6 Surprising Symptoms of Migraines

Often characterised by intense headaches, migraines also have symptoms that are not commonly known.

3 min read
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How do you know that you suffer from migraines or are experiencing the symptoms of a migraine? A migraine is characterised by moderate to severe headache, usually on one side of the head.

Headache is a general term that is used to describe head pain and is among the common symptoms of a migraine. But something you should know is that all migraine attacks are not caused due to headaches and not all migraines involve headaches.

According to the reports, about 39 million migraine patients in the US experience other symptoms besides head pain. These symptoms might include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, smell, and sounds. Most of the time, these symptoms are overlooked. The reason is people don't even realize that these symptoms are related to migraines.


In this article, we will help you know about the uncommon symptoms of a migraine which are overlooked and hinder the diagnosis or treatment of the health condition. Here are the surprising symptoms of a migraine that must not be ignored.

1. Body Chills 

According to Healthline, few people who suffer from migraines may experience chills, days or hours before the attack. This happens due to the changes in the brain and blood vessels during a migraine attack which results in chills, shivering, or sweating.

The areas of the brain that cause migraine also control body temperature and muscle movement. Therefore, the onset of a migraine can lead to changes in body temperature and shivering.

2. Brain Fog

Migraines can also lead to confusion and doubts at the same time. But you don't have to worry as it is not something which will continue to happen to you. It is just a symptom of migraine and it can affect the concentration and clarity levels of a patient.

Migraine makes it difficult for a person to focus and think clearly. Brain fog is a symptom in the prodrome and postdrome phases of a migraine attack, that can develop days or hours before the migraine attack.

3. Insomnia

There's a complex relationship between migraines and lack of sleep. Lack of sleep can trigger a migraine, which can cause insomnia in few people, according to MedicalNewsToday.

Insomnia includes symptoms like difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep for long hours, waking up before time, or not feeling fresh after adequate hours of sleep. These symptoms may signal the initial stages of a migraine.


4. Sinus Symptoms 

Very few people know that migraines can also cause sinus-like symptoms which include a stuffy or runny nose, watery eyes, or a sinus headache. According to US NIH, 45 percent of people with migraine condition suffer from either one or both symptoms of congestion or watery eyes. Sinus headache is a rare phenomenon but research has found that 90% of self-diagnosed sinus headaches are actually migraine.

5. Allodynia

According to PubMed, people who experience migraine attacks have a heightened sensitivity to light, sound, and smell, and the percentage is between 40 percent to 70 percent. Experiencing pain from things that are harmless is overlooked. This often overlooked symptom of migraine is called allodynia, which is a result of changes in the way our body processes pain. Allodynia patients can find a light touch of skin, brushing hair, and temperature changes really painful.

6. Mood Changes 

We all go through mood changes and it is quite common due to changing weather, stress, and work at the office. That is why when we experience mood changes due to migraine, we overlook them. 60 percent of migraine patients experience mood changes. When this happens before a migraine, it is known as "prodrome" while a mood swing after a migraine attack is called "postdrome."

These mood changes may include:

  • Feelings of hyperactivity

  • Unable to think clearly

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Depression or anxiety

  • Feeling cheerful

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Topics:  Migraine 

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