Phases of Migraine
Learning to identify the different symptoms you experience in each phase
of a migraine attack can be helpful in managing your migraine.
The premonitory phase occurs a few hours and up to several days before the rest of a
migraine attack and can act like a warning that an attack has begun.
Approximately one-third of patients will experience a migraine aura following the
premonitory phase before the onset of the acute or headache phase. Some patients may
experience a migraine aura without a headache.
(also called headache phase)
The headache in migraine is usually one-sided (can be both sides), and is often described
as a moderate or severe throbbing pain, which is worsened if you keep trying to continue your day.
Most people will often experience nausea, and/or sensitivity to light, sound and smell during
the headache phase, but these symptoms can actually last the entire length of a migraine attack.
Some people also experience a distinctive recovery phase between the attack and postdrome.
Following the headache phase, you may experience a ‘migraine hangover’, called the postdrome.
Between migraine attacks, called the interictal phase, there are no migraine attack symptoms.
However, some people have some non-attack migraine symptoms. These may be very subtle or
even good things, such as speaking faster than other people or having a heightened sense of smell.
Those who live with intractable or chronic migraine may not get an interictal phase, with
little respite from one attack to the next. The more frequent your migraine attacks,
the harder it is to clearly discern the phases of an attack.
The combination of symptoms you experience will be unique to you!
Good to Know...
Learning to identify the different symptoms you experience in each phase of a migraine attack
can be helpful in managing your migraine. Identifying your premonitory symptoms is
particularly important as it can help you start your migraine treatment sooner.
Download the Phases of Migraine factsheet here
Migraine Australia Factsheets