A migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head.
Many people also have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound.
Migraine is a common health condition, affecting around one in every five women and around one in every 15 men. They usually begin in early adulthood.
There are several types of migraine, including:
-migraine with aura – where there are specific warning signs just before the migraine begins, such as seeing flashing lights
-migraine without aura – the most common type, where the migraine occurs without the specific warning signs
-migraine aura without headache, also known as silent migraine – where an aura or other migraine symptoms are experienced, but a headache doesn’t develop
Some people have migraines frequently, up to several times a week. Other people only have a migraine occasionally. Years can pass between migraine attacks.
Symptoms of a migraine
The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache on one side of the head.
The pain is usually a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that gets worse when you move and prevents you from carrying out normal activities.
In some cases, the pain can occur on both sides of your head and may affect your face or neck.
Other symptoms commonly associated with migraine include:
-increased sensitivity to light and sound – which is why many people with migraine want to rest in a quiet, dark room
Some people also occasionally experience other symptoms, including:
-feeling very hot or very cold
-abdominal (tummy) pain
Not everyone with a migraine experience these additional symptoms and some people may experience them without having a headache.
The symptoms of a migraine usually last between four hours and three days, although you may feel very tired for up to a week afterward.
Symptoms of aura
About one in three people with migraines have temporary warning symptoms, known as aura, before a migraine. These include:
-visual problems – such as seeing flashing lights, zig-zag patterns or blind spots
-numbness or a tingling sensation like pins and needles – which usually starts in one hand and moves up your arm before affecting your face, lips and tongue
-feeling dizzy or off-balance
-loss of consciousness – although this is unusual
Aura symptoms typically develop over about five minutes and last for up to an hour. Some people may experience aura followed by only a mild headache or no headache at all.
The most popular way to use essential oils for headaches and migraines is to apply a few drops to your temples and forehead; or wherever you are experiencing the pain.