A migraine attack can progress in three to four stages, but usually begins directly with a headache ("migraine without aura").
- Harbinger Phase: An onset of seizures has symptoms such as appetite and mood swings, cravings, over / underactivity, increased irritability, difficulty concentrating, severe yawning, fatigue, or hypersensitivity to light and taste.
- Auraphase: This occurs in about 10 to 15 percent of those affected ("migraine with aura", formerly "classic migraine"). Symptoms of this are temporary neurological disorders, such as eye flares, visual field defects or visual impressions such as flashes of light in the field of vision, half-sided sensory disturbances (tingling, numbness), and less frequently speech disorders.
- Headache phase: With the disappearance of the aura after one hour at the most, throbbing, throbbing headaches begin. These pains start in the neck of some people, are more localized on the head, often in the forehead, eyes and temples, and tend to increase in physical activity. For most sufferers, these migraine headaches are accompanied by severe nausea (vomiting) and shivering, as well as hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli such as light, sound and smells. Therefore, those affected usually withdraw into dark, quiet rooms.
- Recovery phase: After 4 to 72 hours, the symptoms gradually subside - the first sign is often a strong urge to urinate. Tiredness, fatigue and weakness remain, but also neck tension, irritability and loss of appetite.
Special forms of the symptoms
In addition, there are numerous special forms. For example, there are courses in which the aura lasts particularly long, neurological disorders (for example, vision: eye migraine) are in the foreground, or those affected have no headaches, only neurological deficits (migraine equivalent).
Predominantly in children, abdominal migraine (abdominal migraine) occurs, in which strong, diffuse abdominal pain is localized; These are accompanied by paleness, loss of appetite and nausea. This form is difficult to recognize and later often turns into a common migraine.
The frequency with which migraine attacks occur varies greatly from person to person: in many cases regularly once or six times a month; but also very irregular and large distances occur.
A diagnosis is almost always possible based on the typical symptoms. Imaging procedures such as X-rays, CT and MRI or methods for testing brain function are only necessary in exceptional cases, for example if there is a suspicion of another underlying disease.