To those that do not experience Migraines, it may seem silly to write a post about the Headache Phase of a Migraine. You are probably thinking that a Migraine IS a headache after all. Nothing could be further from the truth!
What is the Headache Phase?
Headache is the third phase of a Migraine. It is characterized by pain that is on one or both sides of the head but it is more common to have pain only on one side. This phase can last for a few hours but it can last for up to 3 days. The headache phase can also change from one side pain to involve both sides during the course of the headache.
Each headache phase may be completely different than the last. You may have a migraine in which the headache phase is only minimal pain and the next may be debilitating.
A Migraine without Headache
I can hear you thinking, “What? But a Migraine is a Headache!” Actually, this is exactly why a Migraine is NOT just a headache! You can have a Migraine that has no pain! This type of Migraine is called a Silent Migraine or Acephalgic Migraine.
For many years, I would have Silent Migraines. I would have the Prodrome symptoms and the Migraine Aura symptoms but no pain. Then I would get the Postdrome symptoms (which will be discussed in the next post in the series). Sounds amazing doesn’t it? Well, not exactly because I would still get some of the other symptoms that come with the headache phase of the Migraine.
What are the Symptoms of the Headache Phase?
This Migraine Phase comes with many of the debilitating symptoms that most people might associate with a Migraine. It does include pain but you do not have to have all of these symptoms for it to be considered a Migraine. Here are some of the symptoms:
- Nasal Congestion
- Depressed Mood
- Sensitivity to Light, Smell and Sound
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Head pain; throbbing, drilling or icepick
First off, there is no cure for Migraines. You can find many articles out there to proclaim that they have found a cure for Migraine. They may have found what has helped them and that is awesome but that doesn’t mean that it is a cure. Proceed with caution when you see anything about a cure because I can promise you, that a true “cure” will get much more attention than one blog post!
Ultimately, find what works for you and know that what works for one person may not work for you at all! For example, I know several people that use essential oils during migraine with great success. I could NEVER use these because my sensitivity to smell is so great that sometimes I can’t tolerate the most normal of smells.
What Helps Me?
So now that you know that, what can treat Migraine? For the most part, you treat the symptoms.
There are many over the counter treatments that can actually help if the headache has not reached a severe point. I personally use Excedrin Migraine for my less severe headaches with great success. There are many prescription drugs that are used for the headache and should work with your Doctor to find what is best for you.
Find what help you with the nausea, honestly taking Dramamine helps me tremendously with my nausea. And I have set my bedroom up as my “dark room” so that I have somewhere dark to go during my attacks.
Another product that gives me significant relief is the Headache Hat. It is a reusable ice pack that wraps around your head and attaches with velcro. The cold from the ice helps but I also find that the slight pressure it creates on my head provides relief as well.
I also use an electric blanket set on the lowest setting. I tend to get really cold during my Migraine Attacks so this helps with this symptoms. But even if I have one and I don’t have that problem, I find that this is just comforting and helps me relax.
The headache is the third phase of a Migraine. This phase has several symptoms and all of them do not have to be present for it to be considered a Migraine.
Treating a Migraine that has reached the headache phase can be complicated and with vary from person to person. Find what works for you and stick with the plan. You should use caution when someone proclaims that they found a cure for Migraine because there is no cure. That person probably just found what works for them.
Next week, we will be wrapping up this series on The Phases of Migraine by discussing the final phase, the Prodrome.
To learn more about the Timeline of a Migraine, please visit the American Migraine Foundation.
Read about the other Migraine Phases
- Migraine Explained: Prodrome
- Migraine Explained: Aura
- Migraine Explained: Headache Phase
- Migraine Explained: Postdrome Phase
Disclaimer: This blog post provides general information and first hand accounts about a serious medical condition. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice.