What’s Your Secret: More Than Just A Headache

Do you remember the reporter who started speaking gobbledygook in the middle of her on-air interview a few years back? It became a heavily-circulated example of the way migraine can impact speech and illustrated the fact that migraine is more than just a headache.

The purpose of this video is to invite you to share some of the neurological symptoms you experience related to migraine in order to help others better understand that migraine is more than just a headache and to help us learn from one another.

Share your migraine symptoms

In the comment section below, we invite you to share the neurological symptoms you experience so that we might enlighten our friends and family members as to the complex neurological condition that is migraine and so that we may learn from one another.

What happens to you that illustrates the fact that migraine is more than a headache?

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.

Comments

View Comments (15)
  • Luna
    4 months ago

    Over-sensitivity to odors, sensitive to light, sounds, get cold then overheat, dizzyish, balance issues, ringing ears, digestive disturbances, stiff neck, muscle knots in back, stuffy nose, occasionally scintillating scotoma, sqizzly light around vision, color spots, time drags by, hyper or fatigued, agitated, depressed, cognitive dysfunction, can’t remember words but often know the first letter of the word, can’t concentrate, brain feels achy and hot, perception off or reaction is slow (not conducive to driving), etc.. Occasionally a mild to moderate migraine headache.
    Up until late teens had “sinus headaches” occasionally. Can remember when I was really young they were accompanied by colorful “visions”. For 50 years I was episodic with the real deal, prodrome, 3 days of hell then postdrome. That changed a while ago to having some of the above symptoms every day. On a good day mix of the symptoms for the day or hour are there but mild. Migraine is a full body experience.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    4 months ago

    You are so right that migraine can be a full-body experience. It is not just a headache! In fact, many do not experience head pain at all, but rather a comprehensive and powerful combination of other neurological challenges. Your description of navigating these types of challenges is very apt.

    Also, the way that you describe how prodrome challenges bleed into the attack colliding directly into postdrome challenges- is the perfect illustration of how this disease can lead to a paralyzing onslaught of navigating constant complex symptoms. A blur of neurological misfirings.

    This article speaks to the full body experience that IS migraine: https://migraine.com/living-migraine/chronic-bodys-slow-leak/

    Thanks again for chiming in- so glad you’re a part of our community and please stay in touch!

  • Zarkaylia
    4 months ago

    I’ve chronic migraine with multiple types and aura that won’t go away anymore. Haven’t had a full sense of touch in my right arm and half my face since March I think.

    It depends on type. But it’s a long list. From light visual disturbances to half my vision going away. Light and sound sensitivity. Cognitive problems from slight confusion and concentration issues to severe with speech problems and being entirely unable to understand what ppl say or form sentences. Slurring. Nausea and vertigo. Clumsiness. Hearing things and ringing ears. Eye twitches, eye pain, facial pain, stiff neck, entire loss of feeling on one side of the body, blood taste in my mouth, runny nose, watery eye, bloodshot eye.

    Depending on type, I get all or a few of above.

    The worst attacks can take me 2 weeks to recover from, feels like I fried my brain and got a flu.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    4 months ago

    Thank you so much for this extraordinary description of the comprehensive impact of which migraine is capable. If anyone had a question that migraine is a complex neurological disease, all they need do is read your comment.

    I’m so sorry that you are wrestling with all of these challenges and hope you know you are not alone. As to the flu-like sensation that occurs due to the extreme “hit” that occurs from attacks like these, this article might resonate: https://migraine.com/living-migraine/chronic-bodys-slow-leak/

    We are here for you and glad you are a part of our community. I’m hoping/assuming you are working with a migraine specialist and exploring the newly FDA-approved migraine treatments in case they might work for you (Gammacore and Aimovig/CGRP). If not, please let me know and I’ll send along relevant resources on those topics for your review. Thinking of you. Stay in touch.

  • SPupp
    4 months ago

    I used to get classic migraines occasionally, but 10 years or so of daily “sinus headaches” which were actually migraines, I have developed chronic migraines. Symptoms are quite different than with the classic migraines I used to have.

    I get odd visual auras (flashing lights, or a single bright spot moving irregularly across my visual field), difficulty thinking/concentrating – unable to follow conversations, find words, or understand what I’m reading. I have to sleep – no choice in the matter. Even if I’m typing a note on the computer, I’ll fall asleep (sleep study did not show evidence for narcolepsy). High pitched (even quiet), sudden, loud, or percussive sounds cause pain. Other symptoms also, but these are the neurological ones. It is as interesting as it is unpleasant.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    4 months ago

    Fascinating combination of symptoms. Any one of them would be disconcerting to experience.

    From what I’ve learned, migraine does have a way of evolving from episodic into chronic, unfortunately. For many it transitions back to episodic and for others it disappears altogether. As I’m in the same boat as you, I’ll join you in crossing fingers that these terrible things lift one day soon. In the meantime, here’s to quiet, low and peaceful sounds.

    Thank you for sharing- and so glad you’re a part of our community.

  • ea333525
    4 months ago

    I have the usual sensitivity to light, noise, and smells. I also begin to see spots before the migraine. One symptom I have to predict a migraine is a little unusual and is related to sounds. If there is a loud or somewhat loud sound, it makes me jump because it feels like I receive an electrical shock. It seems like my brain sends some sort of signal throughout my whole body. It is very uncomfortable so I stay in a quiet room if possible.

  • SPupp
    4 months ago

    I also have the problem with loud sounds that you describe. It varies between the electric shock feeling, and feeling as though I’ve been hit in the head with a hammer. I’ve taken to wearing dBud ear plugs when out of the house, which helps, but not enough. I’ve been prescribed gabapentin to help “calm the brain,” which helps, but not enough. Before gabapentin, though, even a finger snap was enough to make me cry out in pain.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    4 months ago

    Fascinating about the loud sound. Almost sounds like, in the prodrome stage, the volume is turned up on your nerves. That’s not one I’ve heard before, although I have heard of people feeling like their hearing is more finely attuned/sensitive than others such that they are more reactive to loud noises. Thanks for chiming in!

  • whitedogpurple
    4 months ago

    I sometimes ‘smell’ odors, especially smoke, that don’t actually exist. I have auras, sometimes just a flashing sensation in one eye. I almost always have digestive problems after an attack.

  • jmedlin
    4 months ago

    I get sensitivity to smells, light, less frequently noise. Overheated. Visual disturbances, have learned to limit use of peripheral vision as this helps with the dizziness. Difficulty finding simple words. Clumsiness, moving slowly helps with this. Digestive issues, nausea controlled breathing helps ,food not being processed, constipation, diarrhoea fatigue, although this could also be med. Sometimes I forget to breathe, not sure if this is migraine related or not. Eye lid twitching.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    4 months ago

    Thanks so much for chiming in with your “list”. This is most helpful to review. I am seeing several people mention digestive issues- that seems a pervasive one. I also feel overheated- but sometimes get freezing. All of the things on your list are in alignment with the neurological disorder that is migraine. Again, grateful you took the time to comment. Stay in touch!

  • deedeevee1
    4 months ago

    Aura, aphasia, vertigo, blurred vision, cognitive difficulties including the inability to name common items, sensitivity to light, smells, noise and heat.

  • skilegs
    4 months ago

    What a helpful and reassuring video today from Holly Baddour. I have written on this forum a year ago so will not repeat my story except to say that my migraines have increased in the last month – I have had 4 and note that I also had 4 this time last year……..
    today I had an aura with vision disturbance but also aphasia which I still find scary after all these years – started at 14 and not nearly 80. My headaches are much less than when I was younger. Trying to keep optimistic and hope each one will be the last but would welcome any comments on ?seasonal occurrence.

  • Holly Baddour moderator author
    4 months ago

    Hi there- @skilegs, Thanks so much for chiming in. So glad this video resonated with you. Interesting to hear that you are experiencing an uptick in your migraine pattern this time of year and that it mirrors what happened last year.

    We do have a couple of articles about the topic of seasonal migraine which I hope will be of interest for you:

    https://migraine.com/living-migraine/seasonal-triggers/
    https://migraine.com/migraine-types/seasonal-migraine/

    Please stay in touch! So glad you are a part of our community.

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