Which different migraine phases are there?
Migraines can vary from one person (and even one attack) to another but in general, the stages of a migraine are:
You might feel tired, crave a certain type of food or feel more thirsty than usual. Some people experience a stiff neck. These symptoms are easy to miss and they can occur from an hour to 24 hours before the migraine attack.
The aura stage can last up to an hour and it usually occurs before the headache develops. Some people experience visual symptoms such as blind spots, coloured patterns or and zigzag lines during the aura stage.
Along with visual symptoms, you may experience physical symptoms like tingling, numbness and dizziness. You might have speech problems, hearing difficulties and rarely partial paralysis or fainting. Some people experience aura symptoms without getting the headache.
Classical migraine without aura doesn’t include this stage.
The headache or main attack stage
This stage involves an often intense, throbbing headache, which can be severe. It’s often made worse by movement. You might only feel the pain on one side of your head or in a specific area, although it can spread to your whole head too. It’s common to feel sick or vomit at this stage in a migraine, and you might be unusually sensitive to noises or lights or both.
Some migraine attacks fade away (although it can take up to three days) but some people find that being sick can make their symptoms disappear. In many cases, sleeping it off seems to be the only way to get rid of the symptoms.
Recovery or postdrome stage
This is almost like a ‘hangover’ for a migraine. The recovery phase can last a few hours or a few days in a severe attack.
Some people notice that the symptoms of the first stage are repeated. In others they are mirrored, so a loss of appetite might be replaced by being very hungry.