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What Are the 4 Phases of Migraines & What Happens in Each?

Dealing with migraines can be quite tricky, primarily because of the lack of definitive explanations of what causes them. Most patients who come to a migraine chiropractor in Vancouver report throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of their head. Others note accompanying symptoms such as sensitivity to sound, light and smell, vomiting, and nausea. 

Generally, a migraine causes recurring headaches that could either be mild or severe. If left unresolved, a typical migraine episode can cause discomfort for around 4 to 72 hours. If you have a chronic type, it could potentially reoccur after a few days or weeks. When that happens, it could impact various aspects of your life, such as your work and relationships.

Fortunately, while the condition can indeed cause many inconveniences, there’s still hope for relief and, possibly, full recovery. To achieve that, you will need to learn more about how typical migraine episodes happen. Also, you will need to be open to trying a totally unexpected way to relieve migraine symptoms.   

What Are the 4 Phases of Migraines?

It’s virtually impossible to provide you with a generalized description of a migraine attack because it tends to vary from one person to another. However, it does have four specific phases. Knowing about these stages can help you manage your pain and even prevent the symptoms from getting worse. 

Here are the four migraine stages:

  • #1. Premonitory phase 
  • #2. Aura phase 
  • #3. Headache phase 
  • #4. Recovery phase 

Stage 1: What Happens in Premonitory Phase?

Otherwise known as the prodromal phase, the premonitory phase occurs hours or days before your symptoms start to show. Recognizing this specific migraine stage could help you make necessary adjustments that can minimize your pain and discomfort. Here are some signs you should look out for:

  • Unexplained food aversion or cravings
  • Sudden weakness or lethargy 
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Neck muscle stiffness or pain
  • Mood swing
  • Problem in concentrating 
  • Constipation or diarrhea

Stage 2: What Happens in Aura Phase?

The American Migraine Foundation reports that roughly one-third of migraineurs experience the aura phase once the episode starts. You can distinguish this phase from the others by identifying visual or sensory changes such as:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Hearing problems such as hearing loss
  • Hypersensitivity of your skin and nose
  • Vertigo or the feeling of spinning when you’re not moving
  • Prickling, tingling, or numbness of your face, arms, and legs
  • Seeing wavy lines or sudden flashes of light, Having blurry vision, floaters, tunnel vision, or blind spots

Stage 3: What Happens in Headache Phase?

The third stage is often identified as the most debilitating phase. During this phase, you may experience mild to severe bouts of headaches localized to one part of your head. The pain could spread to other sides and could last up to three days. You might notice your headaches and other symptoms worsen when you try to exercise or do sudden movements. Below are other key characteristics of the third phase that you should look out for:

  • Extreme sensitivity to sensory stimuli such as light, scents, and sounds
  • Pain around your eyes, sinuses, teeth, and jaw
  • Dizziness
  • Neck pain
  • Anxiety or nervousness 
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose 
  • Impaired brain function such as difficulty concentrating

Stage 4: What Happens in Postdrome Phase?

The last section of a migraine attack is the postdrome stage. Some people call it the “migraine hangover” because it can leave the person feeling awful for up to a couple of days after the headache disappears. Postdrome signs and symptoms can resemble those of the first phase, and they can also include the following:

  • Poor concentration
  • Reduced comprehension
  • Mood changes ranging from melancholy to euphoria
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite

Getting Help From a Migraine Chiropractor in Vancouver 

Certainly, migraines and your neck are related, especially because neck pain is such a frequent symptom among migraine sufferers. Migraines can frequently start following a head or neck injury. Sometimes they may not show up for months or even years after the incident. 

Spine Misalignment Results in Migraines

A head or neck injury can misalign the neck and the rest of the spine. Misalignment of the spine can result in quite a few difficulties that can lead to migraines. This is because the spinal bones play an important role.

  • The topmost neck bone protects the brainstem, an extraordinarily important area of your body’s central nervous system. When it misaligns, it can damage the brainstem and surrounding tissues and decrease its normal function.
  • Blood flow from the brain relies on this bone’s positioning.  A misalignment can decrease the normal blood to and from the brain, which can cause migraine symptoms.
  • A spinal misalignment can reduce cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage and flow. 

Some of these factors can lead to migraines and may bring on other chronic conditions as well. If someone is dealing with migraines, whether infrequent or persistent, having spinal adjustments done by a specific chiropractor is key to achieving a lasting solution. 

Finding a Local Specific Chiropractic Near You 

Specific chiropractors focus on restoring the alignment of the neck and the rest of the spine. By doing so, they correct the root cause of migraines and different headache-related conditions. If a spinal misalignment is found, they apply adjustments to the whole spine to resolve the problem. 

The most important aspect to remember when it comes to migraine stages and natural solutions is to get to the root cause of the problem. If your neck issues are causing your migraines, then correcting that misalignment will make all the difference to your health and life. Start getting chiropractic adjustments with a reliable Vancouver BC chiropractor like Dr. Sereena Uppal. Contact us today for a consultation.

To schedule a consultation in our Vancouver office call 604-551-7283, or just click the button below.