If you’ve ever felt drowsy, hungry, or even euphoric after a migraine episode, it could be a migraine hangover. A migraine hangover, often referred to as postdrome, is a stage of a migraine attack that resembles the symptoms of a hangover experienced after drinking in excess. The final stage of a migraine headache happens after the primary migraine attack symptoms, such as excruciating headache, lightheadedness, or nausea, have subsided. You may think that your migraine episode is over when these symptoms go away, but you will continue to experience them for hours or even days. The postdrome is a typical stage of a migraine attack that many people with migraine go through. The duration of a migraine hangover can range from a few hours to many days, and differs from person to person. The majority of patients find that their migraine hangover disappears in 24 hours.
Phases of Migraine
Migraine can be a terrible experience, with symptoms including severe sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, cognitive fog, and acute head pain. Migraines afflict roughly 16% of Americans and occur more frequently in women than in males. Migraine headaches can have four distinct phases, each with its unique set of symptoms and lasting anywhere from hours to days.
- Prodrome: In the first stage, you experience mild symptoms one or two days before a migraine, such as constipation, mood swings from depression to exhilaration, food cravings, stiff neck, increased thirst and urine, or frequent yawning.
- Aura: This is the second stage that develops before or during migraines for certain people. Auras are temporary nervous system symptoms. They typically involve visual abnormalities but occasionally others as well. Each symptom often starts slowly, intensifies over several minutes, and lasts for 20 to 60 minutes.
- Headache: This is the third stage and can last from four to 72 hours, if untreated. For each person the frequency of migraine is different. Migraines can hit infrequently or repeatedly each month.
- Postdrome: The postdrome phase is the last stage of a migraine attack. Up to 80% of people with migraines go through this stage, which is frequently referred to as the “migraine hangover.” The strength and length of the postdrome period might, however, differ from person to person and from episode to episode.
For some people, the transition from the headache phase into postdrome isn’t always obvious. Key signs you’re experiencing a migraine hangover are when symptoms shift beyond head pain to things like neck or shoulder stiffness, scalp tenderness, brain fog, or dizziness. Everyone who experiences migraine is different. Some people don’t go through the postdrome phase at all. Even if you’ve experienced a migraine hangover in the past, it may not happen with each migraine attack.
How to Get Over Migraine Hangover
The precautions you take to prevent a migraine from beginning can also help prevent a migraine hangover or lessen its intensity and severity. Start by establishing and maintaining a regular daily regimen that includes excellent headache hygiene. Take the following actions:
- Follow a consistent sleeping routine
- Exercise regularly
- Eat wholesome meals.
- Take steps to address stress
- Get enough rest
Keep a migraine journal to record your daily routine and any symptoms you encounter throughout each migraine episode. This will help you identify the specific migraine triggers and avoid them. Taking the following actions earlier in the migraine’s course can help avoid a hangover.
A migraine hangover can linger for hours or days. Prevention is the secret to managing migraines and lengthy hangovers. If you experience symptoms of migraine, inform your doctor.