One aspect of a migraine that sets it apart from any other type of headache is the additional symptoms that often accompany the attack. Rather than just involving pounding in the head, a migraine may be experienced alongside nausea, vomiting, and sensory sensitivities – typically to light and sound.
Light sensitivity is called photophobia and is extraordinarily common among those suffering migraine. Approximately 4 out of 5 migraine patients include photophobia as one of their symptoms.
Although light sensitivity is commonly a symptom accompanying migraine attack, there are actually three different types of photophobia depending on when it occurs. They are the following:
• Prodrome or pre-headache – A trigger, which occurs during the first phase, or prodrome, of a migraine, is anything that makes a migraine more likely to occur. Bright light falls into this category for some migraineurs.
• Aura – An aura is a symptom of classic migraine, aka migraine with aura. This type of migraine is unusual. Most people experience the common migraine, or migraine without aura. Seeing spots or zigzags of bright light is a frequent aura.
• Headache – As mentioned above, one of the migraine symptoms experienced during the attack is what's most commonly considered photophobia: pain experienced in the presence of light, particularly when it's bright.
Recent studies have shown that the brain of a person during a migraine could be incapable of processing light in a healthy manner. Pain naturally results. Tragically, it then becomes cyclical: bright light serves as a trigger (first bullet above), and then the attack generates additional photophobia (third bullet).
A fascinating piece of research regarding migraines and light was released in 2010 in the journal Nature Neuroscience. The study found that visually impaired people who suffer from migraines can experience photophobia.
The researchers hypothesized that the perception of light was at the root of photophobia, rather than the ability to actually use light to visually sense the world. Their conjecture seemed true: visually impaired people who were incapable of perceiving light did not get photophobia, while those who could perceive light experienced pain.
If you are experiencing photophobia or any migraine symptoms, you surely are longing for relief without the dangers of pain medication. MiRx combines broad medical and physical approaches to target your complex pain with a complex solution.