Black woman laying on couch holding her head

What are the areas of migraine pain?

By Dr. Chelsea Grow, board-certified neurologist and headache specialist Dec 08, 2022 • 2 min

Most people experience migraine pain on one side of the head, though it is possible to feel it on both sides. Once a migraine attack begins, the pain may move or radiate to the front or back of the head. It may even seem to reach across the entire head. It is possible to also experience pain around one eye or temple as well as in the sinuses, jaw, neck or face. Scalp tenderness may accompany the pain.

Migraine sufferers commonly describe the pain as an intense throbbing or pounding. In some cases, the pain begins suddenly, but it may also come on gradually, starting as a dull ache that worsens over time. The pain may persist for as little as a few hours or as long as several days. Movement may worsen the discomfort.

Seeking medical attention

Anytime you experience severe head pain that interferes with your daily activities, you should consult your healthcare provider. They can conduct an examination and order testing to determine if you're suffering from migraines or another type of headache and rule out other medical conditions that could cause similar symptoms. Then, they can recommend lifestyle changes and treatment options, including prescription and over-the-counter migraine medications, to ease discomfort and potentially cut down on the frequency of migraines.

If your healthcare provider has diagnosed you with a migraine, let them know if you develop new symptoms or your symptoms worsen. You may need to make changes to your treatment plan to better control migraines.

Published December 2022.

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