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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

The Timeline of a Migraine Attack

Everyone suffers from headaches from time to time. But those who have to deal with migraines experience something that is much more than just a headache. To an ordinary person, there is no difference between a terrible headache and a migraine. People who frequently experience migraine headaches can tell you that there’s a world of difference between them.

A complicated neurological condition, migraine causes a range of symptoms which include, but is not limited to, just a throbbing headache. A migraine attack and its terrible headache come with nausea, vomiting, visual changes, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. A migraine chart illustrating the different phases of migraine is recommended by doctors to these patients to keep with them. It helps them prepare for the migraine attack beforehand.

Migraine Pain Chart – The Four Phases of a Migraine Attack

Understanding the distinct phases of migraine can help people manage it effectively. They are:

  1. Prodrome phase

  2. Aura phase

  3. Headache phase

  4. Postdrome phase

1.   Prodrome Phase

migraine types chart

Person experiencing lack of concentration, Credit: Pixabay

This is the first phase of the migraine attack and it can start from hours or days before the attack. It serves as a warning sign for migraine sufferers. They can take preventative steps during this phase. The symptoms of prodrome phase include

  1. Difficulty in concentrating

  2. Tiredness

  3. Depression

  4. Irritability

  5. Frequent urination

  6. Food craving

  7. More than usual yawning

  8. Trouble in sleeping

2.   Aura Phase


diagram showing blurred vision, Credit: Pixabay

This phase is characterised by its visual disturbances. It can be as short as 5 minutes or as long as an hour. It also serves as a warning sign of the succeeding phases. Symptoms in this phase include:

  1. Blind spots

  2. Blurred vision

  3. Wavy lines in the line of vision

  4. Difficulty in seeing things

  5. Light flashes

  6. Dizziness

  7. Partial loss of hearing

  8. Tingling sensations in the arms, legs, or face

  9. Hearing sounds and smelling odours that aren’t present

3.   Headache Phase

migraine phase

Person experiencing headache, Credit: Pixabay

The headache phase is the most painful one. It can last anywhere from between four hours to three days. Symptoms associated with this phase include:

  1. A headache that often begins on one side of the head and spreads to the whole head.

  2. Headache that worsens with physical exertion.

  3. Pain in the eyes, teeth, jaw, and neck.

  4. Nausea and vomiting

  5. Hot flashes or chills

  6. Panic and depression

4.   Postdrome Phase

migraine chart

Person experiencing bodyache, Credit: Pixabay

This phase is characterised by a subsiding headache. It is often described by migraine sufferers as a feeling of hangover. Its symptoms include:

  1. Bodyache

  2. Fatigue

  3. Difficulty in concentrating

  4. Sensitivity to light

  5. Depression

Migraine Types Chart


Person experiencing headache, Credit: Pixabay

There are many different types of migraine headaches. Their types and location can help people better identify what type of migraine they’re dealing with. It is also called the migraine location chart.

  1. Migraine with aura, a string of sensory and visual changes that occur during or before a migraine attack.

  2. Migraine without aura, characterised by throbbing pain, vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound that can last upto 48 hours.

  3. Silent migraine, which consists of all the symptoms of migraine except headache.

  4. Hemiplegic migraine, characterized by weakness on one side of the body along with visual symptoms.

  5. Retinal migraine, characterized by a temporary loss of vision in one eye that can last from days to months.

  6. Chronic migraine, characterised by headaches that last upto 15 days in a month with varying severity.

  7. Ice pick headaches, characterized by intense, sharp pain in the head that occurs suddenly.

  8. Cluster headaches, characterized by a severe pain around and above the eyes, temples, and moving to the back of your head.

Migraines cannot be cured completely. But there are certain measures you can take to limit their outbreak. Being attentive about your diet can help you a lot in treating and preventing migraines. Limiting foods that triggers your migraine will reduce the frequency of the attack. A migraine diet chart consisting of whole natural foods like fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the first steps that you can take to prevent the onset of migraine.

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