Millions of Americans experience migraine headaches. While the causes and biological mechanisms behind migraine headaches aren’t entirely understood, medical professionals and researchers have identified some of the lifestyle, genetic, and environmental factors that trigger migraines.
Migraine headaches can be chronic for some people. They tend to be more common in women and often start during adolescence or young adulthood.
At Republic Spine and Pain, our team of medical experts offer a range of treatment options for migraine headaches and other forms of pain at three convenient locations in Georgetown, Lakeway, and Austin, Texas.
Here’s what you need to know about the different stages of migraine headaches.
The stages of a migraine headache
There are four stages of a migraine:
The prodrome stage is an early warning sign and typically kicks in a few days before the start of a migraine. Some of the symptoms of the prodrome phase include:
- Increased thirst or frequent urination
- Mood swings
- Craving specific foods
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Yawning or sleeping more than usual
In some cases, taking medication or pain relievers during the prodrome phase may help to prevent the onset or lessen the intensity of a migraine headache.
The aura phase can happen before or during the actual migraine. It usually develops and intensifies gradually, consisting mostly of visual symptoms and disturbances, like spots or flashes of light, vision loss, and extreme sensitivity to light. The aura phase can also include physical symptoms like dizziness, pins and needles, weakness and numbness, and noise disturbances.
Not all migraine episodes include the aura phase, and the intensity and duration vary from person to person.
A migraine can cause pain on just one or both sides of the head, and the pain usually causes a throbbing or pulsing sensation. A migraine attack can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. Severe attacks can be debilitating and make it difficult to get out of bed or perform even basic activities. During an attack, you may experience sensitivity to light, sound, certain smells, as well as nausea and vomiting.
People with chronic migraines can experience an attack several times per month.
The postdrome phase is the tail end of a migraine attack. Some people experience lingering effects for a day or two after the headache subsides. Depending on the intensity and duration of the migraine, you might feel drained and groggy as the effects wear off and you return to normal.
For more information about prevention and treatment options for migraine headaches, contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our three convenient locations in Lakeway, Georgetown, or Austin, Texas.