Migraine predictors?

Quick question - any thoughts welcome!

I developed vestibular migraine / PPPD / vestibular disorder (or whatever the f*** it is!!) at age 20.

Prior to that I had no history of migraine. Also have no family history of migraine, apart from a great aunt, who had “normal” migraine attacks. (She had a different father than my grandmother, and the assumption is that she got her migraines from her father.)

I was always highly sensitive as a child (and still am) - very sensitive to pain, cried nonstop for the first six months of my life. I had nightterrors and I sleep-walked as a child.

Also I have always been photophobic. My pupils are huge, and dilate/contract a lot… which meant that, as a child, sunlight was difficult for me. The most difficult thing was actually going to the dentist - lying back on the chair, looking at the ceiling and the bright light made my eyes water, even if I kept them shut. I eventually learned to wear sunglasses to the dentist’s!

Could any of that be seen as a migraine predictor? I still have the photophobia / large pupils… and when my VM attacks are at their worst, the photophobia becomes triply bad. Even things like traffic lights make my eyes water, and it can be painful. I’ve bought migraine glasses, also for when I look at a computer screen, and they’re relieving.

Basically I’m trying to work out if I was born with a migraine tendency, and it first randomly came out at age 20… or if I just have migraine-mimicking symptoms because of a vestibular imbalance which happened at age 20, but no underlying migraine.

I have had peripheral vestibular imbalance (almost completely compensated for now) but my migraines were definitely not mimicking migraines, they were utterly terrible migraines at times (several times staring at the ceiling unable to move, even blink for 14 hours at a time).

You can’t have vestibular imbalance without neurological impact because 65% of the brain is dedicated to balance and vision. You screw up your balance system and your brain is screwed up too.

The rest is just chicken and egg sadly.


That makes sense!

I should emphasise my word “mimicking” wasn’t supposed to imply that the symptoms aren’t serious or real, rather that a majority of people (and a lot of people on here) think that migraine is hereditary, and I’m not convinced that I have that… instead, because of the inner ear imbalance, I have symptoms which are exactly (which “mimic”) those of migraine as it’s normally understood.

I brought up sensitivity, night terrors, photophobia etc. because I’m considering whether, actually, I always had a migraine-tendency, it just never blossomed into full VM until age 20. In that case the inner ear thing is either a consequence of chronic migraine, or a misreading. My doctor explained that people with VM often get faulty results on the VEMP tests etc.

As I think you’ve said to me before, it’s the eternal question! And I suppose it doesn’t really matter, since treatment - diet, exercise - is the same!


VM is a diagnosis not a aetiology. Who knows, maybe the fluctuating VEMP is a clue not to be so easily dismissed?

But sure, once things escalate into neurological disharmony, it’s really hard to tell what’s causing what.

I sure hope it’s not keeping you awake at night (just my joke) because I tend to think it unlikely you will find a definitive answer any time soon cos I doubt anybody really knows. Very interesting topic for conversation though. Very interesting indeed.

Apparently migraine predictors do exist. I know of a couple. Motion sickness as a child is one. Another, For females, is childhood migraines which then stop completely for many years indicate a return of migraine in the enhanced form of the dizzy headache-free attacks, (MAV) in middle age. Medical papers exist to support these.

Amongst yours listed I’d say Photophobia may well be. For many years medics considered it virtually diagnostic of migraine although I understand this changed not many years back and that change had a connection to some Menieres patients being photophobic which didn’t seem to have been previously discovered/recognised.

In retrospect I certainly had migraine predictors although I guess we all need a (genetic?) predisposition to migraine for it to develop. I personally see strong hormonal links too but as time has gone on I find myself wondering whether mine in later life could have been triggered by some vestibular event though nothing showed on MRI and three ENT consultants couldn’t find anything wrong. ‘Multifactorial’ I was told.


I got my first one about a year ago, im 34 now. I have no idea what triggered it, Chocolate seems to have something to do with it. But I know I am gonna have a rough migraine week when I have sleep disturbances, cant sleep or Hypnic jerks. it either develops into a full blown migraine, or i just have trouble sleeping for that week.