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4 Phases of a Migraine

If you’re one of the 39 million Americans who suffer from migraines every year, then you know that migraines are much more than just a bad headache. 

Dr. John Bassell and our team at Nebben Physical Medicine understand how difficult living with migraines can be. As part of our comprehensive headache and migraine care, we give you the best possible information about your condition. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the four phases of a migraine and how we can help you find relief from your symptoms. 

More on migraines

A migraine is a neurological condition that causes significant head pain, typically on one side. Some people experience nausea and vomiting along with other side effects, like light and sound sensitivity, when experiencing a migraine attack. 

Anyone can suffer from migraines, but there are risk factors that increase your chances, including genetics, environmental factors, family history, being female, neurological changes, and chemical imbalances.

In addition to identifying the underlying cause of your migraines, you also have to pay attention to what triggers your migraine attacks. With many potential migraine triggers, it’s important to determine which ones affect you. 

For example, extreme stress or changes in your sleeping patterns might set off your migraines. Other common migraine triggers include:

Taking note of possible triggers when you have a migraine attack helps Dr. Bassell and our team accurately diagnose and treat your migraines. These notes also help us determine whether you’re suffering from a migraine or a headache. 

One of the most important differences between a migraine and a headache is that migraines usually happen in four phases. And while not everyone experiences each phase, understanding them can help you get better, faster treatment. 

Phase #1: Prodrome

This first phase happens a day or two before your migraine attack. Here, you might notice subtle changes, warning you of a looming migraine. Some of these warning signs include:

Identifying your warning signs is key to treating your migraines and living with fewer symptoms.

Phase #2: Aura

Migraines belong in two categories: with aura and without aura. Not everyone who has migraines goes through the aura phase. Those who do have migraines with aura can experience aura symptoms before or during their migraines. 

Auras usually cause visual disturbances like spots and flashes, but they can also cause other symptoms, including:

You likely experience symptoms that gradually build up over several minutes and last for 20-60 minutes at a time. 

Phase #3: Attack

Migraine attacks can last from a few hours to a few days. Some struggle with several migraines attacks every month, while others only have occasional migraines. 

See our specialists immediately or go to the emergency room if you have an abrupt, severe headache like a thunderclap, head pain after an injury, headaches with a fever, or severe head pain that won’t go away. These are warning signs of potentially serious medical conditions. 

Phase #4: Post-drome

After a migraine attack, you’re likely to feel worn out for a day or two. Some have the opposite reaction and feel energized and elated after a migraine. No matter what your migraine is like, treating it correctly and quickly is imperative. 

Treating your migraines

Without proper treatment, you not only suffer from repeated migraines, but you also risk developing medication-overuse headaches. 

This type of headache occurs when you take too many over-the-counter pain medications like Excedrin® Migraine, aspirin, or ibuprofen every month. You eventually build up a tolerance to the medication, and it stops relieving your pain. 

You then take more pain medication to compensate, causing you to become stuck in a cycle of pain medication and untreated symptoms. Instead of rolling the dice with painkillers, you need the care and expertise only an expert like Dr. Bassell can provide. 

After conducting a thorough review of your symptoms and medical history, Dr. Bassell creates your treatment plan from our list of pain therapy options. 

Depending on your needs, we recommend the following treatment for your migraines:

There’s no reason to accept migraines as a part of life. If you’re ready to live life without the threat of a migraine attack, call our Clarksville, Tennessee, office or book your appointment online today.

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