The common migraine, also known as Migraine without Aura (MWOA), is the most common type of migraine. Even those diagnosed with Migraine with Aura suffer from the common migraine from time to time. Migraines are a primary headache, which means that there are no underlying conditions or illnesses that cause the headaches. It is characterized as a recurring headache with episodes lasting for about 4-72 hours. People who have migraine episodes feel a throbbing pain on one side of the head. Each episode can vary from moderate to severe and can be aggravated by performing routine physical activities. Migraines in general are a non-life threatening condition; however, severe episodes may debilitate a person for the duration of the migraine attack, and sometimes even after the pain has subsided. Other symptoms people experiencing migraine headaches report include sensitivity to light, sound and odors, as well as nausea and vomiting. If you’ve experienced these symptoms at least 5 times already, then it may be a migraine headache. Consult a doctor or headache specialist to have the correct diagnosis.
The Phases of a Migraine without Aura
People who experience migraine headaches go through 3 phases with each episode. These three phases are the prodrome or the pre-headache phase, the actual onset of the headache, and the postdrome, or the period after the headache has subsided.
- Prodrome. During this period, people with migraines get the sense that a headache is fast approaching. Some of the signs are so subtle that people tend to ignore them until such time that the headache is only minutes away from becoming a fully developed migraine. Those who do identify the signs often use this period to prevent a migraine attack or lessen its impact by taking painkillers or prescription migraine medicine right away. During this period, Migraineurs may feel any of the following:
- Stiffness of the neck muscles
- Neck pain
- Mood swings
- Cravings for particular foods
- Frequent urination
- Diarrhea or constipation
- The Actual Headache. This is the stage where the actual headache is felt. This phase lasts anywhere between 1 to 72 hours and can debilitate a person for the duration of the attack depending on the severity of the headache. If a migraine lasts longer than 72 hours, medical attention should be sought immediately.
- Postdrome. It takes a person several hours to completely recover from a migraine headache, especially from one that is severe and intense. When a person enters this phase of the Migraine without Aura, he or she usually feels drained of energy. There’s also the feeling sluggishness described as zombie-like or as if one has a hangover. Medications taken to relieve the headache can also cause symptoms of drowsiness which adds to the post-headache symptoms.
Treating Migraine without Aura
People who self medicate often find themselves stocking their medicine cabinets with over-the-counter analgesics in case a migraine attack occurs. This is fine for treating the pain caused by the headaches, but to treat the symptoms associated with migraines such as nausea and sensitivity to light and sound, it is best to get a prescription from a doctor for medications that are made specifically for migraine headaches. Triptans are prescription drugs that treat not only the headache pain, but also the symptoms that come with it.
If you suspect that you are suffering from Migraine without Aura, consult a headache specialist immediately to get a proper diagnosis and the correct treatment.