One Billion Migraines, Every One Unique

Headache and Migraine Basics | 3 Min. Read
Author: Ctrl M Health Migraine Team
Reviewed by: Ctrl M Health Medical Directors

Summary

  • Every migraine has many features, which mix and match into an experience that’s totally personal to you. 
  • Those features include your migraine attack warning signs, timing, duration, pain characteristics (location, severity, sensations) and an array of neurological and sensory symptoms, as well as your migraine triggers.
  • Since no two people’s migraine features are alike, each person’s headaches present a unique diagnostic and treatment puzzle. Two people diagnosed with the same condition might respond differently to the same medication, or to different types of therapies.

Full Article

Among the most amazing facts about migraine is that no two people experience it in exactly the same way. Sure, you share a general diagnosis with a billion other people. Yet your migraine is as unique to you as your fingerprint.

That’s because migraine has many features, which mix and match into an experience that’s totally personal to you. This seems obvious for migraine with aura, which can create visual distortions or disorient your perceptions. But even “common” migraine (which accounts for 80 percent of cases) has many nuances whose factors combine to make each person’s headache truly unique.

Here are a few examples of the different factors that mix and match to build a migraine attack.

Migraine Attack Warning Signs

    • Food cravings
    • Trouble thinking
    • Foggy
    • Neck pain
    • Nausea
    • Light and sound sensitivity

Migraine Timing and Duration

Frequency of attack:

    • 15 or more days a month (Chronic Migraine)
    • Less than 15 days a month (Episodic Migraine)
    • Infrequent migraine (less than 4 days a month)
    • Sense it coming beforehand? 

Duration of a typical attack (treated/untreated):

    • Less than 4 hours
    • More than 4 hours
    • One day
    • Multiple days

Regularity:

    • Coincides with menstrual period
    • Weekends only
    • Starts only at night
    • Starts only in the morning

Migraine Pain Characteristics

Severity:

    • Mild (0-3 on the pain scale)
    • Moderate (4-6)
    • Severe (7-10)

Location:

    • Side of the head: Right, left or both
    • Face: eye, cheekbone, forehead, jaw
    • Teeth or tongue
    • Neck
    • Hair or scalp hurt?
    • Does the pain stay in one place, or move during the attack?

Sensations:

    • Stabbing, throbbing, tingling, pulsing?
    • Tightness, pressure?
    • Do pain sensations change over the course of an attack?

Other Migraine Symptoms

    • Flashing lights, blind spots, blurred or temporary loss of vision
    • Visual distortions or changes in perceptual awareness (things seeming bigger or smaller)
    • Speech problems or loss of speech
    • Numbness or weakness, mild paralysis
    • Nausea, vomiting, stomachache
    • Light sensitivity
    • Sound sensitivity
    • Odor sensitivity
    • Dizziness or vertigo (sensation of spinning)
    • Mood changes

Throw in the various triggers and exacerbating sensitivities that influence a headache, and you can see why migraine is different in everyone — and why there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment. Two people diagnosed with the same condition might respond differently to the same medication, or to different types of therapies! That’s why treatment works best when it is personalized. For you and your doctor, that means working together to figure out personalized approaches for your one and only migraine brain — so you can reclaim your one and only life.

Take the next step to better health

© 2020 Ctrl M Health. All rights reserved.

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