haven’t already, discuss this symptom with your doc. Perhaps there is something else going on that is unrelated to migraine. It’s worth checking it out.
    Feel free to keep us posted. We’d love to hear back.
    Jillian (Migraine.com Team)

  • 23r1c5h
    3 years ago

    That’s another one I forgot to mention – I’m hitting the bathroom 20-30 times at least about a day before one hits. You are right that it’s embarrassing – especially if you’re in the middle of a sneezing fit and you don’t quite make it to the bathroom in time.

  • Bill
    3 years ago

    My right shoulder aches, then my neck gets stiff and sore on the right side only. Next day visual aura. Day after headache starts

  • jns192 moderator
    3 years ago

    Thank you for sharing with us.
    I wanted to share some articles you might be interested in that relate to your symptoms. Also feel free to check out the comments at the bottom of the article for more feedback from members like you:

    Stiff Neck: https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-symptom-a-stiff-neck/
    Visual Aura: https://migraine.com/blog/what-is-a-migraine-aura/

    Thank you for being a part of our community. We are glad to have you here.

    Jillian (Migraine.com Team)

  • JenX70
    3 years ago

    I have light sensitivity and it feels like my brain is too heavy.

  • jns192 moderator
    3 years ago

    Thank you for sharing.
    I thought you might enjoy this fascinating article on photophobia: https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-symptoms-photophobia-sensitivity-to-light/

    Here is another article you might find helpful that offers tips for light sensitive migraineurs: https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-awareness-month-8-let-there-be-light/
    Also be sure to check out the comments under the article for more feedback from members like you.
    Jillian (Migraine.com Team)

  • tanyamcmann
    3 years ago

    The night before my neck gets really sore and cracks a lot.

  • jns192 moderator
    3 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your symptoms with us.
    We have several resources regarding neck as it’s associated with migraine on our site.
    If you are interested in reading more about the topic, feel free to check them out: https://migraine.com/?s=neck&submit=Go

    Jillian (Migraine.com Team)

  • LConlon
    3 years ago

    Yawning uncontrollably, clumsy, light and sound sensitive word search stiff neck.

  • joanie78
    3 years ago

    Hi.. I had to get off of topomax because of the mind numbing effects. I was also getting migraines quite bad while on it. Now I am about 1 year off of it.. And have started getting the Alice in wonderland effects (I feel like I am tiny inside my body) strange feeling but I can’t explains it better. I get almost all the same symptoms you guys do.. I just didn’t see the Alice in wonderland feeling .

  • Judy H
    3 years ago

    I too, have uncontrollable yawning jags. Other symptoms include neck pain; tight neck, shoulder, and upper back; tender scalp (on side of migraine). In addition to the drooping eye feeling, I actually feel like one eye is drooping a lot lower than the other, then the pain comes behind that eye. If I can take midrin (or sometimes even Aleve) before the eye pain starts, I am good to go. I rarely have any other aura before it gets underway.

  • Casper6
    3 years ago

    I have battled with migraines over 30 years. I have never had the aura, but at times I wish I did so it would be easier to detect. But as I have gotten older I am able to detect if they are warning signs. I get very sensitive to bright light. Florescent light will give me sort of a haze appearance if I am trying to read. My eyes have a hart time focusing. Then on the right side of face my cheek bone will start aching and grow stronger. I get easily confused with the simplest instructions. Have a hard time paying attention. Then if I let it go on too long, I feel nauseous and sick to my stomach. Paying attention to what all you feel as it comes on and before the migraine will help you be able to detect.

  • Garangwyn
    3 years ago

    I have a question for anyone: Do you ever get these symptoms and then NOT have it turn into a migraine? So that you’re not sure if one is coming on until, maybe, you accumulate a certain combination?

  • 3 years ago

    Yes. But for me the combination of symptoms changes almost every time so I don’t truly know for sure until the slight pain starts. It happens very fast so I must take something right away. Sometimes it feels as though this disease is a living demon deliberately trying to foil my attempts to stifle it. I can feel “wrong” for a couple days with varying symptoms and I know I’m going into a cycle that I’ll be fighting for days.

  • Garangwyn
    3 years ago

    Cookie, that happens to me too. I’ve heard them called “silent migraines” because you have everything but the pain. I don’t think anyone that hasn’t had a migraine before could understand, because they don’t understand that migraine is a whole-body experience, not just a headache. My neuro told me that often as a migraineur gets older, they turn into silent migraines. But he’s told me things before that I’m not sure are quite the case…like he thought that’s what I wanted to hear. While it’s nice to at least not have the pain associated with a migraine, I’m still pretty much out of commission for the duration, however. And of course, people just don’t understand that. *sigh*

    Greta, I think this may be the case with me as well…because I am more in tune with what’s going on, I don’t push myself and really start minding my triggers when I see something out of the ordinary. (Well, with chronic migraine, that IS the ordinary, I guess…)

    But I still have some of the symptoms in the original list off & on, without a migraine. But it is probably due to other factors, like the fact that I have FMS, and get those “foggy days” with the brain fog, and the fatigue, aches & pains that aren’t attached to anything else, playing “hallway pinball” as I bounce off of walls for losing my balance, etc.

  • Greta
    3 years ago

    Yes!! But I think it is because I’ve learned to take it easy when these symptoms start to develop. I now have that “aha!” moment and lay down. Sometimes it saves me pain and medication.

  • Cookie
    3 years ago

    Sometimes I get all of my typical precursors but then the pain never develops. I do however get the nausea, vertigo, vocabulary salad, hypersensitivity to light, sound and heat, olfactory hallucinations and all. My doctor called this an atypical migraine where I get all but the pain. It sounds like it wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s actually kind of scary, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I go ahead and treat with my over the counter meds and then get the cool water rushing through my skull sensation that I get when I have pain and the meds begin to work.

  • Maureen
    3 years ago

    Now that my chronic migraine is responding to treatment, yes, sometimes I get these symptoms and they are not followed by a raging migraine. Sometimes this is because I take the proper measures to abort. But sometimes, thankfully, my condition has improved enough that I think my treatment plan is working and my overall well-being wins the day. (Thank you Dr. Nahas and Jefferson Headache Clinic for your help!) But I always need to keep vigilant to the signs to be ready with my abortives and comfort measures.

  • Casper6
    3 years ago

    When I was in my 20’s there was times it didn’t develop in to a full migraine. That was when over the counter pain relief worked. But as I got older and after having children I learned to pay attention to my warning signs.

  • Garangwyn
    3 years ago

    I recognize many of these as well. I do not have visual auras, but now that I am off the mind-numbing (but not migraine-numbing) topiramate, I can often — almost always — tell when a migriane is coming on. I can now use my acute meds much more effectively (I got to where I hardly ever bothered to take them, as it was always too late!)

    Some of the indicators you list above, however, are just my “normal” now…like remembering simple words (it comes and goes).

    I thought your comment about your left ear was interesting. It is always my left ear that itches inside, in the canal…and I often have an earache there, although I have no infection. I had never thought to try to connect it to a migraine, though! I will definitely pay attention next time. (It is itching today…so we will see).

    My biggest indicator is that feeling of weakness, fatigiue — for no apparent reason — just an all-over sensation in my body that I can’t explain. I also often feel there is inflammation in my body or head (or both). It’s hard to describe what internal inflammation feels like unless you’ve had it. I also have feelings of being too cold or too hot (can go either way), even though the ambient temperature is the same.

    And as I said in response to a comment below, my boyfriend tells me my eyes are at “half-mast”. But by then, I am usually already aware that it is coming on.

    I am going to post this article on Facebook, because my son posted a video of a device someone used to give people without migraines an idea of what it was like to live with the visual auras. But it does nothing to describe the non-visual effects, and many people responded to that fact. I’m sure they’ll find this list interesting as well! Thank you!

  • Luna
    3 years ago

    “My neuro told me that often as a migraineur gets older, they turn into silent migraines.”
    That seems to be happening to me. Even when I have pain it is mostly less intense but the other symptoms daily.

  • Gto
    3 years ago

    When migraine is imminent, first feel slight headache sensation above left eye. Will immediately beeline to medicine cabinet for medication due to fear of turning into full blown migraine attack. Start getting very sensitive to light, noises. After approx 1 hr, if meds do not work will contact family physician or head up to hospital ER for shot of Toradol. Normally if acted prudently migraine will dissipate within an hour. However, occasionally awakened middle of night or meds have no effect and experience full blown migraine headache attack. Is literally most pain I have experienced.

  • Meggietye
    3 years ago

    I am feeling for each of you who have posted as for 21 yrs I have been in the same boat…my crazy brain has had me, like you, experiencing some wacky things!

    Last June (’15) I was slated to begin Botox injections (which in of itself comes with a potential host of problems). I had been reading up on an eating plan that dr’s had been using for epilepsy with a lot of success in kids and wondered if it something like that might be doable for migraine? First of all I was getting migraine so often it was impossible to know what triggered it??? It was just all smooshed in together every day. I was taking meds daily and thought I might be in Rebound…so I got out of rebound. It was painful but I did it!! In January I began a Ketogenic diet and now it is late April and I believe there is something to this way of eating.

    In Jan I had 30 attacks, In Feb I had 28, In March I had 7, and as of today in April I have had 1. High fat, medium protein and low carb is my key. I was drinking tons of water but because I wasn’t taking in enough sodium I was peeing it all out and having dehydration induced migraine…for all these years!!
    Who knew?? So now I have 2-3 salty mugs of hot water a day followed by a lot of cold water. I still have a long way to go and the hot summer is coming up so it will be challenging..but this way of eating soothes my brain and my family & friends keep commenting on the change in me 🙂

    If this interests you at all I got my initial information from, “The Migraine Brain” by Dr Josh Turknett, M.D Neurologist. He is a migraine sufferer as is his wife and Mom and daughter and this has healed them substantially. He has a website called my migraine brain.com.

    I was a bit hesitant to tell everyone what I was doing but now a few months have passed and I know others on the same plan and we are all doing better..so I really wanted to share this tool. We will always have sensitive migraine brains but if something as controllable as food can help us, why not try it?! My doctor thinks this is crazy, but he can’t argue with the results. I am just plain doing MUCH better :). Best wishes.


  • Meggietye
    3 years ago

    Oh dear I made an error…the website is mymigrainemiracle.com

    Sorry about that.

    Cheers, Nancy

  • melkirk
    3 years ago

    I will say things in reverse. I will say the opposite of what I was trying to say. Very frustrating!!

  • melkirk
    3 years ago

    I am also writing this while having a migraine. Even more frustrating. I had to retype this because I started to type the wrong thing. Ugh!?!?

  • Vanny62
    3 years ago

    I am writing this during a migraine. I want to thank the person that said the ringing in her ears changed…..Up to reading that comment, I thought I was the only one…..

  • crownk9s
    3 years ago

    I know a migraine is coming, for me, when I start getting dizzy spells, I get “Sun Dogs” in my eyes and increased light sensitivity. Additionally, I have Parkinson’s Disease, and migraines amplify my Parkinson’s symptoms.

  • grammayumyum
    3 years ago

    So glad to know I’m not crazy! Ditto all of the above, plus:

    * Craving for carbs and juice
    * Diarrhea
    * Neck pain
    * Flared nerve on lower inner part of shoulder blade
    * Left ear ache
    * Left jaw pain
    * Weakness, to the point of feeling limp, unable to move
    * Watery eyes
    * Short-tempered, critical, task-oriented and cannot leave the issue or change the subject, or
    * Crying for NO reason
    * Drop things
    * Tingling sensation around my mouth
    * Lower body temperature, CANNOT get warm
    * Tinnitus more intense
    * Grogginess to the point of falling asleep sitting up while in conversation
    * I know someone has said something, but I have no idea what it was…
    * Stumbling
    * I’m told I have “glassy eyes”

  • Luna
    3 years ago

    “task-oriented and cannot leave the issue or change the subject,” I sure relate to that. I call it obsessive thinking. It is really irritating (to me also):).
    Extreme tiredness but lay down and feel hyper.
    Almost nauseous but have the munchies.

  • Garangwyn
    3 years ago

    My boyfriend can tell when my eyes are what he calls “at half-mast”. LOL

  • 1xje5t9
    3 years ago

    Amazing that I too can relate to many of the things on this list.
    At a loss for words or names
    Mix up words
    Lose my train of thought
    Neck pain
    Light sensitivity
    Stomach ache
    Vision disturbances
    I have been trying multiple methods and will try just about anything to get them under control.

  • fourposies
    3 years ago

    The bridge of my nose gets very heavy as if heavy glasses were sitting on it.

  • 3 years ago

    Yes!!! Or sometimes it feels like my nose is being mashed into my face by an invisible hand. This has subsided substantially since I ditched the topamax.

  • Tricia
    3 years ago

    My list is almost exactly the same!

  • Valerie
    3 years ago

    I can’t get over how many of the symptoms listed I experience and really never thought they were signs of a migraine heading my way….I thought it was all in my head and as it turns out…it was..literally. Sneezing…watery eyes…discomfort in my neck and shoulders, yawning, weakness in my arms and legs, moodiness, tiredness, lack of concentration, mixed up words.. and the big one…. VERTIGO! I always felt like most of these symptoms seemed too ‘silly’ to mention to my neurologist, but, needless to say, I will mention them to him at my next appointment which is in June.

  • Jackie
    3 years ago

    Amen Sister I am amazed on how your migraines match mine. I am finally seeing a doc who only works with migraines. He is going to start again with Botox in June and then every 12 weeks. I also have stimulator wires to try and keep my migraines in check. I have them going across my forehead and occipital lobes.

  • Casper6
    3 years ago

    Hi Jackie I was wondering if you can tell me more about the stimulator wires. Is that like a tens unit? Where can I learn more about this?
    Thanks for your help.

  • maxgordon
    3 years ago

    All the above, plus…
    • It hurts to turn my neck
    • I get short-tempered or labile
    • There’s a knife in my left eye
    • I word up my mixes
    • Reading is too much work
    • My head is too heavy

  • eloise1951
    3 years ago

    YES; the knife in the right eye! That is how I have described my migraines for 35 years. Also complete exhaustion. When I tell my husband I feel like I have been hit by a bus he looks at me and raises his eyebrows – Oh Yeah, THAT is what’s happening. My pupils shrink and eyes lids droop and the sensitivity to light and sound as with most people. I have had 3 aura events, one without the migraine (that was weird) but the one that seems strange is the massive achy joints all over afterward. Always wondered if it was due to the prescription: Amerge, (Naratriptan)? Anyone experience that?

  • Maureen
    3 years ago

    Too many times it is more like “I should have realized I was getting a migraine when…” but if I am paying attention then …
    I cry for absolutely no reason.
    I get really cold for no reason. (This is a really strong sign for a bad one!)
    I get hungry… must eat now hungry… reallyhungry… can’t think hungy…. too late.
    I drop things, run into the furniture.
    My ear ringing changes tone.
    My head/scalp tingles.
    My arms and hands feel funny, numbish, trembly, otherwise weird.
    I take deep breaths, not exactly sighing, but for no reason. It is like I am comforting myself ahead of time or something.
    I start wondering if I am about to get one…generally this means something isn’t right, even if I can’t quite say what isn’t right, something isn’t right.
    SMELLS are weird, annoying! the dog smells terrible, and I don’t have a dog:)!
    And the ever popular, which came first, I can’t sleep so I get a migraine, or I can’t sleep because I’m about to get a migraine?

  • 3 years ago

    Yup, get most of those too. You’re not alone, Maureen. The screaming in my ears is a pretty good indicator. Hubster can’t understand why the TV is so loud…then at other times I can’t stand certain noises. I actually bought a new fridge and sold the old perfectly good one because it was making a high pitched whine that drilled into my head so bad I couldn’t stand to be downstairs!

  • 23r1c5h
    3 years ago

    I can’t get enough water but it has to be iced and has to be so cold it hurts my throat. This also happens when I’m in my postdrome but it’s more prevalent in my prodrome. I’m actually on my tenth glass of water as I type this 🙁

    I sneeze constantly – sounds weird but I have allergies, too so it was confusing at first. I’ve since figured out that if I don’t get real relief from a sneeze, I need to keep my meds nearby.

    The night to two nights before, I don’t sleep. I take meds that make me drowsy and I’ll take them but they won’t be effective.

    Butters wants to be more in my lap than normal and when I go to bed, she plasters herself up against me to the point I can’t move (she’s such the bed hog but she also likes to steal covers, too).

    I get intense cravings for either ice cream or a something salty (Doritos Extreme Enchilada or Pepper Jack Cheez-its fixes that right up).

    My irritation for even the tiniest problem hits the stratosphere.

    I speak to a lot of friends online through Email, chat and instant messenger and I am meticulous about my English and spelling. If I’m about to have an attack, I drop words, spell the wrong word (their, they’re and there) and I don’t correct them. They let me know if I start making too many mistakes.

    On top of everything else that you mentioned.

  • Oakesgal
    3 years ago

    My PMS week is one pattern that I discovered in highschool/college. If I also find myself feeling very tired and having more issues with thinking clearly, I know the probability is higher and will start treating any headache with prescription rather than trying OTC first. In the last few years tension in neck/shoulders may indicate/trigger a migraine. I can almost guarantee a migraine if the top few vertebrae beneath my skull shift and pop out of place. That kind hits in about 30 min.

    If I’m not sure if I am dealing with a regular headache or migraine, intensified smells and nausea will confirm migraine. If I get within 10 feet of a newspaper, I will smell the ink, which immediately intensifies the pounding and nausea.

    I’m curious if anyone else finds that they can tell the instant the migraine starts to lift or feels more alert and able to think much more clearly than normal after a migraine meds has been successful.

  • GinaD
    3 years ago

    Yes to nearly all! A few more:

    Everything I eat tastes “off”
    Having to pee every few minutes
    My mood plummets – either horribly sad or irritable

  • Jojiieme
    3 years ago

    Yes to the yawning!
    And yes to the clumsiness! And stumbling. Or fuzzy vision.
    The running lights either sides up the periphery, but then we’re not talking auras.
    Alice in Wonderland stuff: all kinds of weird perspective effects, inside and outside me ( how does the world sound? Can I feel the ground? With which leg? Which part of that leg is actually present? Is my head here Or 6 metres in the sky?)
    Can I find my words and speak clearly?
    Can I remember phone numbers and names?
    Have I repeated myself? Have I repeated the last thing I heard?
    Explosive diarrhoea (enough said).

  • shirley Ann
    3 years ago

    I really don’t know anymore because I live with a headache every day of my life. They call it Chronic Daily Migraines. They are always there. It’s just the difference of intensity. I have my “good headaches” which are a category 6-7.
    I have my “bad headaches” which can put out of commission. THese range from 8-10. Mostly 10. Sometimes it feels like higher but they want some type of measurement. My eyes burn, I can’t think straight, and I’m totally incompacitated at these times. I’ve tried everything.

  • Gto
    3 years ago

    Hi Shirley,
    Can definitely relate to your daily headache issues. Have also been diagnosed with chronic migraine headaches. My issue is when full blown migraine hits have no alternative but to head to Hospital ER. No traditional migraine abort medicine will be effective at this point. No choice but to administer morphine with gravol as incredible headache accompanied with nausea. Most dr’s sympathetic to my state of health and have been up to ER so many times treatment is almost automatic. Problem is sometimes will run into physician with no empathy towards my condition, will definitely not administer pain meds, which do not rid headache, but make pain somewhat bearable. Pain level decrease to almost 1/2 of when I originally arrived. Do you have any advice on how to deal with such unsympathetic dr’s or has this ever occurred in your situation. I have also had success with nerve blocks , but, is hit or miss if run into physician on duty qualified to give injections. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • 1soro31
    3 years ago

    I’m in the same position as you are. It’s terrible, isn’t it? What I’ve noticed is a few signs that it’s going to get worse: shoulder tenses up worse than before; light, sound, & smells are growing more intense than before; I’m growing more tired, sad, lonely, & desperate.
    Topamax & Botox helped me immensely, along with Oxcarbazapine.

  • DebinIndiana
    3 years ago

    Hang in there…so sorry you have that many. Makes my 8/month seem like nothing. Hope it improves for you.

  • e3dsn7
    3 years ago

    I am not the migraineur in my household; my husband is. But – here are some of the ways I can spot an oncoming migraine:

    “Whazzat? Say again?” – whenever I speak, it’s as if the first time I say something, all he can comprehend is the fact that I have spoken. So I have to say everything twice if I speak at all. I have learned to avoid speaking as much as possible during these periods, as it seems to startle and confuse him, and I find myself getting irritated as well at all the “whazzats”.

    Irritability or even tantrums – my migraineur becomes extremely irritated by small frustrations. During these times he has destroyed a tv remote and broken a toilet handle.

    Sighing – he doesn’t realize he’s doing it, but repeated sighing is a sign a migraine is on the way.

    Yawning – same as sighing.

    I develop serious character flaws (from my migraineur’s point of view), which my migraineur feels compelled to point out and describe in detail until the actual migraine kicks in.

    Road rage – other drivers on the road also develop severe character flaws, which he also feels compelled to point out.

    Icy hands


    And of course, resistance to my suggesting that he might be getting another migraine, until the nausea starts – then he can’t deny it and at that point I have about 5 minutes to get the rescue meds into him before he starts vomiting.

    The sun is rising – most of his attacks start right around dawn.

    Another way I know a migraine is coming is if I make any specific plans, especially for something I really want to do. Best to avoid making those plans in the first place.

    It’s pretty easy just to assume on any given day that he will have a migraine, as that is by far the most likely scenario. In the past month, for example, he’s only had four or five days without a migraine.

  • glenhe
    3 years ago

    Can certainly identify with many of those listed previously. For me:
    -Rapid decrease in body temp, which makes me feel like I am on fire from the inside out. I’ve taken my temp during this phase and seen my temp at 96.4, which may not seem low, but put it in the contest of it going 2.2 in the other direction and having a fever of 100.8.
    -The weather is overcast and there are swings in barometric pressure.
    -The photophobia and phonophobia go into overdrive, with both fluorescent and incandescent lights feeling like knives in the eyes (actually looking forward to every light being LED, because they don’t seem to bother me as much)
    -excessive yawning
    -stiff, almost arthritic, fingers and joints

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