The headache stage of a migraine is brutal, I think we can all agree to agree on that. But sometimes we do not even get the headache phase. And sometimes with treatment the headache phase can be milder in intensity. And it is Other symptoms that are mind-blowingly intense.

Like what, you ask?


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I am in the midst of a bout of vertigo that is severe. I thought I had tamed it yesterday down to mild but then it roared back into gear today once more making it hard to walk and function. Now it is just getting back down to moderate, thankfully. But severe dizziness. Woozy. Imbalance. Trouble walking. Drop attacks (when you are walking and suddenly the ground feels like it drops beneath your feet causing you to actually stumble or fall to ‘catch’ yourself’). Vertigo. Unable to move my head much due to sensitivity to the motion. Difficulty standing because I get so damn lightheaded I feel like I will pass out. And it has been Days of this. I have no capacity to focus. No ability to drive or function. This level of vestibular migraines is disabling. I seriously hope it is not a regular occurrence because my vestibular migraines were well controlled with Sibelium, a calcium channel blocker and this is the first serious one since I have been on it. Still was getting it mildly and some mild to moderate dizziness. But Not This Hell. Now vestibular migraines do not necessarily come with a headache. I haven’t had a headache with this migraine all day. And the last few days I have had a migraine headache on some of the days, but not all of them. It is also unpredictable in duration. I have had vertigo bouts last seconds. Little surges of it. I have had it last months, constantly, before treatment. It can be triggered by motion. Sudden movements. Driving. Elevators. Escalators. Pretty much any motion can trigger an attack of any intensity and duration. So, yeah, vertigo can at times be a problem just as severe or more severe that the pain.


Cutaneous allodynia is when there is painful sensation on the skin, sometimes like a light burn and sometimes intense and excruciating, that are not from stimuli that would normally provoke such pain. With migraines it is very common in the scalp and neck, but I have had it scalp, neck, back, arms and thighs. I have it now on the back by the shoulder and it has been flaring there off and on for months. It is Insanely Painful. And there isn’t much I can do about this pain. You can take a triptan for a migraine and maybe get some relief… potentially right? Allodynia there is no relief from a pain that Can be relentless in intensity. It can be mild but it can be Severe. The intensity I have going on right now is just so severe. I’d do anything to get some relief for it, but there is nothing I can do.
There is evidence to suggest having allodynia could be an indicator someone may go chronic. People with chronic migraines are more likely to have allodynia. There is also evidence its presence may affect treatment; as in it is a predictor of poor responding to triptans and other things like opiates. In other words, you have this Beast and it will make the migraines harder to treat as well. And that is adding insult to injury really. It gets on the list for the added severe pain it brings to the picture and for complicating our migraine treatment.



Here is the thing with nausea and vomiting. It can be some nausea that responds to anti-nausea meds and then there is Insane Nausea and violent vomiting. When I was first diagnosed with migraines I would get violent vomiting. I would start and couldn’t stop. Just keep going and going and going. Until I felt dizzy. I also recently had the pleasure of Insane Nausea that didn’t respond to Zofran, and every other single thing I tried from ginger, to peppermint to Gravol. And I lost 30 pounds from it and my inability to eat from the nausea alone. I spent a year like that, unable to eat barely anything. Sick all the time, fighting the nausea, fighting to keep my food down. Yeah, nausea can be worse because it can be relentless as well.


5 thoughts on “Symptoms of a migraine that can be as severe as the pain

  1. I used to get awful nausea and vomiting too, but people didn’t understand that it was part of the migrraine and not a bug! The nausea and strange smells is one of my earliest migraine memories from about age 8. Great post as ever Nikki – I’ve shared the link on PainPals reg Monday Magic feature, Claire x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello, BB. Just happened on this article as it showed up at the end of someone else’s post. You certainly have been through the wringer with these migraines. I hope, since it’s over a year since you wrote this, that treatments have helped in some way.

    I had vertigo one time, as a young man. Never found out the cause. I can just imagine the stress of chronic vertigo.

    In 1995, after the death of my step-father, my mother came to live with us. It put a tremendous strain on our marriage (we survived). I began to get painful migraines. Fortunately, only once with the violent nausea, just the “get in a dark, quiet room quick” kind. Migraines went on for 13 years until she passed. Just like that, they stopped.

    I still get ocular migraines about 3 times a year. You can see some examples of how it affects your vision by typing “What does an ocular migraine look like” in Google. Just rarely do I get the technicolor kind, usually only when the sun is shining brightly. Again, fortunately, I don’t have any pain with them, just the visual distortions. Oddly, after I have one, I am extremely tired, like I just ran a marathon. Mine last exactly 20 minutes. You can start a stop watch and at 20 minutes it’s gone. Wierd!

    Anyway, I found your posts very interesting. Best wishes in your efforts to find relief/cure from this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do have some changes coming up in treatment soon that I hope will help.I’ve never had an ocular migraine but I do definitely get the aura before a migraine. And that can be a lot of visual weirdness for sure. I think the reason you are tired after is because you are getting the postdrome part of the migraine still. And that migraine ‘hangover’ can make us so tired and drained. I am very glad your severe enduring migraines have ceased. And that the ocular migraines are not frequent.

      Liked by 1 person

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