Black woman in back to back screens, one with tongue out, other with red itchy nose.

My Three Strangest Migraine Symptoms

I’ve always felt like a bit of an outsider. I first noticed this in grade school when I didn’t find myself fitting into one particular social group. Maybe it was my rainbow leg warmers that scared the kids or my affinity for Xanadu-like ribbon barrettes. I’ll never really know. So, when I discovered I had unusual migraine symptoms, it simply seemed par for my misfit course.

A common migraine symptom: Photophobia

I do have some migraine symptoms that are very common. Along with 80 to 90 percent of migraine sufferers, I experience sensitivity to light. Photophobia is a term used for those who suffer from “an abnormal and extreme sensitivity to light and is a common symptom of migraine” according to The American Migraine Foundation.1 This hypersensitivity leads me to spend vast amounts of time in a dark room when suffering from a migraine because light of any kind skyrockets my pain.

A quick internet search yielded information and solutions for my photophobia. Excited that my migraine symptoms were fitting in, I tried searching out some others I thought would be a fast fix too. But apparently, my misfit tendencies (or my rainbow leg warmers) shorted out my online search engine. I couldn't find an answer to these three symptoms:

The chills

While lying in my bed during a migraine attack, my body becomes racked with chills. I don’t have a fever. I don’t experience any cold sweats. I can feel these fever-like chills (sans fever) start at my toes and work their way all the way up to my head until my whole body shivers. The whole ordeal lasts a minute or so and subsides until the next incident. This happens with every migraine I have and can sometimes wake me up if I've finally been able to fall asleep.

Weird taste in my mouth

During a migraine attack, I endure the strangest taste in my mouth. It’s a bad taste that finds me dragging myself out of bed so I can brush my teeth to get rid of it. It’s not acidic. It’s not metal. It's not good. I can’t even describe it other than to say it tastes bad. And this only happens when I have a migraine.

Stuffy nose

When I have a migraine, there are times that I’ve suddenly become congested. It’s like a magic wand is waved over my sinuses or I’ve stepped into a field of dust, pollen, and ragweed so my nose has no choice but to become swollen and stuffy. This doesn’t happen every time I have a migraine, but it does happen often enough that I have a box of tissues by my bed ready to go.

Over the years, I've come to understand that all of the qualities that might lead me to feel like a misfit are my awesome personality traits that make me who I am. The same applies to my migraines - they're such an individual experience because no two migraineurs are alike. Unless I'm willing to share my rainbow leg warmers.

poll graphic

Community Poll

On average, how many symptoms do you experience during an attack?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

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

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.