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Migraines and Other Headaches

Classifying Migraine HeadachesWhat May Happen Before A Migraine Begins

The word prodrome describes the stage before a headache—the warning period. As much as a day or more before a headache, some young people describe feelings that may be warnings of an oncoming headache, such as irritability, tiredness, and depression.

The Aura

The aura is another experience that occurs even closer to the onset of migraine (thirty to sixty minutes prior). The word aura means a sensation of something more to come. Only about 20 percent of those with migraine headaches have auras, but an aura can be as dramatic as fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Auras are often highly visual. People see flashing lights, shimmering or zig-zagging lines, or blind spots. The “Alice-in-Wonderland” syndrome describes visual problems in which large figures turn into small ones and small ones into large. Some people experience numbness or tingling in various parts of their bodies during an aura. Others have trouble speaking.

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