Stages of a migraine
This particular type of headache presents as a pulsating pain on one side of the head, which can be moderate to severe. Physical activity, coughing, or sneezing can aggravate the condition, which may last for hours to approximately 2-3 days.
Migraines typically undergo five phases, though not all phases may be present in all patients:
Phase 1 (Prodrome/ Premonitory). Begins 24 hours prior to the onset of a migraine headache. In this phase, patients may experience food cravings, mood changes, fluid retention or increased urination, and uncontrollable yawning.
Phase 2 (Aura). This phase is characterized by seeing flashing, bright lights or zig-zag lines. Patients at this phase may also experience muscle weakness. This may occur immediately prior to the onset of a migraine.
Phase 3 (Headache). This phase includes a moderate to severe headache that gradually increases in severity.
Phase 4 (Resolution). Refers to the point where the headache either gradually or suddenly stops.
Phase 5 (Recovery/ Postdrome). This is the phase post-headache. Here, patients may feel exhausted, confused, and weak for as long as a day.
Some patients may not experience a headache but have a migraine with symptoms like photophobia (an increased sensitivity to light), hyperacusis (increased sensitivity to noise), hyperosmia (increased sensitivity to smells), nausea, and vomiting.
Determining Headache Causes Based on the Location of Pain