My Typical Migraine Symptoms

This is how I described my headaches to migraine surgeon Dr. Ziv Peled.

Waking Up with Headache

I wake up and immediately know something is wrong.

I feel achy, depressed and so nauseous that thinking of drinking water makes me sick to my stomach. I know that today is going to be a long and painful day.

Neck Pain. Nausea.

I submitted this form as part of migraine surgery pre-screening.

Upon emerging from bed it becomes clear that either the left or right side of my neck (more often the right side) feels strained and achey.

When I stretch or massage the spot, the pain radiates up and over my scalp to behind my ears and my eyes. It also shoots down to my gut and I may burp or feel a throbbing sense of nausea.

Will It Get Better or Worse?

Within 2 hours I will know for sure: is this going to blow up into an all out 10/10 episode, or is this going to calm down?


If I eat, become psychologically stressed, or have to assume uncomfortable postures, it almost always escalates to a 10/10.

Within a few hours, the pain in my neck becomes unbearable. It has now spread full time up my scalp and behind my eyes. It is usually one side or the other, and whatever side it’s on, I can’t keep that eye open.

Distracting Myself From the Pain

The nausea becomes so severe that if I slow down enough to acknowledge it, I will vomit.

I have two options, 1) distract myself by moving and working (I work as an auto technician), being silly, shouting, talking to myself, joking around insanely with my coworkers or 2) lie down in the dark and ram a Theracane into the occipital area of my neck to bring relief.


I had a severe migraine when I took this photo hiking in Florida in 2013.


Either way, it is only a matter of time until I vomit, even if I haven’t eaten.

I will vomit multiple courses of bile, eventually arriving at the mucuousy-darker green stuff that has an exceptionally bitter taste.

Napping, Theracane Massage, Dry Needling

If my schedule permits, I will nap as much as I can. Still, when I nap I often wake up even sicker.

If I can’t nap I will make it to my bedroom ASAP where I will lie a Theracane horizontally and rest my neck directly onto one of the foosball-sized nobs, feeling around with it for the hot spots that bring relief, until I vomit more or pass out.

Massaging with a Theracane for migraine relief in May of 2017.

Usually I wake up a few hours later, around midnight, still in severe pain.

Back to the Theracane or to using acupuncture needles on myself, first finding the pain/relief points at the back of my neck and inserting a needle into that same spot.

I also squeeze or needle my eyebrows with good results.

Better in 24 Hours.

Almost always the episode breaks by 5am the next morning after over 24 hours of fasting and massage.

One out of five times the neck pain lingers into the next day even though nausea subsides.

Usually the episode breaks completely and my mood is great and appetite is strong the next day.

The multi-day headaches usually happen only after days of heavy-lifting where it feels like the neck muscles are sore from exercise and need multiple days to relax again.