Stages of Migraine Headache

A headache that causes a severe pulsing sensation or a throbbing pain on one side of the head usually is called a migraine. It is a chronic condition that affects the quality of life severely.Headaches are common with everyone but some headaches are more serious than others which can turn out to be a serious health condition at times.

There are almost 150 different types of headaches, classified into two categories of primary and secondary headaches. Primary headaches can be clinically diagnosed without any blood test or image study in most of the cases. A secondary headache is mostly a common symptom of a different health condition. Migraine is basically a primary headache as it is not caused a different medical condition.

What are the stages of migraine and how long do they last?

Knowing the stages of migraine will be helpful in addressing the early symptoms and minimizing its effect potentially. The migraine attack is majorly classified into four categories depending on the timeline.

The four stages of a migraine headache can take about eight to seventy-two hours in a person which varies with different triggering conditions.

The stages are: –


  • This is the first of the headache. It can last for some hours or two to three days sometimes.
  • As it doesn’t happen every time, many people don’t experience this stage.
  • It is also called a premonitory or preheadache phase.


When a group of motor, speech, and sensory symptoms give warning signals that there is going to be a migraine attack, it’s the aura. An aura lasts from a minimum of five minutes to a maximum of 60 minutes. As it happens before the headache, it is often misinterpreted as a seizure or stroke. Most of people don’t experience an aura but have both headaches and aura at the same time.


Generally, it starts from one side of the head and later spreads to the other side.

It lasts from as small as four hours to as long as seventy-two hours. The pain is usually severe like a throbbing or drilling sensation in the head or mild pain like the sensation of an ice pick in the head.


The postdrome stage often goes on for a day or two. This stage is also called a migraine hangover. Most of the people having migraines experience this stage.

What are the common symptoms of migraine?

Throbbing pain, a symptom of a migraine attack can sometimes be on one side of the head or on both sides and worsens further with activity and movement.

If there are other symptoms accompanying headaches like seizures, nausea, light sensitivity, light-headedness, change in the eyesight, pain associated with straining, headaches start suddenly, pain lasting more than a day, then one should consult a doctor without any delay.

If the symptoms of migraine headache disturb the daily schedule, then one needs to consult a neurologist and get their migraine checked.

One should consult a doctor if the symptoms of the migraine are persistent with time.

The department of Neurology of Sun Hospital treats people with various neurological disorders like sleep disorders, stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, paralytic disorders, multidisciplinary management, and assessment of multiple sclerosis, and headaches. The department has a leading panel of surgeons, doctors, and nursing staff who offer a high-tech diagnosis with the help of the latest Neuroimaging techniques.

The sole mission of Sun Hospital always has been delivering affordable and holistic affordable qualitative healthcare and to build a dynamic institution that focuses on the development of people and new knowledge.