Understanding the distinct stages of a migraine and their associated symptoms is key to effectively managing this condition. In this article, we will explore the symptoms experienced during each stage of a migraine, providing valuable insights that can help individuals identify and navigate through the different phases, empowering them to seek appropriate treatment and find strategies to cope with this complex neurological disorder. Continue searching online to learn more about migraines and headaches.
The first stage is called prodrome which occurs prior to the onset of a migraine headache. According to Healthline, individuals may experience symptoms during the this stage, which is about 1 to 2 days before the actual migraine. The source lists the following as potential symptoms: food cravings, feelings of depression, fatigue or low energy, frequent yawning, heightened hyperactivity, irritability, and neck stiffness.
These pre-headache symptoms serve as early indicators that a migraine episode is approaching and can provide individuals with an opportunity to take preemptive measures or seek appropriate treatment to manage the forthcoming headache.
In certain individuals, migraines may be accompanied by an aura that can manifest before or during the headache. Auras are temporary symptoms that affect the nervous system and are typically reversible, explains the Mayo Clinic. While visual disturbances are common, such as seeing shapes, bright spots, or flashes of light, the source notes that other disruptions can also occur.
These symptoms usually appear gradually, intensify over several minutes, and can persist for up to an hour, warns the Mayo Clinic. Examples of migraine auras include vision loss, experiencing pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg, weakness or numbness on one side of the face or body, as well as difficulty speaking.
The duration of a migraine typically ranges from 4 to 72 hours if left untreated, says the Mayo Clinic. The frequency of migraines varies from person to person, as they can occur rarely or strike multiple times within a month.
When experiencing a migraine, the source goes on to list pain as the most common symptoms. This pain is usually concentrated on one side of the head but sometimes affects both sides. The Mayo Clinic describes this pain as throbbing or pulsating in nature. People may also experience sensitivity to light, sound, and occasionally smell and touch. Additionally, nausea and vomiting can accompany the headache, further contributing to the overall discomfort associated with the condition.
Following the attack phase of a migraine, individuals often enter the postdrome phase, explains Healthline. This is also known as the migraine hangover. During this phase, there is a notable shift in mood and emotions. The range of experiences can vary from feeling euphoric and exceptionally happy to experiencing significant fatigue and apathy, notes the source. It is also common for a mild, dull headache to persist during this phase.
The postdrome phase serves as a recovery period, where individuals may still feel the lingering effects of the migraine but with a decrease in intensity. It is important to rest and engage in self-care during this phase to allow the body to fully recover from the migraine episode.
Common Migraine Triggers
According to the Cleveland Clinic, migraine attacks can be triggered by various factors, including emotional stress, muscle tension, and dilated blood vessels. Skipping meals, consuming certain foods and beverages with specific chemicals and preservatives, and excessive caffeine intake or withdrawal can also act as triggers, adds the source.
Hormonal changes in women, especially during menstrual periods, contribute to migraines, says the Cleveland Clinic, while environmental factors such as lights, screens, weather changes, and exposure to smoke or strong odors can also induce attacks. Other triggers include fatigue, overexertion, disrupted sleep patterns, loud noises, dieting, dehydration, and certain medications causing blood vessel swelling.