Patient information on Migraine – Part I
Who is this information for?
This information is for patients, families and carers with a diagnosis of Migraine
What is Migraine?
Headaches can be quite debilitating, although the vast majority are NOT life-threatening disorders.
Approximately 90% of headaches are caused by one of three syndromes:
- Migraine Headache
- Tension-type Headache
- Cluster Headache
Between 15-20% of people in Australia experience migraine headaches, making it the second most
common type of headache.
This information sheet discusses migraine headache
What are the symptoms of Migraine?
- Preceding ‘Warning’ Symptoms (Migraine Prodrome)
- These symptoms occur in up to 60% of migraine sufferers.
- They occur 24-48 hours prior to the onset of the headache
- Symptoms include: depression, irritability, food cravings, constipation neck stiffness, andincreased yawning.
- § Migraine headache usually begins gradually, intensifies over minutes to hours,resolves gradually
- usually lasts from 4-72 hours
- rarely lasts for days or weeks
- When mild to moderate – Headache is typically dull, deep and steady.
- When severe – headache is throbbing or pulsatile.
- May be very mild or absent in older migraine sufferers
- Aggravating features:
- Migraine headaches are worsened by light, sneezing, straining, constantmovement, and physical activity.
- Relieving features:
- Migraine sufferers try to get relief by lying down in a darkened, quiet room.
- ENT-related Symptoms:
- ‘Ear’ Symptoms: patients uncommonly may experience earache, sensitivity to sound, afeeling of pressure in the ear, ringing in the ears and even hearing loss
- Balance Symptoms: patients may experience dizziness, imbalance and motion-sickness.These symptoms may even occur in the absence of any headaches.
- Nose Symptoms: Nasal stuffiness and runny nose in 10-20% of people with migraines
- Other Symptoms
- Nausea and vomiting commonly accompanies migraines.
- Sensitivity to light, known as photophobia.
- Rarely: weakness of the face and/or limbs
- Symptoms experienced by 20% of migraine sufferers before the headache occurs: calledan Aura.
- These may include: flashing lights or bright spots, zigzag lines, changes in vision, numbnessor tingling in the fingers of one hand, lips, tongue or lower face.
- You may have one or more of these symptoms
- Auras may also involve other senses and can occasionally cause temporary muscleweakness or changes in speech; these symptoms can be frightening.
- Auras typically last 5-20 mins, and rarely last more than 60 mins.
- The headache occurs soon after the aura stops.
What are some of the common Triggers of dizziness?
Migraines can be triggered by numerous factors, alone or in combination.
|Chocolate||Times of intense activity|
|Aged Cheese||Loss or change(death, separation, divorce, job change)|
|Moving Aspartame (Nutrasweet®)||Crisis|
|Caffeine||Changes of environment or habits|
|Nitrites, Nitrates||Travel (crossing time zones)|
|Hormone replacement (progesterone)||Sleeping patterns|
|Strong lights||Skipping meals|
|Flickering lights||Irregular physical activity|