What is the Migraine Hangover (Postdrome Phase)?
It's not over until you say it is. The migraine hangover, also known as the postdrome phase, is a common experience that many people experience after a migraine attack, but few talk about. If you've ever felt like "I just don't feel right" or "I don't trust myself to drive," even after your migraine attack is on its way out, you are not alone.
The postdrome phase is a real phenomenon and it's more common than you might think. Most people think of alcohol when they hear the word "hangover." People with migraine, though, experience all the symptoms of a hangover without the fun of a party.
Symptoms of the Migraine Hangover
Migraine hangover symptoms can leave you feeling like you're in a fog, exhausted, and unable to concentrate. They can linger for hours or days after the so-called attack phase of the migraine is over. Some of the common symptoms include:
To fully understand why this happens, it's helpful to get a "big picture" look at a migraine attack, including all the phases so that you have an understanding of how the typical attack progresses and where your symptoms fit into the picture. A migraine attack actually has four potential stages. Not every person will experience each of the phases, nor will every migraine attack. These stages are:
Prodrome phase (aka the warning phase)
Postdrome phase, or migraine hangover phase
How Long Does the Migraine Hangover Last?
The hangover phase can last hours or days, but it typically lasts around 24 hours. Studies have also shown that adults tend to have symptoms that last a little longer, up to a full day, than children and adolescents.
How to Manage the Migraine Hangover?
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for the postdrome phase and it can be difficult to manage, but there are a few things you can try to alleviate your symptoms. These include:
If your migraine attacks are frequent or severe, it is important to speak to your doctor. They may be able to recommend preventative treatments or medications to help reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines.
For further information about the migraine hangover, you may want to check out the following sources:
The American Migraine Foundation: https://www.americanmigrainefoundation.org/understanding-migraine/migraine-stages/postdrome/
The Migraine Trust: https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/types-of-migraine/migraine-with-aura/migraine-stages/postdrome/
Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/in-depth/migraine/ART-20047242
It's important to note that this information is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment