What is a migraine without aura?

A migraine without aura is one that starts without advance warning. It is the more common of the 2 basic types of migraine. While your experience of a migraine headache will be different from someone else's, there are certain characteristics that are common for most people.

Where they start. A migraine with or without aura usually starts as a dull ache on one side of your head. It may start in the same place every time, or it may switch sides.

What they feel like. The pain can also travel to different parts of your head. As your headache continues, the pain changes from dull to throbbing or pulsating. To see what this pain looks like in your brain, see the illustration under What causes migraine headaches? You may have an increased sensitivity to light, smells, and sounds, and the headache most likely disrupts your normal activities. These headaches are often accompanied by nausea and, possibly, vomiting. Most of the time you need to limit or cancel activities during and after the migraine.

How long they last. Typically, a migraine lasts about 4 to 6 hours, but some can last as long as 2 days. Many people who have migraines report they get 1 headache a month and that it lasts for about a day.

What eases the pain. How you feel after a migraine can depend on your medication, the length and severity of your headache, and how well you're able to control your symptoms early on. Lying down and sleeping often helps relieve the pain.

What makes pain worse. You may find that the pain gets worse if you walk up and down stairs, bend over, or are too active.

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