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4 Stages of a Migraine

Migraine headaches can be complicated to cope with. Unlike other types of everyday headache pain, migraines come in several distinct stages. You may need multiple types of care and support to get through a migraine attack. The good news is, when you know more about the separate stages of your migraines, you can do more to recognize them early. With early detection and the right care and support, you can better manage your chronic migraine condition.

At BCS Medical of Bryan, Texas, our team supports new and existing patients with migraine headaches. Here’s what the BCS Medical experts want you to know about the stages of your migraines.

1. The preheadache phase

We also call the preheadache phase of a migraine the premonitory or prodrome phase. You can remain in this condition for a period of time ranging from a few hours to several days.

Most people who suffer from migraines distinctly experience the prodrome phase. However, you may not notice this phase every time you have a migraine. Symptoms of this phase can include:

  • Muscle stiffness in your neck or shoulders
  • Emotional symptoms, like depression or irritability
  • Nausea or digestive symptoms, or frequent urination
  • Fatigue, insomnia, or frequent yawning
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound

During the preheadache phase, we can intervene in several ways to lessen the intensity and duration of your migraine symptoms. You may be able to use medication, avoidance of trigger foods, and relaxation techniques to reduce or even resolve your headache symptoms.

2. Aura

According to the American Migraine Foundation, up to one-third of people who suffer from migraines experience a distinct aura phase when they have an attack. As a part of the aura phenomenon, you might see patterns or shimmering lights, experience blind spots, have blurry vision, or even experience vision loss. Aura symptoms can last for as long as an hour or more and typically take at least five minutes to pass.

Not every experience of aura comes before a migraine headache, but most typically migraines follow aura symptoms. You can use the aura phase as a warning of a potential migraine headache.

3. The headache phase

Migraine headaches present on one or both sides of your head. Many patients note that their pain begins on one side and then moves to the other.

You can be in pain from a migraine for a few hours, or an attack can continue for many days. Your pain might be mild, or you may experience debilitating pain symptoms. Additionally, you can experience symptoms like:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Increased sensitivity to light, sound, and smells

During this phase, take care, rest, and rely on your treatment plan to support your body and overall wellness.

4. After your headache (postdrome)

Most people with migraines suffer from a final, postdrome “migraine hangover.” You could spend a varying amount of time after your headache pain has ended suffering from body aches, exhaustion, fuzzy-headedness, dizziness, and increased light sensitivity. During the postdrome phase, you may benefit from avoiding triggers or focusing on relaxation.

With planning and support, you can manage your migraine condition. The BCS Medical care team can help you better understand, track, and respond to your migraine headaches. With help, you can minimize the disruptive effect your condition has on your life and wellbeing.

If you’re struggling with migraines, or want to learn more about migraine management, contact BCS Medical today. You can book your initial consultation appointment with a member of our staff over the phone, or online.

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