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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

What Happens in Status Migrainosus, the Most Severe Type of Migraine?

Status migrainosus also referred to as intractable migraine, is a migraine attack that usually lasts longer than 72 hours. In this, the usual migraine treatments offer little or no help, and this can affect the daily lifestyle of a person.


Severe headache for long periods of time could be a sign of migraine, Image Credits: Commons Wikipedia

In this article, we will see a little more in detail about this condition.

What is Status Migrainosus?

Status migrainosus is way more severe than the normal headaches caused by migraines and are long lasting. The symptoms of this might be very similar to the normal migraines, though sometimes they can get severe. The usual strategies that are used to stop the headache, that include rest and medication, often do not work.

Most migraines follow a distinct pattern. During this period, a person may feel disturbances, changes in consciousness etc. Therefore, it is necessary to realise that migraines are not like any other headaches.

Regular Migraine Vs. Status Migrainosus

The major difference would be in the duration and the treatment undertaken.

A regular migraine usually lasts for around 4-36 hours whereas status migraine lasts for longer than 72 hours and keeps worsening.

A normal painkiller might do to get relief from a regular migraine, but in case of a status migraine, even after undergoing treatment, pain persists.


Symptoms of a status migraine can be harsh enough to disrupt your life. Vomiting, loss of appetite, and nausea can be the most evident symptoms of status migrainosus. For some people, the pain and nausea get so adverse that they might have to get hospitalized.

Basically, the symptoms for both are similar, the ones for status migrainosus being more visible. Here are a few common symptoms:

  1. Difficulty in concentrating, feeling confused, sleepiness, or struggling to communicate, these are a few common symptoms of migraine.

  2. A person with a status migraine tends to see lights, patterns and unusual changes in their vision.


People with migraine tend to have changes in their vision. Image Credits: Pexels

  1. Pain caused due to headache can get severe and spread from one part of the head to all.

  2. Nausea is accompanied by reduction in appetite.

  3. Weakness in different parts of the body especially arms and legs.

  4. Consuming medicines and undergoing other treatment can help reduce the pain for some time, but it does come back with a vengeance.


Treatment of status migrainosus is difficult as most remedies only reduce pain for some time.

Attending support groups, physiotherapy, and talking to a specialist etc can be beneficial for pain management and anxiety.

Researchers still do not have a way to reduce the length of status migrainosus.

Certain medications help people feel better of nausea, confused thinking but it can never fully help.

Excessive vomiting must be prevented as it causes dehydration in the body. Dehydration can be a trigger for migraines.

Medicines given into a vein to rehydrate the body can prevent a headache from getting worse and fight dehydration.


Caption: Staying hydrated is very important. Image Credits: Pexels


Preventing migraines or status migrainosus is not completely possible.

Specific triggers, such as perfumes, heavily scented skin care products, stress, or even exhaustion can cause headaches.

Different people have their own specific reasons. It is necessary for people to realise these triggers and try to avoid them.

Common status migrainosus triggers include:

  1. Hormonal imbalance

  2. Neck and head injuries

  3. Changes in medication

  4. Weather changes

  5. Change in eating pattern

  6. Bad sleep schedule

  7. Fever, Common cold and flu

Keeping the body hydrated at all times, by consuming at least 4 litres of water everyday and giving the body adequate rest can help cope with this condition.


Migraines being a neurological disorder, it is necessary for people to test their neurological conditions to diagnose it early.

Status migrainosus can get frightening, extremely painful and stressful.

Thus, learning what is the reason behind the pain can soothe the person’s mind and help controlling and preventing attacks in the future.

Visiting a neuro specialist regarding this condition and undergoing specialised treatment for the same can help a person from future migraine attacks.

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