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25 Surprising Physical Symptoms of Migraine

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Migraine is a common yet serious neurological disease that affects approximately 39 million people in the United States. There are multiple types and variations of migraine that each have their own diagnostic criteria and unique set of symptoms, so the condition may look different for every person.

Although migraine is a complex disorder with a wide range of possible symptoms, many of those who aren’t familiar with it may simply associate the condition with head pain, or perhaps some nausea and light sensitivity. They often don’t realize just how many symptoms and side effects can accompany all the different types of migraine.

To help others better understand the reality of what it’s like to live with migraine, we asked our Mighty community to share a surprising symptom of migraine they’ve experienced. If any of the following symptoms sound familiar, know you’re not alone.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

1. “When I’m far enough into an attack, my whole body feels cold and shivery like I’m feverish. It makes it hard to get comfortable because the rest of me wants to get warm but my head is on fire.” – Ella B.

2. “Things look very strange – almost like a slow motion movie.” – Tracy S.

3. “I know one is coming when my jaw gets really tight and painful.” – Grace B.

4. “Restlessness. I have restless legs syndrome, but when I get a severe migraine, it’s impossible to keep still. I end up rolling around the bed making moaning noises. I get this with any type of severe pain. I’ve had this restlessness ever since I started getting migraine attacks as a teenager.” – Joanna O.

5. “Body feeling very heavy and sluggish.” – Chrissy A.


6. “There are so many things. The worst is the nausea. In enough pain I will vomit. And vomiting only makes it so much worse. Also if I cry from pain that will make the head pain worse too. It’s like every physical symptom ends up making the head pain worse.” – Kelsey W.

7. “How bad my legs can hurt.” – Sheila L.

8. “Aphasia. I have chronic migraine and aphasia symptoms can happen at any time for me. Not being able to form coherent sentences, slurred speech, completely forgetting what I was saying mid-sentence, or asking someone to repeat what they just told me several times (because while I hear them, aphasia makes me struggle to understand) is super frustrating. This is also particularly embarrassing at work.” – Gina F.

9. “My vision is somewhat distorted/fluid and blurry 24/7 and I get shooting pains in my eyes.” – Emma S.

10. “I become ravenously hungry before and during an attack, and all I want is carbs! I also get nausea with migraine, so meat and dairy feel like they might upset my stomach and vegetables just don’t seem appealing. It’s like my body is trying to fuel up for a fight. And all it wants is cookies!” – Korinda W.

11. “My face gets hot and red. I know it’s coming when face is hot but no fever.” – Kady K.L.

12. “Severe involuntary movements. This can also be one-sided (right). Sometimes I can’t walk, slurred speech and my right side of my face tightens up. Almost like a stroke, seizure and demonic possession all wrapped into one. Hemiplegic migraine is the best diagnosis I’ve had.” – Devan E.G.

13. “My sense of taste. Once, everything tasted like marijuana for a week.” – Nyci F.M.

14. “Yawning! Oh my goodness, I know an attack is imminent when I start yawning uncontrollably. Unfortunately I also deal with TMJD so the added stress that puts on my jaw just causes so much extra tension and muscle pain and weakness that it hastens the arrival of the pain part of the migraine.” – Janessa O.

15. “My inner ears get hypersensitive to every sound, yet certain tones of voices I can’t hear…” – Katie F.

16. “Paralysis of hands, arms and legs, extremely slurred speech, peripheral vision loss. When a migraine is that bad I have to get up to vomit… if my arms and legs aren’t working I’m not getting to the toilet to vomit. And I can’t speak to tell medical staff what is wrong.” – Elyssa H.

17. “Stuttering. When I am going to get a migraine or have a migraine I stutter; my stutter makes my speech almost unintelligible.” – Mackenzie P.

18. “Exhaustion. I get so tired. And my meds make it even worse so I basically sleep the entire day.” – Aubrey L.R.

19. “Chest pain/heart palpitations are always the sign that my migraine is really bad. It’s like my heart is working twice as hard and you can bet that brain fog comes along with it. Sometimes you have to just work through migraine, but if my heart hurts I call it a day.” – Alex L.A.

20. “I basically appear like I haven’t slept in two-plus days. I dissociate really badly and my speech becomes not super slurred per say, but kind of confused?” – Cai M.

21. “My body will shake if the migraine is bad enough. I’ll just be sitting and shaking.” – Sharayah W.

22. “During the migraine aura stage I feel like I’m in a bubble detached from the world. Things appear to slow down around me and I feel I’m on the outside looking in. Very surreal feeling.” – Amanda M.

23. “Temperature irregularity/inability to regulate body temperature. Freezing cold/super hot. Night sweats all the time when I’m deep into a migraine.” – Andrea S.

24. “Hypersensitivity to light and sound. People talking around me is annoying and I feel super tired and exhausted.” – Madhulika S.

25. “With certain attacks the left side of my body goes tingly/numb. The whole left side… not just arms and legs. Everything including half of my face, lips and throat even. I can literally feel the line go down the middle of my esophagus. Makes it very weird to swallow and super hard to walk around or sometimes even hold my head up. Have a hard time finding the right words and feel like every word comes out of my mouth more slowly than normal.” – Kristen M.

Getty image by elenaleonova

Originally published: July 26, 2018
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