Migraine Awareness Week is co-ordinated by The Migraine Trust to have the complex and often disabling-effects of a migraine better understood.

1 in 7 people will have a migraine and is more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined!

It can really stop normal life for a few hours or even days if you are unlucky.

The symptoms of a migraine and their variety can be highly individual too as well as varying over the time of an “attack”.

There are 5 main parts to a migraine that lead on from each other:

  • Premonitory or warning phase
  • Aura (not always present)
  • The headache or main attack stage
  • Resolution
  • Recovery or postdrome stage

They can vary between each migraine in both duration, severity and type and may be partially combined too.

Premonitory stage

This describes certain physical and mental changes such as tiredness, craving sweet foods, mood changes, feeling thirsty and a stiff neck. These feelings can last from 1 to 24 hours.


The aura of migraine includes a wide range of neurological symptoms. This stage can last from 5 to 60 minutes, and usually happens before the headache. Migraine without aura does not include this stage.

In some people, changes in the cortex area of the brain cause changes in their sight, such as dark spots, coloured spots, sparkles or ‘stars’, and zigzag lines. Numbness or tingling, weakness, and dizziness or vertigo (the feeling of everything spinning) can also happen. Speech and hearing can also be disturbed, and people with migraine have reported memory changes, feelings of fear and confusion, and more rarely, partial paralysis or fainting. These neurological symptoms are called the ‘aura’ of migraine. In adults, they usually happen before the headache itself, but in children, they may happen at the same time as the headache. It is possible to have the aura symptoms without the headache.  We have more information about aura here.

The headache or main attack stage

This stage involves head pain which can be severe, even unbearable. The headache is typically throbbing, and made worse by movement. Some people describe a pressing or tightening pain. The headache is usually on one side of the head, especially at the start of an attack. However, it is not uncommon to get pain on both sides, or all over the head. Nausea (sickness) and vomiting (being sick) can happen at this stage, and the person with migraine may feel sensitive to light or sound, or both.


Most attacks slowly fade away, but some stop suddenly after the person with migraine is sick, or cries a lot. Sleep seems to help many people, who find that even an hour or two can be enough to end an attack. Many children find that sleeping for just a few minutes can stop their attack.

Recovery or postdrome stage

This is the final stage of an attack, and it can take hours or days for a ‘hangover’ type feeling to disappear. Symptoms can be similar to those of the first stage, and often they are mirrored symptoms. For example, if you lost your appetite at the beginning of the attack, you might be very hungry now. If you were tired, now you might feel full of energy.

There are a number of different types of migraine which include:

  1. Migraine without aura
  2. Migraine with aura
  3. Chronic migraine
  4. Menstrual migraine
  5. Hemiplegic migraine
  6. Migraine and vertigo
  7. Migraine with brainstem aura
  8. Abdominal migraine
  9. Cyclical vomiting syndrome

In children they tend to have more abdominal migraines / vomiting vs all the head symptoms and attacks last from a few hours to about 24 hours. They are very sleepy afterwards.


Osteopathic intervention can be very helpful over time to reduce severity and also the frequency and variety of the symptoms. Work to the upper back, neck, jaw and teeth, sinuses and brain stem (using cranial Osteopathy) make big differences.

Other areas of the body may also need to be addressed – low back, posture, gut dysfunction etc too and food sensitivities. They can all play a role. By taking a whole body look at what is going on surprising results can take place.

Understanding and taking action against trigger factors is important – whether they are hormone, food, hydration, stress, sleep, posture, coffee, additives, alcohol, poor glycaemic (sugar) control, oral contraceptives, drink, dental issues, bruxism (grinding the teeth), head injury and more.

Osteopaths are not only highly experienced about listening for trigger factors because we have the time to get to know our clients but also know what actions to take to help reduce their effects.

“The causes of migraines are often multi-factorial. Getting clarity about these makes the difference between success and failure. Gayle Palmer is an expert at finding this out.”


To make an appointment with Gayle use this link: https://living-elements-clinic.cliniko.com/bookings

Don’t just live off medication which only has a calming effect for your migraine symptoms. See appropriate treatment with  experienced Osteopath, Gayle Palmer D.O., who will explain what is happening and tell you exactly what to, and what not to do.

If she does not think she can help – she will tell you!

Personal Experience

Gayle had a lot of migraines as a child – mainly headaches with vomiting and earache which would last 12-24 hours… but as an adult now rarely gets them. The type she gets now are the hemiplegic type usually, or a variant of – so she is well placed to understand what happens. Thankfully only once or twice a year – with known causes.

Place your healing in her hands – make your appointment NOW!


Migraines – what are they?How do they present?What can you do about them?How can Osteopathy help?#migraineawareness #migraine #painrelief

Posted by Living Elements Clinic on Thursday, 5 September 2019

MIGRAINE – transcript

By Gayle Palmer Sept 2019

So, can you guess the topic of today’s blog? “Migraine”!

Do you know that one out of seven people suffer from migraines? One out of seven is a huge number. Now, as an osteopath, if I can make a difference to just a few of those, that is amazing.

So many people suffer unnecessarily from migraines or at least could have their migraines improved either in the duration or the severity of their symptoms and that is my aim to explain by creating this short blog post.

There are a variety of different types of migraine. There are wide varieties of different symptoms which can be related to them. So, actually, having the diagnosis of migraine is not necessary very helpful. It can be confused with other things as well. But at least, it is a starting point.

So, there are five main parts to a migraine typically.

Not everybody has had all of them. But I thought I will tell you about them because it often helps to understand what is happening with the symptoms.

So, there is a warning phase or beginning phase which can produce physical symptoms or mental/emotional symptoms so you can get tightness, cravings, new changes quite often, you can feel really thirsty or your neck can get really tight and uncomfortable, and they can last anything from half an hour, 20 minutes before an attack up to an hour, even up to 24 hours for some people. So, they know that there will be a migraine attack coming. To be honest, having experience those, I am not sure it is necessarily very helpful, but you can have a bit of a chance to move into a situation where you might be able to cope with it better.

There is then aura stage. Not everyone has an aura stage to their migraines. Some people do not get that aura. Typically, these are neurological symptoms, so they produce via the brain or the nervous system itself. They can last anything from 30 seconds up to about an hour and they happen right before the main migraine which for most people is a headache right before that starts. You can get symptoms of dizziness, weakness, vertigo, so you feel everything the world is spinning around you. You can have speech and auditory disturbances, so sometimes you can’t think of the words that you want to get out or you cannot actually say them properly, sentences get disturb. You often have memory changes during the aura phase; you can feel confused or fearful. Sometimes, you get partial paralysis, that is one of the main symptoms, or you can feel faint, I often get pins and needles particularly around the lips or sometimes around the nose that is really quite a common or a symptom to experience.

In adults, the aura usually happens before the headache. In children, it happens pretty much at the same time. Their symptoms kind of get squeezed together.

And then you get the main stage of the attack which is primarily a headache. This can be very unbearable in its type and it’s severity as well that often one sided, the pain can be quite unbearable. Frequently made was by bright lights, flashing lights, noises and movements. So, when you have the main attack, you want to lie down in a dark room. You want to move as little as possible. And you usually do not want other people around you either. To be honest, you get quite anti-social. It can be a band-type feeling or pressing, or squeezing type pain, as I say it is often one sided but it does not have to be. Some people describe it coming from their neck, and then coming up and around their head often over the eye or into the eye itself which is horrible. It is a horrible experience.

You can get all over your head. It is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

For my own experience, if I was able to be sick during a migraine attack that may be feel much better. And that is often happens with children as well. They often have more abdominal guts, guts symptoms they have for quite sick. The headaches, they can last for hours. Often much, much longer than that. And then gradually, the attack, the main thrust of the attack will fade and after that you feel really sleepy. Or you can cry a lot, you get very emotional. Sleep for a couple of hours after an attack often resolves the problem and kids particularly will sleep directly after an attack, and it really cures the problem.

And then, there is a postdromal stage or recovery stage and in that part, you feel quite drowsy as so you are not quite there, you do not quite know where you are in space. You feel a bit fluffy or you are in a cloud. You are not really related to the rest of the world around you or they can relate to them. Sometimes, you lost your appetite but you might be really hungry in that post attack stage. And from being really tired and fatigue you now have boundless energy which I am not sure is necessary good thing on you either.

So, there are number of different types of migraines which are recognized.

  1. There is a migraine with an aura. So, get those premonitary symptoms or without an aura.
  2. You can have chronic or long term, long standing migraines which will last for days on end, or have a few hours or a few days break and then you bring back straight at you again.
  3. Hemiplegic migraines, I now tend to get this where you end up losing sensation or function in typically half of your body although this is not always true, which can be very frightening because it can be very similar to having strokes. So, when you first experience that – that is pretty scary.
  4. You can have migraine with vertigo. So, you can get huge mass of dizziness to consider, you cannot stand up. Very, very unpleasant.
  5. You can have migraines with the brain stem aura and those are more visceral type symptoms. So, you feel sick or nauseous. You get vomiting, etc.
  6. You can have an abdominal migraine. Again, it feels that you got a headache but it is in your tummy. That is absolutely typical with children. That is the most common description that they have. They often do not get the headache though and you can have a sickly cold vomiting syndrome which is ghastly where you just keep on being sick.

So, those are the main types. There are other types as well. But I do not want to go into masses amounts of detail.

Suffice it to say, if you are struggling from migraines – Osteopathy can help.

We can help because we make a difference to the blood supply which is crucial for migraines to stop. We can make a difference to the nerve supply. They are the bits that maintain the migraines symptoms for you.

We can make a difference to how your whole body works and we can make a difference over time. So, not any do your symptoms decreases in severity usually, decrease in chronicity, so how often but they also decrease in duration. So, if you used to have a migraine that lasts for 24 hours or so, if you have migraines that less often and it last an hour or two, that totally transforms your life!

Now, as you can imagine from the symptoms that I have already gone through, migraines are complicated, they are multifactorial and so it is worthwhile, come along for a consultation with me, Gayle Palmer, the osteopath at the Living Elements Clinic.

Let me take a really detailed case history, let us get to work on what is causing your migraines. Find out those triggers. Get those resolved and let us see if we can make a difference.

So, if you are interested in having an appointment, use the link below or above and I would be happy to see you. Take care for now; give us a call if you need to if you are suffering from one of these horrible things.

Sept 2019

© Living Elements Clinic 2019

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