How do I know if I have migraines?

A migraine is different from the usual headache that almost everyone experiences from time to time. During a migraine attack, severe pain suddenly sets in, often only on one side of the head. They are significantly stronger than ordinary headaches and are usually accompanied by other symptoms.

Migraines are characterized by a moderate to severe headache, often on one side of the head. They are usually felt as pulsating, throbbing or pounding. They often increase with physical activity, sometimes even with small movements. The headache can be associated with nausea and vomiting. They may also be absent in some children – they are mainly nauseous, vomit and dizzy.

Some people are also very sensitive to light and noise during seizures.

Before the actual migraine is felt, some people see flashes of light and strange shapes. Speech disorders, paralysis or abnormal sensations such as tingling can also temporarily occur. In medicine, such phenomena are referred to as “aura”. An aura usually subsides within an hour without consequences and is then replaced by the typical migraine pain.

The exact causes of migraine are not known. One theory states that inflammatory processes in the blood vessels in the brain play a role. It may also be important how pain signals are processed in the brain. Stress often plays a major role in pain: feeling jittery and tense can make pain worse or contribute to it occurring in the first place. Very hectic days without sufficient breaks can therefore promote headaches. Sometimes, however, a migraine sets in when the stress subsides – for example at the weekend or during the first few days of vacation.

Many people with migraines initially relieve milder attacks with anything that feels good to them personally from experience: they lie down in a quiet and dark room and perhaps cover the painful side of the head with a cooling pad, such as a damp cloth or a cooling element.

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