Migraine Postdrome (Hangover) Insights

What is a migraine hangover?

Migraines are known for their debilitating pain, but the aftermath, often referred to as the "migraine hangover," is an equally challenging phase.

This phase, clinically known as the postdrome stage, leaves many individuals feeling drained and disoriented.

We'll explore the migraine hangover, its symptoms, and ways to manage it effectively.

Understanding migraine hangover

A migraine hangover, or postdrome, is the final phase of a migraine attack, occurring after the intense pain subsides. It affects up to 80% of migraine sufferers.

This phase can last from a few hours in most cases up to 24 hours to more than a day, characterized by symptoms like fatigue, mood changes, cognitive difficulties, and general weakness.

Source: Herndon et al., 2021.

Symptoms of postdrome migraine

The symptoms of a migraine hangover can vary but often include:

  • Fatigue and lethargy: A profound sense of exhaustion is common.
  • Cognitive difficulties: Problems with concentration and processing information.
  • Mood changes: Feelings of depression or euphoria.
  • Physical discomfort: Stiff neck, sensitivity to light, and dizziness.

The after effects of a migraine

The after effects of a migraine can significantly impact daily life. Individuals might experience a lingering dull headache, impaired concentration, and a reduced ability to function normally.

This phase can be just as disabling as the migraine itself, affecting work, social, and family life.

Management and recovery

Recovering from a migraine hangover involves several steps:

  1. Rest and relaxation: Ensure adequate rest to help the body recover.
  2. Hydration: Dehydration can worsen symptoms, so drink plenty of fluids.
  3. Healthy diet: Eating balanced meals can restore energy levels.
  4. Gentle exercise: Light activities like walking can boost mood and energy.
  5. Avoid triggers: Stay away from known migraine triggers during recovery.

Symptoms of a migraine hangover can often be alleviated using either cold compresses or heating pads, tailored to your preference. For some, a soft massage is effective in easing stiffness and discomfort - (Grey & Weiss, 2019)

FAQ: Understanding postdrome and migraine hangovers

What is a migraine hangover or postdrome?

It's the final phase of a migraine attack, characterized by fatigue, cognitive difficulties, mood changes, and physical discomfort.

How long does the postdrome phase last?

It can last from a few hours to 24-48 hours.

What are common symptoms during this phase?

Symptoms include profound fatigue, concentration problems, mood fluctuations, and physical discomfort like a stiff neck and dizziness.

Can lifestyle measures help manage postdrome symptoms?

Yes, using cold compresses, heating pads, gentle massage, and ensuring rest can alleviate discomfort.

Should I avoid certain activities during recovery?

Limiting strenuous activities and gradually easing back into regular routines can aid recovery.

When should I consult a doctor?

If you frequently experience severe postdrome symptoms, consulting a healthcare professional is advisable for personalized management strategies.


Understanding and managing the migraine hangover is crucial for those who experience migraines. Recognizing the symptoms and knowing how to care for yourself during the postdrome phase can make a significant difference in recovery and overall well-being.

If you frequently experience migraine hangovers, consult with a healthcare professional for personalized management strategies.

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