Can a Migraine last for a week or more?

by Dr. David Watson & Teri Robert Health Professional & Patient Advocate

Full Question:

Can a migraine last for a week or more? Mary.

Full Answer:

Dear Mary;

Excellent question! The simple answer is, "Yes," but there's more to it than that.

The "normal" time for a migraine to last is four to 72 hours. If a migraine stops for four hours or longer, it is considered to be over. If it starts up again after those four or more hours, it's not the same migraine attack - it's a new one.

If a migraine lasts longer than 72 hours, it's considered to be status migrainous (or status migrainousus), and you should contact your doctor for help getting it stopped. See Status Migrainous - The Basics.

Migraineurs who have 15 or more migraine and headache days, with at least of them being migraine, have chronic migraine, and should be treated accordingly. See Chronic Migraine - The Basics .

Hoping this helps,
John Claude Krusz and Teri Robert

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About Ask the Clinician:

Dr. Krusz is a recognized expert in the fields of headache and Migraine treatment and pain treatment. Each week, he and Lead Expert Teri Robert, team up to answer your questions about headaches and Migraines. You can read more about Dr. Krusz or more about Teri Robert .

Please note: We cannot diagnose, suggest specific treatment, or handle emergencies via the Internet. Please do not ask us to diagnose; see your physician for diagnosis. For an overview of how we can help and questions we can and can't answer, please see Seeking Migraine and Headache Diagnoses and Medical Advice .

We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.

Dr. David Watson & Teri Robert
Meet Our Writer
Dr. David Watson & Teri Robert

Do you have questions about Migraine? Reader questions are answered by UCNS certified Migraine and headache specialist Dr. David Watson, and award-winning patient educator and advocate Teri Robert.