Migraine Symptoms

Migraine symptoms overview

Because there are different types of migraines, there are different migraine symptoms. Everyone who suffers from migraines will not have each symptom. Because there is no specific test for migraines, keeping track of symptoms is key in the diagnosis of migraines. It is important that you seek a professional diagnosis because several migraine symptoms are also symptoms of other disorders and diseases.

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience a severe pain or symptom that you’ve never felt before, it could be a sign of a serious medical condition.

The most common migraine symptoms are:

(Note: These figures are from the American Migraine Study II of almost 4,000 migraine sufferers in 1999)

What you should do if you experience migraine symptoms:

  1. Keep track of each migraine attack in a journal. Write down the date and time the pain occurs, what you were doing immediately before the pain started, if anything changed about your normal routine and how long the pain lasts.
  2. Also write down any migraine symptoms you experience, such as vision change, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity etc.
  3. Write down what makes your migraine symptoms improve and what makes them worsen.
  4. Does your migraine journal show a pattern? For example, are there certain foods that trigger migraines? Or do the migraines occur after a certain change in your routine such as increased stress, a sleepless night or after skipping meals?
  5. Try avoiding any migraine triggers you identified, to see if the migraines go away.
  6. Find out if anyone in your immediate family is a migraine sufferer, since migraines tend to run in families.
  7. If the migraines continue, take all of the information you’ve gathered to a doctor who specializes in treating migraines.

A list of common migraine symptoms


Written by: Otesa Miles | Last review date: November 2010