What are the 4 stages of a migraine? Complete Guide

What are the 4 stages of a migraine? Ah, migraines. Nature’s way of reminding you that sometimes, your brain likes to throw a tantrum. For those of you unfamiliar with migraines (lucky you!) or those simply curious, let’s break down the four stages. Get your notepads ready, or just sit back and enjoy the comedic tragedy that is a migraine in full swing.

 4 stages of a migraine

4 Stages of a Migraine:

Prodrome (aka the “Spidey Sense” Phase)This is the initial phase where your body gives you subtle hints like a friend trying to tell you there’s spinach in your teeth. You might feel a change in mood, food cravings, or even yawn more. Essentially, your body is whispering, “Hey buddy, something’s coming.” And no, it’s not a superhero power; it’s the migraine express. All aboard!

Read More: How to Recognize and Manage Visual Aura Migraine Attacks

  1. Aura (or “Are Those Fireflies in My Vision?”)

The second stage is all about the special effects. You might see flashing lights zigzag lines, or even lose part of your vision. Sounds like a bad sci-fi movie, doesn’t it? While it may seem cool to have an impromptu disco in your eyes, it’s really just your brain’s way of saying, “I wasn’t joking earlier. Brace yourself.”

  1. Headache (Ugh! The “Make It Stop” Stage)

Here comes the main event. You might feel like there’s a mini drummer in your head practicing for the world championship. It’s painful, and it can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. Some people might feel nauseous or be sensitive to light, sound, or even smells. Picture this: A vampire, hungover, attending a rock concert in broad daylight. That’s you during this phase. Rock on?

  1. Postdrome (The “Did I Just Survive That?” Phase)

After the storm comes the calm, or in this case, the confusion. In the postdrome stage, you might feel drained, like you’ve just run a marathon with the world’s heaviest backpack. Some might feel elated, and if you’re one of them, good for you! You’ve just endured your brain’s personal rock concert and lived to tell the tale.


Migraines are more than just severe headaches; they’re a complex neurological event that unfolds in four primary stages: the subtle warning of the prodrome, the often disorienting aura, the intense pain of the headache phase, and the post-migraine fatigue or relief of the postdrome. Recognizing and understanding these stages can provide sufferers with a roadmap, enabling better management and coping strategies. As with any health concern, awareness and knowledge are key to seeking appropriate care and relief.

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