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Prodrome Symptoms

Hello, everyone. I've not experienced many migraines in my life but when they come, it's a scary experience (full disclosure, I have a lot of struggles with anxiety). I had a particularly scary one a week ago. I was driving home in the evening and suddenly started to feel just a little out of sorts and almost...kinda depersonalized/derealized. It's hard to describe but it felt like I was not fully connected to reality, and everything looked slightly off (hard to describe accurately). I experienced something slightly similar last spring before a migraine as well.

Anywho, last week's confusion faded a little bit and then the aura set in (which is also unpleasant but at least I'm used to that). It's kinda left me with some more fear than normal, because it was a very unsettling experience. I'm having a hard time letting it go and not constantly fretting about when the next one is gonna happen.

Can anyone else relate to some of this? Anyone have an simple practices/behaviors that you find helpful in preventing migraines?

  1. Hi cpa85,

    Welcome to the discussion forum - we're glad you've found us! Let me see what information I can give you that may be helpful.

    Prodrome, the first phase of a migraine attack, can serve as a "warning" that a migraine attack is on the way. There are a wide range of symptoms including but not limited to frequent yawning and urination (I get both) irritability, fatigue, craving certain foods and sensitivity to light and sound. We have more information in this article; Some people are able to take their abortive medication (those that stop the migraine process) during prodrome in hope of staving off the attack. Of course this needs to be discussed with the doctor beforehand.

    Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AIWS) is a rare form of migraine aura where things feel distorted. I'm not saying this is what you have, rather information you can share with your doctor. Sarah, one of our contributors has written about that here;

    I hope others will be along shortly to share their experiences with you!


    1. I often get this thing, not sure if it's a type of vertigo or not, where I'll suddenly have like a "jolt." My spouse, who used to have bad cluster headaches (thankfully largely controlled by verapamil!), said he used to get something similar, sort of like entering the Matrix (if you saw that one). I call it my reality jolt. I don't get it all the time, but it's pretty darn unsettling. I don't know if it's vertigo, or a form of Alice in Wonderland syndrome. Things don't seem larger or smaller. It almost feels like when you're about to doze off, except you're not, and you jerk awake, that sort of feeling? I've had it when driving, and it was followed by head pain. That's not enjoyable.

      I have other prodrome symptoms, again, not all with the same headache. I get tired, can have cravings., start having neck pain. I've had visual disturbances, thankfully, not too often. I could see where that could get very dibilitating. Feeling very irritable or anxious can be a clue. I am on Lamotrigine, 100 mg/day. I was told to try working up to 150, and had some side effects, so pulled back, and it seemed to be OK for awhile. Guess I should give another try at working up.

      1. Oh, I also get olfactory hallucinations from time to time, too. It's usually not a pleasant odor. The most common ones are lighter fluid and raw gas, although I recently had a garbage one. Gross.

        1. Hi JanetH,

          That does sound like a scary thing - is it a painful jolt? Sort of like a stabbing pain? I've had that on occasion, but it's gone as quickly as it started. If you haven't had a chance to mention this to your doctor I would encourage you to do so.

          You're not alone in experiencing those symptoms before a migraine attack. I often get a smokey smell, not cigarettes, not a wood fire, just smokey! I have a hand help difuser I keep close by with peppermint in it to help get rid of nasty odors.

          Keep us posted on how you are doing,

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