Skip to content

How Long Do Migraine Headaches Last?

Featured Image Credits

Migraines affect millions of people around the world everyday. It can be difficult to maintain a normal life with untreated stretches of debilitating pain in the head.

A healthy awareness of what a migraine is and how it can be triggered is the first stage to managing it and eventually overcoming it.

Can A Migraine Last A Week

Migraines are treatable with the right medical approach. But they can vary from person to person. 

For each person they have a typical length which can be a few hours. But in many cases they can extend up to a few days

Without treatment they can occur over and over for months or even years.

How Long Is Too Long For A Migraine?

Migraine headaches can last for variable lengths of time. It can be a short burst of pain. 

It can also last for several days. But if it lasts for more than three consecutive days it is called a Status Migrainosus. 

A Status Migrainosus must be treated with the right medication by a professional.

What Causes Migraines In Females

Causes Migraines In Females

Image Source

Migraines are very common and affect a large number of people. It is much more common in females than in males, with as many as 3 out of 4 patients with migraines being female. 

It is probably caused due to fluctuations in levels of hormones. Estrogen spikes during pregnancy, menstrual periods and perimenopause might lead to migraine attacks. 

It can also occur due to excess drinking, medications, stress or stimulants like caffeine.

How Do I Know Its A Migraine?

Migraines are very specific to the individual they affect. But if there are no clear reasons why it is happening and the throbbing pains last for hours to days it might be a migraine. 

There can also be typical symptoms associated with migraines like nausea and vomiting. The individual may also become sensitive to lights and sounds.

Pre Migraine Symptoms

The pre-migraine stage is the first stage of migraines. It has a clear group of symptoms associated with it.

It usually lasts for several hours to days before a migraine attack. If an individual can identify these symptoms then they can take appropriate steps to deal with the upcoming attack of migraine pains.

Pre-Migraine symptoms are different from person to person and may not include all the symptoms listed below, but only a few of them.

  • Changes in mood
  • Pains in muscles or muscle groups
  • Craving for food, especially sweet food
  • Lack of concentration
  • Tiredness and excess yawning
  • Digestion issues
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Increased urination
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound

What Gets Rid Of Migraines Fast?

Migraine treatment

Image Source

There are several easy approaches you should take before going to the hospital for dealing with migraines. Often any of the following may help to get rid of migraines before they become severe.

  • Cold compression
  • Hot compression
  • Relieving pressure on the scalp
  • Reduced light stimulation
  • Reduced auditory stimulation
  • Avoiding chewing
  • Proper hydration
  • Some stimulants like caffeine
  • Relaxation
  • Massage
  • Some home remedies like ginger
  • Mild medication like aspirin

Migraine Vs Headache

Migraines are associated with headaches but are more than a simple headache. Any pain of any duration in the head is a headache.

But the migraine attacks are usually throbbing pains in the head. They can occur on either or both sides of the head. They can be accompanied by nausea or vomiting. 

There are several stages of migraines – prodrome, aura, attack and postdrome.

What Is The Last Stage Of Migraine?

The last stage of a migraine is the postdrome phase. During this period some people experience intense relief and are often uplifted by the lack of the pain. 

But sudden changes in head position or neck extension may trigger the headache again. Most people are exhausted in this stage. 

They feel non-functional for up to a few days due to a lack of energy and motivation.

Is Migraine Dangerous

Man holding chest for pain

Image Source

It is extremely difficult for people to remain functional if they have migraines. Unless it is treated migraines can be very severe and affect the quality of life. 

But they do not cause permanent brain damage. But there is a higher risk of getting strokes for people who suffer from migraines.

Can You Sleep Off A Migraine?

Migraine attacks are affected by the pattern of sleep of the individual. Erratic sleep patterns can aggravate the disease. 

It has also been seen that a good sleeping habit refuses the chance of attacks. Many people report that going off to sleep often relieves the attack.

What Causes Migraines

Migraines are caused by alterations in levels of chemicals in the head leading to inflammation and pain.

These may be due to several triggering mechanisms:

  • Excess drinking
  • Unmitigated stress
  • Hormonal changes (like estrogen spikes in women during pregnancy, menopause or menstrual periods)
  • Light or auditory stimulation
  • Alteration in sleep patterns
  • Reaction to medications
  • Reaction to stimulants like caffeine
  • Changes in weather

How Long Does A Migraine Last Without Medication

Usually migraines can extend from 4 to 72 hours if they are not treated medically. They can occur over different intervals.

Some people may have attacks in days and others in weeks or months. With treatment their frequency can decrease and they become less intense. 

With awareness of the symptoms associated with the onset of migraines, they can be manageable.

Symptoms of migraine

Migraines may have various symptoms and they will not occur for every patient on every attack.

They can include:

  • Flashing lights – Patients report seeing bright flashes of light. 
  • Blind spots – Patients report seeing blank patches in their field of vision.
  • Skin sensations – Patients may feel numb or experience tingling in parts of the skin.
  • Speech changes – Patients experience alterations in their speech patterns.
  • Tinnitus – Patients report persistent ringing in their ears.
  • Vision loss – Patients report temporary vision loss.
  • Seeing lines – Patients report seeing wavy or jagged lines in their field of vision.
  • Altered sensation – Patients report changes in their smell and taste sensation.
  • Headache – Patients can experience throbbing pain from either hemisphere of the brain.
  • Nausea and Vomiting – Patients suffer from high levels of nausea or even vomiting.

FAQ Relating To How Long Do Migraine Headaches Last?

Migraines are unique for every individual patient. The length of each attack can be different for every person. 

Some people have it more frequently than others. The extended periods of migraine are more severe and harder to deal with. 

The Status Migrainosus requires serious medical intervention to have a functional life.

What Triggers The Migraine?

The most common triggers of migraines are as follows:

  • Stress is by far the most common trigger for migraine reported by patients.
  • Alterations in the sleep schedule with erratic sleeping patterns may cause migraines in some patients.
  • Hormone fluctuations are an important trigger for migraines which result in women getting more migraines than men.
  • Stimulants like caffeine or alcohol when used excessively can cause migraines in some patients.
  • Changes in weather like increased heat or humidity may cause migraines.
  • Many patients report specific components of their diet that cause migraines.
  • Dehydration due to any reason may cause migration in patients.
  • Light stimulation may cause migraines.
  • Loud or irritating sounds are known to cause migraines.
  • Some patients report specific smells which are overpowering and cause them to experience migraines.
  • Overuse of medication can also trigger migraines in some patients.

What Happens In Brain During A Migraine?

Changes in the pattern of blood flow in the brain is the direct cause of pain and migraine. In recent years, improved technology has allowed scientists to understand what causes these changes in the blood flow. 

Important chemicals present in the brain like serotonin (a neurotransmitter) and estrogen (a hormone) cause the blood vessels in the brain to contract temporarily. This reduces the diameter of the blood vessel and decreases blood flow through them. 

Due to repeated increase and decrease of such chemicals the blood vessels can respond by cyclic contractions leading to throbbing headaches.

What Should You Not Do When You Have A Migraine?

Since migraines have specific triggers for people it can be managed by managing the triggers.

So the most important thing is to stop doing the activity which is a trigger for your migraine. 

You should also avoid taking excess pain medication and other stimulants like caffeine or alcohol. You should avoid skipping meals. 

You should stick to a healthy sleeping pattern avoiding too much or too little sleep. Do not try to ignore the migraine and let it heal itself. 

Avoid bright lights and sharp sounds and smells.

What Are The Four Stages Of A Migraine?

The four stages of migraine are as follows:

Prodrome: It is the first stage of the migraine and it warns of an impending migraine attack. It includes several symptoms like food cravings, neck stiffness, digestion issues and excess urination.

Aura: These are symptoms of the nervous system lasting a few minutes and are reversible. They can include auditory and visual phenomenon, skin sensations and speech issues.

Attack: This phase includes the characteristic throbbing headaches. People also experience nausea or vomiting at this time.

Post-drome: This is the phase when the headache subsides. People can feel relieved, confused, exhausted or excited for as long as a day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *