Migraine Symptoms by the Numbers

Migraine Symptoms by the Numbers

For those suffering from migraines, the number and variety of symptoms experienced seems endless – well beyond the head pain.  Here are a few numbers we uncovered from the Migraine In America 2015 online survey.  The survey gathered insights from respondents across the U.S. about their symptom and treatment experience. 

59%

Of those surveyed started experiencing migraine related symptoms before reaching adulthood.  Of these individuals, 42% felt their childhood was at least moderately impacted by migraines – impacting school attendance (67%) and peer relationships/social life most (48%).

Migraine Symptoms by the Numbers

71%

Of those surveyed had family members who also suffered from migraines.

10.3

The average number of initial symptoms experienced by those completing the survey. Head pain was the leading initial symptom among individuals (87%).  Other initial symptoms typically reported were sensitivity to light (72%) and sensitivity to sound (61%).

52%

Of those surveyed experience moderate to severe nausea, 43% experience mild nausea and 35% experience vomiting with their migraines.  Nausea symptoms were reported as usually occurring when migraine pain starts (36%) or after the start of migraine pain (42%).

Migraine Symptoms by the Numbers

2/3

Of those surveyed reported fatigue as a typical symptom of their migraines.  Prior to diagnosis a little more than a 1/3 of individuals experienced it as a symptom (36%).

Less than 1 in 10

Of individuals cited experiencing “odd” symptoms with their migraines such as a metallic taste in their mouths (8%), hot ears (6%), sneezing (5%) or hiccups (2%).

48%

Of those surveyed were chronic migraine sufferers, being impacted by migraine symptoms 15 or more days a month.

Migraine Symptoms by the Numbers

24 hours

The duration of a typical migraine attack for 61% of survey respondents. 38% of individuals cited that they last more than 48 hours and 54% said their longest migraine attack lasted 5 or more days.

16.5

The average number of symptoms currently experienced by individuals. A little more than half (56%) currently experienced 16 or fewer symptoms and 7% experienced 30 or more. As expected, head pain is the primary complaint among individuals (91%), with sensitivity to light (85%) and sensitivity to sound (79%) being other commonly reported complaints.

More than 1/2

Of individuals’ migraine symptoms varied somewhat across their attacks (52%). Individuals who experienced more frequent migraines were also more likely to see a greater variance in migraine symptoms.

The wide variety of symptoms associated with migraine is part of what makes living with this condition so challenging. Symptoms can vary from one attack to the next, and symptom severity can range from mild to severe and completely disabling. Because the frequency and severity of your migraine symptoms can impact the migraine management plan your doctor recommends, it is always important to keep track of any potential symptoms (even the seemingly strange ones!) Stay tuned for more results from the 2015 Migraine in America Survey

Comments

View Comments (6)
  • Luna
    3 years ago

    I have daily migraine symptoms with some days more intense than others. Fatigue is with me all the time. Some times it is more intense than others. I get tired of this but try to ignore it. That is harder to do on days I have a hard time getting motivated. I do not know what part of migraine my fatigue is and it doesn’t matter to me. I have had to learn to deal with it.

  • Jenn Lebowitz
    3 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing, Luna, and so sorry you are dealing with fatigue constantly. In addition to how you mentioned you deal with it, I thought this post might be helpful as well, since it’s a compilation of ideas from the community: http://migraine.com/blog/community-thoughts-managing-fatigue/. I truly hope this is helpful!

    Thank you for being such an active member of our community here!

    Warmly,

    Jenn (Community Manager, Migraine.com)

  • Eleanor R.
    3 years ago

    I’m particularly interested in the “fatigue” symptom. I’m chronic (pretty much daily) but earlier, as my migraines got more frequent (and less intense) I started being very tired on days I didn’t have a migraine. Still very tired between headaches.Doc (prominent headache specialist) said fatigue was “headacheless migraine” but had no suggestions for treatment. I’ve mentioned this here before; would still like to compare notes with someone with similar situation. The situation being: this fatigue does not seem to be a symptom of the migraine, but a replacement for it. Anybody?? (Don’t have a headache specialist at the moment, so can’t ask them.)
    Like · Reply · 8 mins · Edited

  • Jenn Lebowitz
    3 years ago

    Hi Eleanor R. –

    Thank you so much for your comment.

    While we cannot provide personal medical advice, and in addition to any community feedback you may get, I thought a few articles on fatigue might be helpful. First, this one mentions that those with chronic migraine may feel fatigue all the time: http://migraine.com/blog/migraine-symptoms-fatigue/ – you may also want to check out the references at the bottom for further detail and/or exploration. If this is the case, the overall goal of getting migraines under control – which is, as we know, easier said than done, unfortunately – would and should help with the fatigue. Additionally, here is a post that was compiled of community feedback of ideas for managing fatigue: http://migraine.com/blog/community-thoughts-managing-fatigue/.

    I truly hope this is helpful. We appreciate your sharing here – please do keep us posted on how you’re doing!

    Best,

    Jenn (Community Manager, Migraine.com)

  • Hope and a Prayer
    3 years ago

    The statistics on the number of symptoms were oddly comforting to me. It’s awful that we have to cope with so many, but knowing I’m not imagining all the strange sensations, varying headaches and miserable unseen pain helps. I’m not making up symptoms and I’m not a hypochondriac. And the numbers tell me I’m not alone.
    Migraine is misunderstood and more public education is needed; migraine is not just a bad headache.

  • Jenn Lebowitz
    3 years ago

    Hi, Hope and a Prayer –

    Thank you so much for sharing, and as you know, you are certainly not alone. Based on what you mentioned, I thought you might appreciate this post as well: http://migraine.com/blog/strangest-symptom/, since it’s on the community’s most unusual symptoms. I hope this provides further comfort in knowing you’re not in this by yourself!

    Thanks so much for being part of the community. We are thinking of you.

    Warmly,

    Jenn (Community Manager, Migraine.com)

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