Migraine and cluster headaches can be excruciatingly painful and debillitating. Many classic migraines are often accompanied by "an aura" experienced from half-an-hour to moments before the pain starts. Auras vary by individuals - most people experience a visual disturbance. The most common auras are: zig-zag lines, or blacking out of a part of the visual field. Aural [hearing-related] auras can also occur. Some people experience extreme tactile sensitivity. So as you can see, the symptoms can vary considerably.
The duration of migraines can vary from a few minutes to weeks; the duration depends on the specific class of migraine.
Other typical symptoms associated with migraine include nausea/vomiting, vertigo, photo [light], noise and smell sensitivity.
Here are some information links:
[url="http://search.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/query?DISAMBIGUATION=true&FUNCTION=searc h&PARAMETER=migraine+cluster+headaches&x =22&y=11"]http://search.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/query?DISA MBIGUATION=true&FUNCTION=search&PARAMETE R=migraine+cluster+headaches&x=22&y=11[/url]
If you do suffer from migraine or cluster headaches, you may have to endure a lot of trial and error before you are able to manage your headaches. The good news is that there are meds that can help prevent or reduce the severity of these headaches.
Once your acute phase is resolved, for the long-term it's usually best to find some type of non-drug solution.
Final comment from a long-term migraine sufferer: read up on your symptoms. See your doctor again, and if you don't get some answers/help, change doctors. BTW - your age is pretty typical for migraine onset, mine started around the same age and while an undergraduate. The best advice I got then was from a pharmacist: treat it fast, and treat it hard. This pharmacist also recommended taking two extra-strength Tylenol with two cups of super-strong coffee [caffeine is a recognized migraine med] the moment I experienced any of the warning signs [auras].
[This message has been edited by Jay Tor (edited 02-01-2003).]