Know the Signs: Migraine Symptoms Before and During Attack

September 15, 2019|Migraine / Headache| by Harrison Salisbury

migraine, chiropractor for migraines based in West JordanAs a chiropractor for migraines based in West Jordan, Utah, I have come to know the debilitating signs and symptoms of the condition. Unfortunately, most of my patients cannot tell a migraine from a headache. Migraines are one of the leading neurological disorders in the world, and they are far more than a bad headache.  They can affect nearly everyone, from yourself to your family members and friends. 

The debilitating headache is the most widespread symptom of a migraine, but many other symptoms can occur before and during the migraine attack, also known as the Prodrome, Aura, and Headache phases. Below are ten of those signs and symptoms.

1. Neck Pain

An early warning sign of a migraine episode is the arrival of neck stiffness or pain. Around 75% of migraine patients experience pain, tightness, or stiffness at the top of the neck or bottom of the skull. 

2. Excessive Yawning

People often let out yawns when tired or sleepy. However, it can also be a sign that a migraine is about to unfold. More than 30% of people with migraines shared that excessive yawning is one of their indicators of an upcoming migraine episode. 

3. Mood Changes 

Mood changes can also come on before a migraine attack. Some migraine patients may feel depressed, anxious, irritable, or even hyper all of a sudden. 

To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and migraines, download our complimentary e-book by clicking the image below.

4. Inability to Sleep Well

Sleeplessness is one sign of a coming migraine. People with migraines often find it hard to fall asleep. As a result, they wake up feeling tired or unrested. A study has linked the severity and frequency of migraines to lack of restorative sleep. Some people develop insomnia because of their migraines. Changes in sleep schedule can actually trigger a migraine attack.

5. Changes in Vision

Migraines with aura bring about visual disturbances. Auras may present as blurred vision, flashes or flickering light, wavy lines, double vision, or temporary vision loss. Some migraine attacks can have auras but without a headache.

6. Stuffy Nose and Watery Eyes

Experiencing these can be a sign that a migraine is coming. People mistakenly think migraines are sinus headaches as both show sinus symptoms like drooping eyelids, watery eyes, a runny nose.

7. Throbbing or Pulsating Head Pain

The headache associated with migraines is often felt on one side of the head, but it can affect both sides. Head pain is the most known among migraine symptoms as this is the most debilitating.

8. Sensitivity to Smells, Sounds, and Lights

In many cases of migraine episodes, patients opt to stay in a dark, quiet place to rest. They avoid strong scents, loud sounds, and bright lights as these worsen the experience even more. 

9. Nausea or Vomiting

Studies reported that as many as 95% of migraine patients experience nausea, making it one of the most common signs of a migraine episode. Why do patients feel nauseous? The function of the digestive system dramatically slows down during a migraine episode, resulting in changes within the nervous system. This explains why many patients go through nausea. 

10. Speech Difficulties

It is also common for people with migraines to experience speech-related issues during an episode. These problems include the inability to find words or convey thoughts clearly. Migraine patients are often at a loss for words or may mumble or stutter when explaining ideas. 

Getting Rid of Migraine Symptoms Naturally

Most people living with migraines say their condition has something to do with an issue in their neck. The neck, particularly the part where it meets the bottom of the skull, is responsible for the development of migraines. 

The Role of the Atlas

The atlas (C1) is the topmost vertebra in the neck. It is unique because of three main reasons:

  1. Shape – The atlas is a ring-shaped vertebra.
  2. Function – It keeps the balance of the head and supports its weight. It also protects a crucial part of the central nervous system, the brainstem.  
  3. Freedom of movement – It is the most freely moveable among any other vertebra in the spinal column. 

However, due to these very reasons, the atlas is particularly prone to misaligning. Even the tiniest misalignment caused by repetitive wear and tear, accident, or injury can have a dramatic effect on the function of the central nervous system. This contributes to the onset of a migraine attack. An atlas misalignment can also result in impaired blood flow between the head and neck, neck pain, and the restriction in the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

Upper Cervical Chiropractic Addresses Atlas Misalignment

Upper cervical chiropractic care pays attention to the proper alignment of the atlas so that the body can work at its best once again. Here at Brain & Spine Upper Cervical Chiropractic in West Jordan, Utah, I measure the exact degree of the atlas misalignment using x-rays and diagnostic imaging. This enables me to provide very gentle and effective corrections. 

If you suffer from migraines and are looking for effective, natural, and long-term relief, upper cervical chiropractic care can benefit you. This can be the perfect solution for you, especially if you have a history of neck or head trauma. Call my office at (801) 784 8217 or fill out my contact form to arrange a consultation with me. In our first meeting, I can tell you more how this unique approach can help manage your migraine symptoms. 




To schedule a consultation with Dr. Salisbury, call our West Jordan office at 801-823-2523. You can also click the button below. If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at