Migraines are the bane of my life. True that they are not as bad as they used to be. The first time I had a migraine, my parents thought I was having a stroke. Quite scary. As time went, I got used to this “migraine threat” hanging over me. There was no way to predict when it would come, although I quickly figured out what could trigger them. As a far as I am concern I mean. Now, I can even help you recognize the eight signs that you may be getting a migraine.
The list of those eight signs that you may be getting a migraine are what the medical community calls prodrome symptoms. They occur prior to the migraine hitting you full force. To be more accurate, they are symptoms that show prior to the aura, the headache and the postdrome.
Postdrome basically means migraine hangover. I would love to fill you with hope and tell you that you can neutralize migraines before it even starts upon recognizing those signs. However, once prodrome hits, it does not matter how many changes you make in your life, you’re good for a migraine.
Signs a migraine is coming
Because in the end, your migraine is probably the results of a lot of things in your life that triggered it. When you recognize the symptoms, it is too late. Things are already in motion. As far as I am concerned, stress is my migraine trigger. It is never one stressful event but a build up over a few weeks. At one point, my body can’t take it anymore and boom! Migraine!
1. You feel unusually tired
When I was a teenager and experiencing my first migraines, I quickly understood what my trigger was: fatigue, lack of sleep, tiredness. Back then it was easy to figure out since I was partying most weekends and not sleeping much. As I started high school, it is stress that became my trigger. One much harder to control and regulate.
Even though being tired is no longer a trigger, I can tell that I am always unusually tired in the days prior to a migraine. It something I have noticed quite recently during my most recent migraine episodes. I do not have issues falling asleep and usually that happens a bit before midnight on a week day.
However, in the days prior to getting a migraine, I can never stay awake later than 10pm. It is a struggle to keep my eyes open. Going to bed very early one evening is just a coincidence. However, when for three or four successive evening I am asleep at 10pm, then it becomes a pattern.
Being unusually tired is one of the many signs that you may be getting a migraine. It may be a coincidence or it may be a build up of many things happening in your life. Either way, you will probably need to slow down a bit while you recover from your migraine.
2. You have muscle stiffness
This will vary from one person to another. Some may be stiff in the arms, the back, somewhere else. As far as I am concerned, it is the neck. Even though I am not always able to connect the dots and say “my neck feels stick, therefore I will get a migraine soon”, the two are often correlated.
I work on a computer all day, my neck always bending towards my screen. Thus, it will hurt no matter what. However, in the days prior to a migraine, my neck feels very stiff and borderline uncomfortable. I would spend my day stretching my neck just to get some relief from the pain. Huge fail.
Again, if your neck feels stiff, it does not mean you are bound to get a migraine. You may have sat in an awkward position and that is the result. However, stiff muscles are also a consequence of being tired, which as we said before, can be a sign that you may be getting a migraine.
3. Difficulty to focus
Inability to focus can be correlated to tiredness. In is no breaking news that if you are exhausted you are neither focused nor productive. And even out of the context of migraines, that is a fact. People need to rest so working long hours just to show you work hard might be just unproductive.
Anyways, that is another debate. A migraine messes up with your brain and thus, you will notice that in the days prior to a crisis, you may not have had a great ability to focus.
You may also be unable to focus even after a migraine occurs. For example, after my last migraine, it took me a few days before I was able to fully focus on the book I was reading. The white of the page was being too aggressive to my eyes and I could not focus.
This can become quite dangerous if you are driving.
4. Unusual food cravings
Food cravings can be another of the signs you are getting a migraine. As far as I am concerned, this happened just once. Or that I remember at least. I was at work and starting craving cookies horribly. The evening, boom, the migraine hit.
This might not be related to getting a migraine at all. There is after all no evidence that those cravings are related to something the body is missing. However, I very rarely have food cravings… except just before a migraine so…
5. You are irritable
To be honest, irritability is not specific to migraines. If you are tired, you are not as patient and will be more irritable. That is a fact. When I am tired, I get upset much faster. I am not the only one. But again, this might be a consequence of how tired you are feeling, which can also be a prodrome symptom.
6. Sensibility to light or sound
I personally never had phono-phobia. Sure, I do not enjoy loud noises in general. But even during a migraine, it is the same to me. As for photophobia, that is another story.
Just above, I mentioned how the white of the book page I was trying to read after my last migraine made it very difficult to focus. The light reflected on it was so very bright, too bright for my tired eyes.
Photophobia is in my experience as much of a prodrome symptom than a postdrome symptom.
7. Aphasia and difficulties to speak
To be honest, this one is a bit more difficult to categorize. It can either be a sign that you may be getting a migraine or an aura prior to the headache. When you are not en English speaker, it may be even harder to speak or think clearly in English.
Or you may just be tired and have difficulties speaking that are not due to a migraine coming. But in general, inability to speak and to connect the dots may be forecasting a migraine. If you feel like you will be unable to communicate with others or explain what is happening to you, write it down.
Have a paper on you describing exactly what happens to you when you have a migraine, including prodromes and aura. If you feel a migraine coming, then you have a script ready to explain and tell your manager why you need to go home.
8. Your vision changes
Last but not least of those signs that you may getting a migraine is a vision change. Personally, it is the main sign that I personally am starting a migraine. Those changes can take different forms:
- A flickering, jagged arc of light. It may have a complicated shape. It usually appears on the left or right side of your vision.
- A blind spot in your field of vision.
They may get worse or go away fairly quick to leave space for the headache to hit.
Not everyone experiences prodrome symptoms. Some are just too generic to be just migraine related. Other like vision changes and speech impairment are more typical. I do not know if you can stop a migraine that is about to start.
When I feel the aura hitting, I immediately take a migraine relief drug. I am not sure it makes any difference to be honest. The migraine may be shorter and weaker, but it does not go away before a few hours.
Although knowing prodrome symptoms will not change the fact that you will have a migraine, it can help you take actions. For example, if you are at work, it is time to get home. If you are driving, you may want to call someone. It is indeed important that when the migraine hits you, you are at home, in bed, in a safe environment.
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Do you get migraines too? How often? How do you handle them? What are the signs that tell you may getting a migraines?
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.
See you soon,