A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities. For some people, a warning symptom known as an aura occurs before or with the headache. An aura can include visual disturbances, such as flashes of light or blind spots, or other disturbances, such as tingling on one side of the face or in an arm or leg and difficulty speaking.
Possible symptoms of migraines include: • Intense throbbing or dull aching pain on one side of your head or both sides. • Pain that worsens with physical activity. • Nausea or vomiting. • Changes in how you see, including blurred vision or blind spots. • Being bothered by light, noise, or odors. • Feeling tired and/or confused. • Stopped-up nose. • Feeling cold or sweaty. • Stiff or tender neck. • Lightheadedness. • Tender scalp.
Though migraine causes aren't fully understood, genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role. Changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway, might be involved. So might imbalances in brain chemicals — including serotonin, which helps regulate pain in your nervous system.