Have you ever experienced a severe headache known as a migraine? The kind of head pain that can be so intense it feels like your head is throbbing and might explode? Well, here’s something you may not be aware of – even after the worst part of the migraine has passed, there’s another phase that often lingers, and it’s called the migraine postdrome.
In this blog, we’ll talk about the less known but equally important phase known as the “migraine postdrome”, which occurs after the headache phase. This is the time when you might still feel a bit off, sore, achy, brain fog, and fatigued. Understanding these migraine postdrome symptoms is crucial for managing the complete migraine experience. So, let’s uncover what’s happening beyond the pain and learn how to deal with the aftermath of a migraine.
What Is a Migraine ‘Hangover’ and What Are Migraine Hangover Symptoms?
Migraine headaches have 4 phases, but not everyone has every phase. However, most migraine patients have at least a couple of these 4 stages of migraine. They are migraine prodrome phase (premonitory phase) (such as neck stiffness, light sensitivity, food cravings, mood changes), migraine aura phase (such as blind spots, visual disturbances), headache or pain phase, and migraine postdrome phase (mostly non-headache symptoms discussed below). All 4 phases are discussed in greater detail here. Today, we are focusing on migraine postdrome (migraine “hangover”).
The symptoms of postdrome are also called the migraine ‘hangover’. This is what comes after an assault of migraine headache is finally gone. So it is the final phase of a migraine attack. Even if the migraine episode is successfully treated with an effective migraine treatment, these nonheadache symptoms of the postdrome stage can still occur. Instead of feeling back to your normal self right away, you might still experience some unusual and lingering symptoms.
During this ‘hangover’ phase, some people might feel energetic or even happy, while others could feel drained or foggy in their minds. Brain fog, fatigue, head soreness, body aches, and feeling like you got hit by a bus are common symptoms. It’s different for everyone. These post-migraine symptoms can stick around for a few hours or, in some cases, a couple of days after the migraine headache is gone. Understanding this ‘migraine hangover’ is essential because it helps you manage the full experience of a migraine and figure out how to deal with it better.
Keep Up the TLC
During the postdrome phase of migraine, it’s important not to hurry back to your usual daily activities. If you push yourself too much, you might end up with another migraine. So, while you’re getting better, try to avoid doing stressful things and intense workouts. Instead, be kind to yourself and take it easy.
When you’re recovering from a migraine, it’s a great opportunity to do things that calm your stress. You can try relaxing techniques like meditation and deep breathing, do gentle exercises like yoga and stretching, or even treat yourself to a soothing massage or self-massage. In general, these are good lifestyle changes that can also help with migraine prevention.
Get Some Rest
After a migraine and during the postdrome, you might feel really tired. This is because sleep can get messed up during the headache part of the migraine. While you don’t have to stay in bed all day, a short nap can make you feel much better.
Drinking enough water is really important, and it can actually help make your migraines less painful, less often, and not last as long. This is true not just during a migraine but also after it’s gone. Sometimes, after a migraine, you might feel extra thirsty, so it’s a good idea to keep sipping water and refilling your water bottle to stay hydrated to ensure you drink plenty of water.
Ease Your Aches
During the time after a migraine, which we call the postdrome phase, a lot of people experience a stiff and painful neck. To help with this discomfort, you can try using ice packs or heating pads. Experiment with both to see which one works best for you.
Keep the Lights Low
After a migraine, you might still be sensitive to bright lights and loud noises during the postdrome phase. So, it’s a good idea to keep things quiet and peaceful around you. Close the curtains to make the room darker, and dim the lights if you need to. This can be especially important if bright lights usually make your migraines worse.
Be Cautious With Caffeine
Caffeine can be a bit tricky when it comes to migraines. On the one hand, it might help make the pain go away, but on the other hand, it can actually bring on a migraine. Any amount can also cause caffeine withdrawal headaches in some people if they don’t have their routine intake. The same goes for the time after a migraine, the postdrome phase. On the other hand, caffeine can certainly also be helpful for the feelings of exhaustion, fatigue, and brain fog that often occur during the migraine postdrome. So, if you’re going to have coffee, tea, or anything with caffeine, be careful. See how your body reacts because it can be different for everyone. This way, you’ll know what’s best for you in the future.
Grab a Fork
Sometimes, after a migraine, your appetite might come back really strong. It’s like your body is making up for lost time. In this postdrome phase, it’s a good idea to eat smaller, healthy meals more often. Try to stick to your usual meal schedule, but if you crave comfort foods that don’t usually cause your migraines, it’s okay to enjoy them once in a while.
Keep a Hangover Diary
You can think of the time after a migraine as still being part of the migraine itself. It’s like an extra chapter. Write down what you feel, how long it lasts, and what makes you feel better. This migraine diary can be really useful for both you and your doctor. It helps spot patterns and get ready for any future migraine hangovers.
If you are getting a lot of migraine postdrome, it means you are having a lot of migraine attacks. So if you can prevent the migraine attacks, you will also prevent the misery of the postdrome migraine stage that follows the attack. In general, if averaging 4 or more migraine attacks per month, migraine preventive treatment is usually recommended. Avoiding common migraine triggers such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrates, and other common triggers can also help lessen migraine frequency.
Treat a Migraine Hangover with the Guidance of Virtual Headache Specialist™
Understanding migraine postdrome symptoms is vital for effectively managing the aftermath of these debilitating headaches. To avoid more migraines and feel better in the future, just remember the tips we shared in this guide and pay attention to what your body tells you. It’s like having a map to help you through the tough times after a migraine so that you can aim for life without migraines.
For personalized guidance on managing migraines and to access a wealth of information, you should consider visiting the Virtual Headache Specialist™. This online resource is designed to assist individuals dealing with migraines by offering valuable tools and expert information.
If you’re dealing with migraines and want personalized guidance and a wealth of information at your fingertips, make sure to check out the Virtual Headache Specialist™. It’s a valuable tool that can help you better understand your migraines, explore treatment options, and improve your overall quality of life.
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