Evil Headache + 39 More Migraine Symptoms You Need to Know


7. Sensitivity to smell (osmophobia)

Migraine Again founder Paula Dumas says her ability to smell “like a bear” is her Migraine superpower. Heightened sensitivity to smells, osmophobia, is yet another sign of a Migraine attack en route. You may find fumes from food, garbage, cleaning products, perfume—even your partner—overwhelming and noxious.  The flip side of this is you will be the first to smell danger, like a gas leak.

8. Olfactory hallucinations (phantosmia)

However, some people experiencing Migraine may smell odors that aren’t actually there. These olfactory hallucinations are known as phantosmia and generally speaking, the scents aren’t the sweetest. Most phantosmias are described as burning or smoky smells, followed by unpleasant decomposition odors like garbage or sewage.


9. Migraine babble, struggling for words (aphasia)

Grasping for the right words? You may be dealing with Migraine babble formally known as aphasia. A recent study in Cephalalgia reported that nearly 50% of patients experienced changes in speech before and during their Migraine attacks (5).

This included slowed speaking and slurring. Sometimes the impact is more severe, and a person experiencing Migraine unwittingly speaks gibberish or babble.

This happened to the award-winning broadcast journalist, Serene Branson, on live television during the Grammys.


Did you know you have a sixth sense, your balance, supported by the vestibular system or inner ear?  It helps to shape our perception of our body in relation to the world.

Dizziness with Migraine is very common.

10. Dizziness and imbalance

Often in the setting of Migraine, the vestibular system is out of whack and people may experience extreme dizziness. This isn’t the feeling of lightheadedness or faintness but rather a form of vertigo that can feel like your body is rotating, twirling, swaying or bobbing up and down.

As a result, your balance may be impacted and you may feel wobbly or have a persistent sense of imbalance known as ataxia.

Researchers estimate that 30-50% of people get Migraine-related vertigo with their attacks (6), and some people who experience reoccurring episodes of dizziness and imbalance during a Migraine attack are diagnosed with Vestibular Migraine (7).

11. Extreme motion sensitivity, hypersensitivity to physical and visual movement

And because the vestibular system is impacted by Migraine, people often report extreme sensitivity to motion. Car sickness is not uncommon, and there is a tendency to try to keep the head as still as possible.

Your Body

migraine art crying out in pain

Image: Migraine Action Art Collection: Image 479, Unnamed artist, Untitled (1981)

Body Pains

Pain is part and parcel of life with Migraine. But Migraine is so much more than a headache. Pain does not discriminate and radiates to many different places in the body.

12. Neck pain and stiffness

Researchers recently found that stiff, tight muscles in the neck and an aching neck are signs that a Migraine is underway. What a pain in the neck!

13. Jaw pain

The same could be said for the jaw. Pain in the jaw area and even one’s teeth may accompany a Migraine attack as the trigeminal nerve becomes inflamed and radiates pain to different parts of the head.

Sinus Headache vs. Migraine Symptom Chart14. Sinus pain and pressure

Sometimes, people think they have a sinus infection but that sinus pain, pressure, and tenderness is really just Migraine in disguise. See our checklist to learn how to tell the difference.

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