How Long Do Migraines Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer : 4 to 72 hours

There are several reasons due to which one can undergo severe headaches. Migraine is one of them. Migraine is a hard headache that lasts for several days, sometimes for weeks. Before the migraine headache, some people fall ill for one or two days. Some people feel flashing vision, uncomfortable with bright light sources. There are many symptoms that one can feel during or before the migraine headache. Pain behind your eyes, vomiting, feeling irritability to fragrances, throbbing pain on both sides of your head, nausea, etc. These are some of the signs of migraines.

How Long Do Migraines Last ?

Migraine’s lasting time depends upon its nature and its different stage. Proper medications can help in controlling and reducing migraine pain. But the proper medications also require a healthy lifestyle then only the cycle works. There are mainly four different stages of migraine. Everyone doesn’t need to have all four stages. From children to teenagers to adults all go through these stages or may not.

Prodrome/ Premonitory – One might notice some definite changes that indicated the event of migraine, one or two before it. Food cravings, increase in urination, feeling stress, depression, constipation, food cravings, dizziness, etc. These are some of the symptoms of the prodrome stage.

Aura – Some people endure it before the migraine whereas some experience it during the migraine attack. It mainly involves the visionary sensations and nervous system. It lasts for 5 minutes or an hour. You may have blurry vision, uncomfortable with bright lights, black dots, etc

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Migraine Attack/ Headache – Generally migraine pain starts as dull and with time it converts into throwing pain. If you are doing any physical activity then it may get worse. The pain will start shifting from one side of your head to the other. It will control your entire head. In research, it has been found that around 80 % of people feeling nausea during a migraine attack.

Postdrome Stage – This is the after stage of the migraine attack. After experiencing a severe headache, the muscles get weaken. One feels a lack of energy, cranky and tired.

Stages Timeline
Premonitory1- 24 hours
Aura5 minutes – 1 hour
HeadacheFew Hours – Days
Resolution1- 2 hours
Postdrome1-2 days

Why Do Migraines Last So Long?

There are so many theories that explain the concept of migraine pain. Some of its symptoms describe that it is possibly due to fluctuations in blood flow to the brain. But over time, researchers conclude that changes in blood flow do not initiate the pain but may contribute to some extent.

This is another migraine pain concept that states migraine pain occurs cause of waves of activity by groups of sensitive brain cells. Serotonin is a trigger chemical that is narrow to blood vessels. Serotonin plays a necessary role in interacting between nerve cells. It can cause the contraction of blood vessels throughout the body.

When serotonin or estrogen levels shift in the human body, it causes migraines. Serotonin levels affect both sexes but estrogen levels affect women only. Generally, migraine pain in women is correlated with the fluctuation of hormone levels. Stress, anxiety, and instability in an emotional state commonly result in Migraines. Here are a few tips which can help you to ease Migraine Pain and make you feel better.

  1. Rest in a quiet and dark place
  2. Try to stay hydrated, drink a lot of water.
  3. Ask someone to massage your muscles softly.
  4. If possible, try to meditate.
  5. Try to sleep for a while.
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Conclusion

If you are undergoing any migraine symptoms, don’t ignore them. Consult a doctor for good treatment. Taking lightly migraines can be dangerous. As per the 2016 British Medical Journal, people who have auras with migraine pain have double the risk of stroke. Migraine is still not completely curable but it can be stopped from getting worse. Try to avoid doing things that trigger you while migraine attacks as much as possible.

If any of your family members are having a migraine history then be a little more alert. If you are trying to cure your migraine at home then try to minimize your stress level. Maintain a healthy schedule which includes, healthy diet, exercise, and good sleep.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08964280309596169
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11916-019-0760-6
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