Pain Isn’t the Only Symptom

Nausea and sensitivity to light or sound

In addition to pain, many migraine sufferers will experience an onset of symptoms, such as nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light (photophobia), or sensitivity to sound (phonophobia). In fact, these are the most common symptoms used to diagnose migraine.1

Migraine aura

Migraine auras are visual and other sensory disturbances and are often a “warning sign” that a migraine is coming.2 However, not everyone with migraine experiences auras. In fact, only about 20% of migraine patients will experience an aura with every migraine. For those who do, these disturbances usually happen before the migraine headache comes on.3

There are 2 common types of auras: visual auras and physical auras. Visual auras are the most common types of aura occurring in both eyes and may include2:

  • A temporary blind spot
  • Blurred vision
  • Seeing stars or zigzag lines
  • Tunnel vision

Physical auras can include other symptoms such as4:

  • Numbness in the hands and face
  • A feeling of pins and needles pressed to the skin
  • Speech disturbances


1. Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society (IHS). The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition (beta version). Cephalalgia. 2013;33(9):629-808. 2. National Library of Medicine. Migraine. National Library of Medicine website. Updated November 5, 2014. Accessed March 15, 2016. 3. US Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health. Migraine: Frequently asked questions. Office on Women’s Health website.­publications/fact-sheeVmigraine.pdf. Updated May 2008. Accessed March 15, 2016. 4. Evans RW. The clinical features of migraine with and without aura. Prac Neurol. 2014;26-32. Accessed April 8, 2016.