They may feel like one long horror show, but migraines have as many as four phases.

What Are the Stages of Migraine?

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Phase 1: Prodrome

Also known as the premonitory stage, prodrome is basically when the first subtle signs of migraine start brewing. They’re so subtle, in fact, you might miss them.

Phase 1: Prodrome

They can occur up to three days before the pain starts and may include: increased yawning (for no reason),  light sensitivity, cravings, or mood changes. Everyone’s prodrome signs are different though.

About 20% of migraine patients experience this stage, which lasts 5 to 60 minutes before the onset of pain. Typically they’ll see zigzags, sparkling lights, or other visual disturbances.

Phase 2: Aura

About half of people with aura also have physical sensations, such as pins and needles in the hands or face. Sometimes the tongue can feel numb. Usually, they affect just one side of the body.

Phase 2: Aura

But we all know this isn’t just a regular headache. Migraines can cause severe, often throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. It can last 4 to 72 hours.

Phase 3: The Headache

Other symptoms during the pain phase can include: sensitivity to noise, bright lights, smell and/or touch, nausea and/or vomiting, stiff neck, or vertigo.

Phase 3: The Headache

The acute pain is over, but man, you’ll feel like you’ve been run over by bus. It’s normal to be exhausted. Give yourself at least several hours to rest and recover.

Phase 4: Postdrome

LEARN MORE

Did you know that many migraines can be prevented with proper treatment? Our guide will help you figure out if your current plan is ready for an upgrade.

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