Approximately 25% of Migraineurs experience aura. As with the prodrome, Migraine aura, when the Migraineur is aware of it, can serve as a warning, and sometimes allows the use of medications to abort the attack before the headache phase begins. As noted earlier, not all Migraine attacks include all phases. Although not the majority of attacks, there are some Migraine attacks in which Migraineurs experience aura but no headache. There are several terms used for this experience, including "silent Migraine," "acephalgic Migraine."
The headache phase is generally the most debilitating part of a Migraine attack. It's effects are not limited to the head only, but affect the entire body. The pain of the headache can range from mild to severe. It can be so intense that it is difficult to comprehend by those who have not experienced it. Characteristics of the headache phase may include:
- headache pain that is often unilateral — on one side. This pain can shift to the other side or become bilateral.
- Although Migraine pain can occur at any time of day, statistics have shown the most common time to be 6 a.m. It is not uncommon for Migraineurs to be awakened by the pain.
- Because trigeminal nerve becomes inflamed during a Migraine, Migraine pain can also occur in the areas of the eyes, sinuses, and jaw.
- This phase usually lasts from one to 72 hours. In less common cases where it lasts longer than 72 hours, it is termed status Migrainous, and medical attention should be sought.
- The pain is worsened by any physical activity.
- phonophobia — increased sensitivity to sound
- photophobia — increased sensitivity to light
- osmophobia — increased sensitivity to odors
- neck pain
- nausea and vomiting
- diarrhea or constipation
- nasal congestion and/or runny nose
- depression, severe anxiety
- hot flashes and chills
- vertigo - sensation of spinning or whirling (not to be confused with dizziness or light-headedness)
- dehydration or fluid retention, depending on the individual body's reactions