Migraine sufferers understand that migraine pain can be absolutely crippling. One of the many reasons migraine headaches can be so debilitating are the 4 phases of  pain a sufferer will experience during a migraine attack. Migraine headache pain can last hours or even days.

Let’s look at the 4 phases of migraines: how they feel and what they mean.

1. Prodromal phase

Before the onset of acute migraine pain a sufferer will experience this 1st phase of the headache. The primary characteristics of this phase are a change in energy levels or mood. Someone may be more irritable in general. They may be excessively thirst or have strange food cravings. They may yawn excessively or feel drowsy and frequently feel like they need to use the bathroom.

2. Aura phase

Auras, which are described as visual disturbances including lines across the field of vision, often occur during the 2nd stage of a migraine headache. When these visual cues begin, the migraine is imminent. This phase will only last for about 20 minutes to 1 hour before the primary pain sets in. While auras are most commonly visual, some patients experience motor or speech disturbances or problems with their senses. While this is the 2nd stage of a migraine not all patients experience or report auras.

3. Attack phase

The 3rd phase of a migraine is the onset of intense and severe pain. It is can be centered on 1 side of the head or felt on both. It is usually accompanied by a pulsating sensation. Throbbing, light and odor sensitivity, nausea, blurred vision, and dizziness are all common feelings during this phase. Some patients will faint. With no additional treatment, this phase of the migraine could last up to 72 hours.

4. Postdromal phase

After the experience of intense pain, the patient will feel a 4th and final phase of the migraine cycle. Typically the pain has subsided and the sufferer will feel fatigued and drained. Occasionally individuals will even say they experience a mild form of euphoria during this phase.

If you are concerned about substantial headache pain and if you suffer from migraines, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and possible treatments.

Migraine Infographic

Have you experienced the 4 phases of migraines?

Image by 5u5 via Flickr


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