What Is a Migraine Hangover? | Body & Mind
“During the postdrome phase, someone may report not feeling like themselves. This phase may involve difficulty with concentration, attention, motivation, and fatigue,” says Buse,
Having migraine doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have postdrome. A 2006 study published in Cephalagia found that out of 827 study participants with acute migraine, 68 percent reported postdrome symptoms. Female participants in the study were more likely to have postdrome, and the most common symptoms were tiredness and a low-grade headache.
How do you treat a migraine hangover?
For those who typically suffer migraine postdrome, it may be easier to preempt them by treating your migraine attack itself while it is happening. Of course, that’s not always possible. “The postdrome may be reduced or eliminated when the migraine attack is properly treated,” says Newman. “Migraine-specific acute medications treat the head pain and the associated symptoms. If these medications are taken early in the attack, they can prevent or reduce the postdrome symptoms for many people.”
Options for treatment will vary, and you’ll need to speak to a doctor about a long-term treatment plan if you have frequent migraines. In general, over-the-counter pain relievers (like ibuprofen and aspirin) or prescription-strength triptans can reduce or dull migraine pain, while anti-nausea drugs may be prescribed to manage symptoms of digestive upset, according to the Mayo Clinic.
If you are experiencing a migraine postdrome, be gentle with yourself. The American Migraine Foundation (AMF) recommends getting additional rest, staying hydrated, and doing light activities, like stretching. The AMF also notes that after a severe migraine attack you may (understandably) be eager to resume your normal activity, but ignoring symptoms of postdrome may increase your risk of having another full-blown migraine attack.
To avoid postdrome in the future, focus on migraine prevention. Newman cites lifestyle changes such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule (including on the weekends), avoiding migraine triggers in your diet, exercising at least three days a week, and drinking at least five glasses of water per day as foundational to reducing migraine frequency. He also emphasizes the importance of reducing stress. “Take time for yourself, at least 30 to 60 minutes daily, that is your time to decompress,” he says.
If you’ve never been officially diagnosed with migraine but are experiencing symptoms, it may be a sign that it’s time to see your doctor. “If you have moderate or severe headache that makes it difficult to function and is associated with sensitivity to light and/or sound, and feelings of nausea, you may have migraine,” says Buse. “Talk to your health care provider about what you experience to obtain an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan.”