Postdrome: What You Need to Know About the Final Migraine Stage

You finally get rid of that awful migraine pain, but you still don’t feel like yourself.  You are sore, tired and just not quite right.

Ever wonder why this was happening?

There are actually four stages of a migraine.  The final stage is the postdrome.  This is where you feel just not quite right. (The other three are: prodrome, aura and attack).

So why is this going on and what can you do about it?

Sadly it is the least studied part of the migraine, so we know every little about this phase.

Some say they are due to the medications taken to overcome the migraine and some blame them on the migraine itself.  I for one think it is a bit of both, because even when I catch my migraine early enough that I don’t take medications, I still get some of the postdrome effects.

This stage is different than a rebound migraine which is caused by medication withdrawal.

Symptoms that you might experience are:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Sluggishness
  • Confusion
  • Tender Muscles

The amount of time that it lasts is different for every migraineur.  It can last for a few hours to a couple of days.  I myself find that most of it is gone within about four hours, but the tiredness does not go away until I have had a full night’s sleep.  So even though I eliminate the soreness and mental fog, I still am just completely exhausted.

How can You Help Yourself Through the Postdrome Phase?

Depending on your symptoms, the best thing to do is take it easy.  Don’t choose this as your time to start training for a marathon.  Other ideas include:

  • Keep lights low and sounds down – no sense in triggering another migraine episode!
  • Take an over the counter medication for muscle pain – only if you don’t suffer rebound migraines and your doctor is good with this.
  • Take a nap or go to bed early – my personal favorite!
  • Relax – I use this time to watch a movie or get caught up on my TV shows.

Until more studies are done on this phase of migraine, we will have to just go with taking it easy.  Talk to your doctor if you think your postdrome might be more serious or related to rebound migraines.

How do you manage the postdrome stage?