The International Headache Society lists the most common symptoms of migraine in a document titled ICHD-2, which is commonly used for diagnosis of migraine headaches. Depending on which symptoms show and in which phase of life they occur primarily, there are seven different types of migraine headaches.
Approximately 40-60% of all migraines begin with prodromes several days before the actual migraine attack begins. The prodrome describes a phase beginning prior to the actual condition, normally consisting of atypical symptoms. Migraine patients tend to develop unusual moods, ranging from deep depression over irritability to euphoria. Frequent yawning can be part of the prodrome, too.
The aura is one of the most well-known symptoms of migraine and is usually recognised even by patients who never suffered from migraine headaches before. However it occurs rather rarely, in face 20-30% of all migraine attacks begin with an aura. They develop across a timeline of 5-20 minutes and generally do not last longer then 60 minutes – if they happen to do so, a chronic migraine is probable. These auras are perceived differently by nearly all patients: Some experience an enhancement of vision with only few visual disturbances, such as prominent zigzag patterns, while others suffer from utterly blurred vision and lose awareness of local structures. This kind of aura is characterised by certain spots of the pucture blurring significantly. In some cases, images totally lose all contours or a one-sided loss of perception occurs. This can be frightening for the patient and will cause extreme nervousness. Most patients, however, experience the aura as dashing white and black lights.
The post-aura phase is the headache. It is characterised by unilateral, throbbing, severe pain and commences one the aura ends. In some cases, aura and headache are merged into overlapping phases. Adults tend to suffer from headaches between 4-72 hours, while children’s headaches ought to last no longer than 1-48 hours. Unless the headaches cease before the deadline, the migraine attack is considered chronic and ought to be introduced to a doctor.
Following the headache the postdrome commences, which is the final phase of the migraine. Many sufferers report impaired thinking a few days after the headaches came to an end, some experience soreness in the painful part of the head. Some develop cognitive deficiencies, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, weakness, and mood changes. Several patients feel either euphoric or deeply depressed before life goes on as usual.