Are these the 10 Strangest Migraine Symptoms?

10 Strangest Symptoms of Migraine?

Symptoms that have been reported at some stage in the migraine attack…

  1. Olfactory hallucinations (smelling smells that aren’t there)
  2. Lilliputian hallucinations (seeing little people)
  3. Increased creativity
  4. Macrosomatognosia (feeling like part/all of your body is larger than it really is)
  5. Aphasia (trouble speaking/writing or expressing language)
  6. Increased energy
  7. Increased urination
  8. Excessive Yawning
  9. Out of body experiences
  10. Teleopsia (objects seem farther away than they are)

Some of these migraine symptoms, of course, are more common than others.  Have you experienced any of these?  Which ones?  What would you add to the list?

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42 comments… add one
  • Wendy Ensing Mar 18, 2013

    I always have trouble speaking, I always smell thing but my family doesn’t smell it

  • Shelia Hammock Mar 18, 2013

    I suffered with migraines most of my life I started a all natural product going on 2 years I have not had a migraine so there is a cure don’t give up …..

    • Michelle Jun 25, 2014

      Sheila please tell us more about your cure

  • Candice Blanco Mar 18, 2013

    you can not claim that what you do will cure everyone. I wish it were true but it isn’t. Weird migraine symptoms…..craving chocolate, sentimental to the point of silliness… and much much more.

  • kathie Mar 18, 2013

    I have found increased urination, yawning has happened to me I have had migraines for over 57 years starting at age 3

  • I experience several of these symptoms. I thought it was just me. It’s comforting to know that others experience the same things. At least I know I’m not crazy!

  • Joel Templeton Mar 18, 2013

    I smell things that aren’t the thing that I should be smelling. I have trouble with words and sentences the day before or day of a headache. Sometimes when people speak, that physically hurts to understand what the words are and what they mean. I also have cluster and spike head aches. The spike headaches feel like a thin, round piece of cold steel is going through my brain(up and down but not sideways), those last from a few seconds to a couple of minutes but come and go for almost an hour at a time. And sometimes, as a trivia geek, it seems to lessen the headache to watch jeopardy or have people pick my brain(ask me trivia questions) that’s like people who studder usually don’t when they sing. I must go on autopilot and only use a certain part of my brain. I am a trivia master…

  • Jaquis Lewis Mar 18, 2013

    i always seem to wanna eat, i also smell gas, diarrhea(tmi, ik)

    • Erin Moore Mar 22, 2013

      Jaquis — I always thought that was my imagination — that I want to eat! I’m a “comfort eater” normally anyway (I’m curious to know if you are as well), and while I don’t feel hungry with a migraine (too nauseated, usually), I still want to eat!

  • From the list- I smell things that aren’t there & excessive yawning

    I also eat like crazy, sometimes I have tons of energy other times I have none, I miss up words sometimes but I blame that on topamax.

  • Leigh-Anne Stringer Mar 18, 2013

    I don’t know if I smell things that aren’t there, or mis-smell things, but I have a heightened sense of smell at the onset of migraine (its sometimes my first indication), my pupils go weird so my son can look at me first thing in the morning and tell me if I have a migraine coming before I know it. My speech is slower and I have to concentrate harder to form complete thoughts/sentences. I try not to talk at all. I don’t see ‘little people’ but I do see blurred images out of my peripheral and I have ‘floaters’. Since I’ve had migraine since I was 12 (am now 45) I’ve learned to focus on the pain, almost like meditation reducing the overall pain to the centre/pinpoint of it, I don’t know if this makes any sense, and this for some reason let’s me ‘shut down’ that part until I go into a deep sleep escaping the pain. …lol I sound crazy


    • Anne Sep 8, 2013

      No Leann, not crazy! That is EXACTLY the way it happens for me…. Plus, a very syrupy, viscous saliva tells me I a, going to have a migraine soon!

      • Anne Sep 8, 2013

        …oh, and I wanted to add that, like you, I find that it helps to focus ON the pain rather than to try to divert my focus FROM the pain. If I tell my mind, “Alright, I’m not avoiding it any longer, I am going to really experience this pain fully — I’m going to walk right into the path of the oncoming train.” Then magically it seems the pain is lessened. Not ended, but lessened in comparison to when you’re trying so hard to get away from it. Reminds me of the saying, “The only way out… is through.”

  • Latasha Moore-Miley Mar 18, 2013

    I have a lot of trouble speaking sometimes, but not with all of them. I also pee a lot and yawn a lot. I eat like crazy, it has made controlling my weight a challenge but I also have a hard time swallowing. It frequently makes me choke a little. Weird… There a too many strange effects to count, I think a Migraine can cause just about anything to go a little haywire that your brain controls.

  • Leigh Ann Mar 19, 2013

    So glad I’m not alone in these weird symptoms that are typically not listed. I yawn, think I have smells stuck in my nose, and have trouble finding the right words when talking and writing. Pretty much useless. Migraines also effect my vision so things also seems out of sorts. Thanks for posting.

  • Jenn Mar 21, 2013

    I always have the olfactory issues. It’s so annoying because when I say why I’m smelling things not there I just get looked at like I’m nuts.

  • Holly Mar 21, 2013

    I experience “Alice in wonderland syndrome”, which for encompasses a few of these symptoms, particularly the distortions in sizes. It’s pretty distressing.

  • Sara Crayne Mar 21, 2013

    Telopsia huh? I’ve had that since I was a little kid, way before the migraines. I always yawn a lot before the migraine comes on, and do get pretty aphasic (can’t talk right). The smells-that aren’t there has only been going on for a few years though and not in connection necessarily with migraine: cigaret smoke, attar of roses, thuja (cedar) oil are a few of them …

  • Lisa Bee Mar 21, 2013

    One of my symptoms of an oncoming migraine is an ‘earworm’….. a chorus of a song that gets stuck in my head for hours. When this happens, I KNOW a migraine is coming.

  • Sara Silva Mar 21, 2013

    Buzzing ears, that sometimes lasts for 1-2 days after the migraine is gone;
    Bradycardia – very slow (but also very strong) heartbeat.
    These are the ones I never see listed anywhere, I wonder if anyone else has them?

  • Kristen Mar 21, 2013

    I have a heightened sense of smell but the most frustrating thing I have experienced, prior to medication, was aphasia. I could hear the words I wanted to speak in my head but when I went to speak them, some other word would come out. For example, after trying to have a conversation with my husband I was trying to tell him that I was unable to speak but what came out was, “I can’t write.” and “I can’t speech.” The word talk and speak were in my head but they would not come out. Fortunately, I haven’t had these symptoms for awhile but it was vey scary.

  • Vicki Mar 21, 2013

    Let’s see…..only #1 for me, if we’re speaking specifically. As we know, there’s nothing ‘specific’ about your brain. You can develop symptoms you never had before.
    For quite a few years now, I have felt like my center of gravity was off some. Like there’s a bowl of water in my head and if I move too suddenly or twist too suddenly, it’s like I’m slightly drunk. Some days are worse.
    From time to time, for a split second, I will see a flash or a shape out of the corner of my eye.
    Yep, good times.

    • george elliot Apr 4, 2013


      Really glad you noted the flash or shape out of the corner of your eye. Tho, they’re new to the repertoire the past few years, I get them, too!

      Take heart! I’ve had quite good medical help and except for the beating my brain has taken from many years of hard migraines I’ve been assured I’m in pretty good health.

      All the best,

  • HeidiJJJJ Mar 22, 2013

    I have all of them except Lilliputian hallucinations. I take them all in stride. But, I think it would seriously freak me out if I started seeing little people that weren’t really there.

  • Bobbie Mar 22, 2013

    Macrosomatognosia – I never knew there was a name for this, or that it was an actual thing! I thought it was just me being weird – often I get the feeling that my hands have become huge. It’s a very strange sensation. I also have trouble speaking, which gets worse as the migraine worsens. My vision goes blurry too, as well as a host of more ‘normal’ symptoms.

  • Erin Moore Mar 22, 2013

    I want to eat, even though I’m not hungry, and I yawn a lot. The worst is the hypersensitivity of my skin. It hurts to have anything on, and a fold on my pillowcase feels like a knife on my cheek. My upper body, from shoulder-blades on up, is the most painful. People want to hug me to comfort me, but I’d rather they shine a light in my eyes! (I actually don’t have photo/phonophobia as bad as some people.)

  • sally Mar 22, 2013

    Yawning before the migraine and aphasia from time to time.

  • Kathy Mar 25, 2013

    My face (on one side) will go numb and tingly, and I also want to eat carbs–my opinion is it distracts the brain from the pain to process food. The balance, the concentration to speak, skin sensitivity are all familiar too. It’s nice to know there are others of us out there. Thank God for Imitrex, as it’s given me relief, and I guess topamax (dope-a-max) for quality of life.

  • chris Mar 25, 2013

    It could be that yawning triggers the migraine due to the face/head muscle contraction. I can’t write or type with migraine and have heightened smell which can be to the point of pain. Made me look stupid often.

  • Vicki Apr 5, 2013

    Roll back the clock about 100 years and more (probably not that long) admitting these crazy symptoms would land you in an institution!! I’m sure very few of us have revealed them to anyone but our fellow migraineurs! It helps to have websites like these. Thanks James!

  • Aurora Apr 24, 2013

    I have experienced 1, 5, 7, and 10…especially 10 because I nearly got ran over by a car in many occasions.

  • sally Sep 9, 2013

    I have a new one since this summer. I kept asking my family if they smelled cigarette smoke. None of us smoke.

  • Erin Jun 30, 2014

    My two big ones are olfactory hallucinations (lately it’s been pickled radishes or cigarette smoke, but it’s still somewhat random) and mild aphasia. I’m getting better at recognizing the smells (there’s no reason why my office would suddenly smell like dirt!), and this is the only aura I get, so I’m really trying to pay attention to it. The aphasia still drives me nuts. I had a different form of it when I took Topomax (I couldn’t remember a word, so I had to describe it), but now it’s just like I have to speak through a membrane or something. It’s just physically difficult to get any words out, but I don’t have trouble using the words I want to use. I also want to eat a lot during the pre-aura phase, and even when I know it’s a migraine, I have this very strong resistance to taking my Imitrex shot. It’s not that it hurts, but just an irrational desire not to take it. Odd.

  • Lynn Kirk Feb 15, 2016

    Hello – I was just reading this list and thought of the experience I had yesterday at the dinner table. Had an ocular migraine for the 1st time in my life (I’m 64) Shimmering quality to my vision then definite thick zig zag lines beautifully coloured, I did feel oddly bigger than usual, a bit of aphasia, but most notably I had to urinate very frequently after the experience.

  • J. Feb 18, 2016

    I crave sweets.specifically chocolate a few days be4.i get real thirsty ,yawn a lot ,can’t type or say things correctly. Have ear stuffiness,jaw pain.(opposites sides).sometimes I get hyper. After migraine I just feel off.

  • Jval Jun 30, 2016

    I always get hiccups before or after I have a migraine. I’ve also get congested (just my head), and see auras.

    • Jval Jun 30, 2016

      I do also have a crazy increase in my sense of smell, and yawn a lot. I also notice ringing in my ears. That drives me crazy, like the pain isn’t bad enough but ringing on top of it!

  • Eve Aug 9, 2016

    My migraines begin with a feeling of pressure in my head and I have difficulty keeping my eyes open. Then I have trouble with speech – I can think the words but cannot get them to come out right. All of my muscles go weak and I have a hard time moving my arms and walking. Then the headache starts and can last days or even months. Luckily, it is not the kind of headache where I have to be in a dark room but it makes life difficult nonetheless. My balance has been compromised and it is a struggle everyday to walk so I use a walker outside of the house. I have a strong aversion to the sound of paper – I cannot read a magazine or newspaper because the sound of turning pages goes straight to my head and triggers all kinds of weird sensations. When I have a bad episode I also have to pee a lot. Botox injections in my head, neck, and shoulders every three months help to keep symptoms at bay but my balance is always an issue. The injections usually wear off after 6 to 8 weeks and I spend the wait for the next series of shots trying to manage. Fun stuff. Nice to know that I am not alone in experiencing all of the weird symptoms!

  • Jessica Oct 30, 2016

    I’ve had migraines since I’ve been 13, more frequently when I was younger ,I’m going on 32 now, had a horrible migraine yesterday. I try to keep track of attacks. I can go months without one and all of a sudden have one 2 days in a row. I’ve had parts of my body go completely numb including my tongue. I ALWAYS have an aura and I hate it more then my migraine sometimes. I vomit now. I didn’t when I was younger though. I Always spend my day in the bathtub, hot water seems to help, I just lay with my head in the hot water for hours. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I would never wish it on some one.

  • Brandi Nov 18, 2016

    My migraines used to start as a pain behind My eye and sometimes at the back of head. Then light, sound and smells bother me, I get cold but feel hot, I’m hungry and nauseous, I yawn but not tired, I pee constantly and have a few extra poops like my digestive system is working OT so it can’t restart on a clean slate, I can’t speak or make sense of words or numbers, and everything worsens until I can’t function and surrender to bed. I like it when someone rubs my back, but I’m usually rocking in bed, more like rolling, back and forth while different appendages are feeling thicker and thinner in space. And then I finally throw up, and it’s always just stomach bile, until I feel completely empty and exhausted and I am suddenly able to fall asleep. And it’s like my body has just reset, and i have a little recoup the next day, like a hangover. Like another commenter, I really enjoy the bath tub, but cold water. And sometimes the cold outdoors will cure me if I can suffer it. In January I had a virus causing vertigo, and my 8 times a month migraines turned into 1 per 10 months -so far. Now I get a different kind of headache, but more in my face/sinuses. Definitely not as severe.

  • Magan Dec 14, 2017

    I also get Alice in wonderland syndrome and have since I was a child, decades before the migraines started. I also have this odd feeling like everything is crumpled. Like the world should be smooth like a fitted sheet but instead it’s all wrinkled. I have to open my eyes to be sure it’s not wrinkled or I feel as though I might lose my mind and that’s when the teleo-whatever-it-is generally starts.

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