Other common migraine symptoms may include:
- Nausea (with or without vomiting)
- Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
- Sensitivity to sound (phonophobia)
- Neck pain
- Trouble concentrating
- Sensitivity to smells
Is it a Sinus Headache?
Some people mistakenly believe that if they feel a pressure type pain in the maxillary sinus area with nasal congestion or watery nasal drainage that they have sinus headache when they more than likely fit the criteria for migraine. In fact, almost 90% of people who believe they are experiencing sinus headache are actually suffering from migraine!
The Migraine Process
It is thought that internal factors (stress, hormones, illness) or external factors (weather, loud noises, certain foods or alcohol) somehow “trigger” a reaction in the brain that involves the trigeminal nerves of the face, the blood vessels in the lining of the brain (meninges), the thalamus, the hypothalamus, the brain stem and the cervical nerve root. This is why many experience neck pain with their headaches.
As the migraine begins, chemical reactions in the brain cause vasodilation of the blood vessels, activation of the trigeminal nerves and inflammation. This processes causes pain in the head and neck and other associated symptoms. If this process is not interrupted with an intervention (behavioral or pharmaceutical), the process continues and the brain becomes hypersensitive.
Scientists believe that people who experience migraines may do so because their brains are hypersensitive to stimuli from the environment (internal and external factors), resulting in a lower resistance to common migraine triggers. Every patient will experience migraine differently, as migraine can present a wide variety of causes, triggers, and symptoms. For example:
Jane never gets nausea with any of her headaches, but she does experience sensitivity to light and noise. She reports that some of her migraines are pounding, but others feel like squeezing or pressure. She reports no dizziness, but lots of fatigue with her attacks. Some of her attacks are severe and require bed rest in a dark room (usually when she is on her menstrual cycle), while with most attacks she can push through and try to function at work or social events. Her migraine attacks can last 3 days. Sometimes her attack medication works well, but sometimes it only dulls the pain.
John reports that he experiences nausea, but only vomits with some of his headaches. He reports dizziness with most of his headaches, but no visual symptoms such as aura. His headaches are always located behind his right eye and cause a stabbing pain. They last at least 24 hours if he does not treat them at the earliest onset of the attack. He reports that excessive stress is usually a trigger, and he avoids sugar because he feels that it may also be a trigger.
Chronic Migraine: Have you been correctly diagnosed?
What is Migraine?
Migraine Types: Episodic Migraine vs. Chronic Migraine
Migraine Types: Migraine without Aura
Migraine Types: Migraine with Typical Aura
Common Migraine Symptoms and Causes
How is Migraine Diagnosed?
How is Migraine Treated?
Migraine and Disability