Did I just have a migraine?

I’m 45, and never had migraines as far as I know. But something weird happened yesterday, and someone suggested I had a migraine, and that scares me a bit. I know people who deal with those regularly and they sound terrible. So, here’s what went down. It will be detailed, because I am not sure what information might be relevant.

I went to a football game in the early afternoon. I started feeling headachy around noon, and figured it was from lack of caffeine. It was breezy and cold (50s in the shade) and noisy and crowded as these things are (Aggies are SERIOUS about their football) which I don’t usually have a problem with. But the headache continued to get worse… I got a soda, but that didn’t help. I went and stood out in the sun and warmed up and felt a little better, but was planning to beg for some Advil or something when we got to SO’s parents’ house. By the end of the game it was pretty bad. On the long ride home (small town, roads were overwhelmed with traffic) it got much worse, and I started feeling nauseous too. Terrific! Every bump in the road was awful.

I got to home base and got some Aleve gel caps in me. I tried to eat but the smells just made me sick, so I went to lay down and bitch to God and try not to barf. The pain seemed to start in both temples and radiate through my whole skull. It sucked.

I woke up about two hours later, and felt right as rain. And hungry. And perfectly fine today.

No auras or anything. Does this sound like a migraine? I’m hoping it’s just a combination of allergies plus motion sickness (which I am prone to and sleeping always cures) and caffeine headache, but that seems like it might be an s-shaped bullet path to avoid saying it was a migraine. What do you think?

Yeah, it sounds like the type my dad has - no auras. I get auras though.

Yup, sounds like a migraine. That’s how my first one went too, right down to the two hour nap of healing.


Yes, that sounds as if it could be a common migraine (no aura). One of the risk factors, apparently, is caffeine withdrawal. If you are a regular caffeine user–and it sounds like you are–this could be a cause.

Migraine is usually only on one side of the head. You can read in Wikipedia to see if caffeine withdrawal better matches your symptoms.

I’ve had both.

What’s the difference between a migraine and headaches caused by dehydration? I remember one dehydration headache from when I was a kid (out for hours in the hot sun, no hat, no water) that I recall as pretty much exactly like what the OP describes.

The fact that it eased some when you stepped into the sunlight would make me say no. Bright sunlight is a migraine trigger and usually would make it worse.

I am going with caffeine withdrawal.

I get dehydration headaches, and it does sound a lot like the OP’s description - I’ve learned that we need an awful lot more liquid consumption than we realize we do. My headaches are in my temples/behind my eyes and just pound throughout my whole head. If I feel one coming on and I quickly drink A LOT of water (or Gatorade), I can head it off. I don’t usually feel nauseated, but I sure don’t feel like eating with my head throbbing.

You didn’t bump your head a few hours earlier, did you? The part about the nausea is a little scary. I don’t have migraines, so maybe nausea is standard.

(I’ve been to Aggie football games and they are serious business, *especially *at Kyle Field-- kind of like attending Mass at the Vatican.)

This is the sentence that describes a migraine, except it should be POUND POUND POUND. And the sunlight should have made it worse.

Do you smoke? There appears to be a link between smoking and migraines. (It’s not 100% though and some non-smokers also experience migraines.)

That sounds more like a sinus headache to me, especially where it got a little better in the sunlight. For me, if I get a headache of any sort, motion sickness is more likely, and once I get that nausea, it won’t go away for a while.

In any case, I wouldn’t worry about it too much, OP. Even if it were a migraine, that doesn’t mean you are doomed to have another one or to be a regular sufferer.

I get occasional migraines, and nausea is certainly a standard part of the package, along with blinding pain behind one eye and being unable to cope with bright light. I find some strong painkillers and lying down in a dark room with a cold pillow pressed to my eye to be the only way to cope.

There are a couple of key things that have already been noted that would indicate it was NOT a migraine.

  • Sunlight making it better
  • headache on both sides instead of just one

I would tend to agree with the thought that it was either caffeine withdrawl or dehydration.

So, drink more water, if you’re going to drink less coffee or soda reduce gradually and you should be fine :slight_smile:

I think it’s dehydration. That has happened to me and they can be so bad that they make you nauseous. I think because they are so awful, you end up thinking it must be a migraine. Migraine are horrendous (from what I hear), but a “normal” headache can be pretty damn painful, too.

I’m only moderately sensitive to light with my migraines, so it seems believable that you would be ok in sunlight (did you just squint a lot and think “man, it’s really bright today?”) However, it did strike me that you wanted to warm up in the sunlight and felt better when you did. Whenever I have a migraine I want to stick my head in the freezer. The colder my head the better. Also, my migraines feel like someone is driving an icepick into my left eye. Nausea’s standard.

I’m going to lean to the ‘not a migraine’ side. I’ve actually experienced two wholly different kinds of migraines - I used to get the icepick-over-one-eye, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound kind - AKA ‘Migraine Classic’. But as of about two years ago, my biannual migraines seem to have shifted to ‘New Migraine’ - visual distortion aura for about twenty minutes, fading into a very low-pain (but still off-putting) headache for hours.

In my experience, BOTH sorts do not leave me feeling ‘right as rain’ a couple hours later. It’s usually 24 hours at least before I can cough or bend over (anything that forces blood into my head) without my brain feeling like it’s bruised.

Yeah, my migraines leave me feeling a bit… disembodied is the best term I can come up with for hours afterward.

I get headaches like the OP describes but I don’t consider them migranes. They seem to be more sinus headaches or dehydration headaches that turn in to tension headaches and by the end of the day you want to die.

I had one of these on Saturday. I got up, had too much sugar (failed baking), then put on a costume that was too tight in places, plus fake teeth, then had booze, and more sugar and even though I sobered up pretty good and drank a bunch of water I still found myself hanging out on the bathroom floor feeling super nauseated and my head still in pain.

That wasn’t a migrane, that was just a shitty day where I let things snowball.

Migraine hangover. It sucks.