If you get migraines, then you'll know that a migraine is more than just a headache.It's an intense and throbbing pain, which often occurs in one side of the head, although it can be more generalised.

In adults, migraine attacks can be divided into several phases. Although not everyone goes through all of these.

Phases of a Migraine

  1. Pre-headache, warning phase – This stage may include changes in mood, behaviour, appetite and energy levels that can occur between several hours or days before an attack.
  2. Aura (not always present) –   This stage can last between 5 and 60 minutes, and usually happens before the headache. About 1 in 3 migraine sufferers experience an aura. See below for more information.
  3. Headache – The headache is typically throbbing, and made worse by movement. Nausea or vomiting can happen at this stage and the sufferer may feel sensitive to light or sound, or both.
  4. Resolution – Most attacks slowly fade away. The sufferer may feel tired for a few days afterwards.
  5. Recovery – Symptoms can be described as 'hangover' type feeling which may take days to disappear. Symptoms can mirror the premonitory stage, for example if you lost your appetite at the beginning of the attack, you might be very hungry now. If you were tired, you might feel full of energy.

Types of Migraine

Migraines fall into two main categories, those with and without aura. An aura is when you experience temporary warning symptoms before your migraines takes effect. Only about 1 in 3 people with migraines experience an aura. Some people may experience an aura followed by only a mild headache or no headache at all.

Migraine Symptoms:

Aura Symptoms:

People who have a migraine with aura can have the following symptoms which develop over about 5 minutes and last for up to an hour.

  • Visual disturbances - flashing lights, blind spots
  • Tingling, numbness or pins and needles in the arms and legs. This may start in 1 hand, and move up your arm.
  • Speech problems

Common Migraine Symptoms:

The main symptom of a migraine is often an intense headache on one side of the head. This pain is usually a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that worsens when you move, and can prevent you from carrying on with your day-to-day activities. Sometimes the pain can occur on both sides of the head, and may affect your neck or face.

The following symptoms are common for people who suffer with migraines, both with and without aura.

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Sensitivity to sound (phonophobia)
  • Headache which is usually on one side of the head with a throbbing or pulsating pain
  • Last between 4 and 72 hours

The information on this page is not designed to aid in a diagnosis. If you are getting regular headaches or other symptoms that you suspect might be a migraine, please contact your GP.


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Always read the label. Ask your pharmacist for advice.

MIGRALEVE contains paracetamol, buclizine and codeine. MIGRALEVE Pink contains paracetamol, codeine and buclizine. MIGRALEVE Yellow contains paracetamol and codeine.

Can cause addiction. For three days use only. This medicine can make you feel sleepy. Do not drive while taking this medicine until you know how it makes you feel.

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© Johnson & Johnson Limited 2015. This site was last updated on: 27th June 2022

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