Attack-Based Care: Symptoms

Written by Lizzie Propati | March 22, 2022

Nausea? Head pain ? Vision distortion? What are your symptoms when a migraine attack hits? We know that no two people have the same migraine experience but did you know that even with the same person, attacks can have different symptoms? It’s really important to know what your symptoms are and how they affect you, because that will help you figure out what options you will use to treat different attacks!

The Migraine Zone

Migraine has 4 phases: Prodrome, Aura, Attack and Postdrome. The Attack Phase is when you are in what some people call “the migraine zone”! Pain that is stabbing, throbbing or pounding. Nausea and/or vomiting. Blurry vision or even loss of vision. Confusion, brain fog, unstable motor skills, vertigo, dizziness, and abdominal pain. Over sensitivity to lights, smells or sounds, extreme tiredness, neck and shoulder pain, sinus congestion, teary eyes, and much much more! Some people may have attacks that are all the same in terms of symptoms, while others may face a bewildering change from attack to attack. Not only that, but the symptoms often vary as the attack progresses.

How we choose to treat any given attack may be impacted by the symptoms you are experiencing at the onset of treatment. For instance, if you are having intense head pain, nausea and vomiting, how can you treat them all? You certainly don’t want abortive migraine medication to upset your stomach even more, and if you’re throwing up, any oral medication may even be totally useless. What about if you have blurry vision, can’t see, or your hands are shaking? Would you be able to open a foil bubble-sealed medication or give yourself an injection? So how do you decide how to treat this type of attack?
man with headache holding head

An Attack-Based Care Plan

You and your headache specialist need to discuss all of the symptoms that you have during your migraine attacks, and figure out a treatment plan for all the different potential scenarios. It’s helpful to keep a log, journal or diary of your attacks with all your symptoms and when they tend to hit you. In which phase of the migraine attack do they come and go? How long do they last…. minutes, hours, days, weeks? How debilitating are they and do they impact your ability to take certain treatments or the efficacy of those treatments? It’s really challenging to fit all these questions into one short doctor’s visit, but in order to best help yourself you need to figure out a Migraine Toolbox that works for you as part of your arsenal to manage this disease. And beyond that, have a plan that covers how to best treat d attacks based on the symptoms you experience.

Our Migraine Treatment ToolBox is filled with ideas for you! It’s important for you to know YOUR BODY and how it reacts during migraine attacks, and then to talk about it with your doctor.

How to create your personal attack-based care plan:

  • Know your symptoms
  • Keep a journal of your attacks
  • Know how each of your medications and medical devices help with each
  • Have a pre-written medical list of treatments you use
  • Talk with your doctor about which treatment options are best for your specific set of symptoms

Let Us Know

What are your migraine attacks like? What symptoms do you experience and are they the same for every attack? Based on your symptoms, what are the best treatment options for you?

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