Coping with Migraine and Sensory Disturbances

Coping with Migraine and Sensory Disturbances

Understanding Sensory Disturbances During Migraine Attacks

Migraine attacks can be accompanied by various sensory disturbances, which can significantly impact daily life. These disturbances are often experienced during the prodromal phase, known as an aura. Here are some common sensory disturbances:

  • Visual disturbances: seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots
  • Sensitivity to light: experiencing discomfort or pain when exposed to bright lights
  • Tingling or numbness: feeling a prickling or loss of sensation in certain parts of the body
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding speech: struggling with speech or comprehension
  • Unpleasant smells: sensing strong or unpleasant odors that are not present

Sensory disturbances can also manifest as sensory overload, where individuals become highly sensitive to various sensory stimuli. Some examples include:

  • Heightened sensitivity to sounds: finding normal noises overwhelming or painful
  • Overwhelming smells or tastes: feeling overwhelmed or nauseous due to certain smells or tastes
  • Intense sensitivity to touch: experiencing pain or discomfort with even gentle touches

The Importance of Tracking and Recording Sensory Disturbances

Keeping a record of sensory disturbances during migraine attacks is crucial for several reasons.

Recognizing Triggers

Tracking sensory disturbances can help identify specific triggers that may contribute to the onset of migraine attacks. By noting the frequency and intensity of these triggers, individuals can take steps to avoid or manage them more effectively.

Tracking Symptom Patterns

Documenting the duration of sensory disturbances can provide insights into the overall pattern and duration of migraine attacks. Additionally, noting any accompanying symptoms such as headache severity, nausea or vomiting, and fatigue or dizziness can help identify patterns or commonalities among attacks.

Communicating Effectively with Healthcare Providers

Having an accurate and detailed record of sensory disturbances can assist healthcare providers in diagnosing and developing appropriate treatment plans. By sharing this information, individuals can contribute to their own healthcare and receive more targeted care.

Strategies for Tracking Sensory Disturbances During Migraine Attacks

There are various methods for effectively tracking sensory disturbances during migraine attacks. Here are some strategies to consider:

Keeping a Symptom Journal

Using a dedicated notebook or mobile app, individuals can record the date, time, and duration of each migraine attack. It is also helpful to describe the specific sensory disturbances experienced during each attack in as much detail as possible.

Utilizing a Pain Scale

Assessing the severity of pain during attacks can be done using a pain scale, allowing individuals to create a visual representation of pain levels over time. This scale can be personalized, using a numerical or descriptive rating system.

Including Additional Relevant Information

It is beneficial to include any additional relevant information in the tracking process. This can include tracking medication usage and effectiveness, noting any lifestyle or dietary changes, and documenting stress levels and sleep patterns. All these factors can contribute to migraine attacks and their associated sensory disturbances.

Benefits of Migraine Tracking During Sensory Disturbances

Tracking sensory disturbances during migraine attacks offers several important benefits:

Empowering Self-Management

Recognizing personal triggers and patterns through tracking allows individuals to make informed lifestyle adjustments that can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.

Enhancing Communication with Healthcare Providers

By providing accurate and detailed information about sensory disturbances, individuals can enable healthcare providers to make more informed decisions about diagnosis and treatment. This can lead to more effective management and improved quality of life.

Improving Treatment Outcomes

Tracking sensory disturbances can help identify effective medications or interventions to manage migraine attacks. It also allows individuals and healthcare providers to monitor the progress of symptom management over time, ensuring the most appropriate treatment plan is in place.

Overcoming Challenges in Tracking Sensory Disturbances

Tracking sensory disturbances during migraine attacks may present some challenges, but with the right strategies, it can be more manageable:

Managing Cognitive Impairment During Attacks

During migraine attacks, cognitive impairment may make it difficult to engage in complex tracking methods. Simplified methods, such as using a checklist or rating scale, or seeking assistance from a caregiver or support system, can help overcome this challenge.

Maintaining Consistency in Recording

Incorporating tracking habits into the daily routine can help ensure consistency. Using reminders or alarms can serve as prompts to record sensory disturbances, even during busy or stressful periods.

Finding the Most Suitable Tracking Method

Experimenting with different journal formats or apps can help discover the most suitable tracking method. It’s important to choose an option that is accessible and user-friendly, making it easier to maintain consistent tracking.

Seeking Support During Migraine Attacks and Sensory Disturbances

When coping with migraine attacks and sensory disturbances, seeking support is essential. Here are some avenues to consider:

Joining Support Groups or Online Communities

Participating in support groups or online communities allows individuals to share experiences and coping strategies with others who understand. These communities provide valuable emotional support and insights into managing migraine attacks.

Consulting with Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers can offer guidance on medication options and potential side effects. They can also explore preventive measures and alternative treatments to complement traditional approaches.

Exploring Complementary and Alternative Therapies

In addition to medical interventions, complementary and alternative therapies can provide additional support. Techniques such as relaxation exercises, meditation, yoga, acupuncture, massage, or chiropractic care may help manage migraine attacks and alleviate sensory disturbances.


Tracking sensory disturbances during migraine attacks is a valuable tool for understanding triggers, patterns, and effective management strategies. By compiling a detailed record and effectively communicating with healthcare providers, individuals can enhance their self-management and improve their overall quality of life. Through diligent tracking and seeking support, coping with migraine attacks and sensory disturbances becomes a more manageable endeavor.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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