Understanding Migraines

Migraines affect a variety of individuals, disrupting their daily lives. They aren’t like other common headaches and vary between individuals. Stress, lack of sleep, certain foods, or other issues are all possible triggers of migraines.

Migraines typically occur in four phases:

  1. Prodromal. This is the period of time between the appearance of symptoms and the full development of the migraine. It normally starts 24 hours before the full onset of the migraine and can include food cravings, mood changes that are unexplained, and sometimes uncontrollable yawning.
  2. Aura. The aura phase can happen during or just before the onset of the full migraine. Some experience flashing or zig-zag lines in the visual field. Unusual facial sensations are also reported.
  3. Migraine pain. This is the third phase and usually builds gradually to severe pain. Some people experience migraines with no pain though, so it varies between individuals.
  4. Other symptoms. There are other symptoms, and they vary from person to person or from migraine to migraine. These symptoms can include the following:
  • Increased sensitivity to smells
  • Vomiting
  • Postdrome (known as migraine hangover) symptoms that occur after the headache and can include exhaustion, weakness, and confusion which can sometimes last up to a day.

It’s important to note that you can have all of the symptoms or just some of the symptoms. It varies between individuals, and symptoms can even change over time. You can also have them without any pain whatsoever.

How Migraines are Different from other Headaches

Migraines typically cause moderate or severe pulsing or throbbing pain on one side of the head. Some even report an “ice pick” point of pain. Other headaches, such as tension headaches, start at the neck and wraps around the head in a “band-like” sensation. Headaches caused by allergies and sinus issues cause pressure and pain in the forehead and cheeks near the sinus cavities.


There are various treatment options available, including over the counter pain relievers and prescriptions. Trigger point injections and peripheral nerve blocks are sometimes used by doctors to treat patients suffering from migraines. Keeping a headache diary to record possible triggers and frequency of migraines is helpful in identifying triggers and forming the best treatment plan for your health.

To learn more about migraines or to see treatment for migraine headaches, call Ashford Interventional Pain Solutions at 706-286-8344.