This blog entry will explain the basic progression of a migraine to help you understand the stages which migraine sufferers go through.
The first sign of a migraine is called a prodome and occurs four to forty-eight hours before the pain starts and is commonly experienced as fatigue. It can also present as change in mood, food cravings, dizziness and changes to bowels and urination.
Secondly the aura which is visual disturbances that some migraine sufferers experience. This is due to wave spreading depression in brain function leading to the slow spread of the aura symptoms.
The pain in the head originates from the lower brain stem which sits at the base of the brain, forming the juncture between the brain and the spinal cord. Pain sensitive nerve endings from the meninges (which is the outer layer of the brain send messages to the brain stem which then sends it along to pain centers of the brain and lead to the headache.)
Post migraine is called postdone which is commonly experienced as fatigue or brain fog. These symptoms can last up to a day.
Migraine diagnosis is officially made with a strict criteria but as I stated earlier the more we learn the more it seems that a headache and a migraine are really on the same continuum. An example of this is one study showed 90 percent of supposed sinus headaches were actually migraines.
In the next blog we will look at what triggers a migraine and start to look at the question are these triggers really the cause of a migraine or is something else going on underneath this process.