The Headache Phase of a Migraine - What Happens Here?

chiropractor for migraines

If you frequently visit a neurologist or a chiropractor for migraines, chances are you have heard all about the four distinct phases of migraines. You might have experienced all four stages at one point, or you distinguished only one or two of them. If you’re looking for a better and more practical way to manage your symptoms, learning about the different phases, especially a migraine's headache phase, may be a good place to start. Let’s break down the four distinct phases of a migraine episode. 


The Warning Phase

Plenty of migraineurs says that they experience the warning or prodrome phase. It usually occurs about a day or two before you start noticing the onset of the aura or headache phase. Some of the defining symptoms of the prodrome phase include the following: 

  • Digestive issues 
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the neck
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety 
  • Yawning
  • Food cravings

It might help to look out for these symptoms so you can prepare for an imminent episode. This way, you can make ample preparations like staying in a quiet and relaxed room or avoiding exposure to common migraine triggers. 

Aura Phase

According to the latest numbers, around 25 percent of migraineurs say they experience auras or sensory disturbances before their headaches begin to manifest. If you frequently suffer from a migraine episode, you might be familiar with common aura symptoms like seeing flashing lights or blind spots. Besides visual changes or disturbances, you might also note additional symptoms like: 

  • Paresthesia (feeling a tingling sensation on your hands and feet)
  • Dizziness or vertigo episodes
  • Slurring or mumbling of words
  • Memory changes
  • Confusion

Headache Phase

The headache phase tends to cause painful and disabling effects on the body. It can render you incapacitated for several hours, depending on your pain tolerance level or the severity of your attack. Besides the pulsating or throbbing pain that mainly occurs on one side of your head, the headache phase triggers additional symptoms, such as:

  • Vertigo
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme sensitivity to bright light, noise, and odors
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Congested nasal pathways
  • Neck pain
  • Jaw pain 

Most patients who come in to see an upper cervical chiropractor for migraines can quickly tell that they experience the headache phase of a migraine episode. That’s because we commonly associate migraines with headaches. 

However, do note that some cases of migraines don’t trigger headaches. We refer to this type of migraine as silent migraine. Instead of causing headaches, this type of migraine only triggers aura symptoms as well as stomach problems. It can also cause weakness and vomiting. 

chiropractor for migraines

Postdrome Phase

Most migraineurs aren’t aware that after a headache phase, sometimes the postdrome or hangover phase shortly follows. In this phase, patients commonly experience the same symptoms as the headache phase. On top of that, it tends to trigger cognition and emotional issues like depression, trouble remembering things, and fatigue. Such symptoms occur as the brain tries to recover from the attack. This stage usually follows right after a migraine episode and can persist for about 48 hours.

Migraines and Neck Health Connections

Chronic or recurring migraine attacks can cause various problems in your daily life. It can take out the fun in doing activities like bonding with family members or sitting under the sun for a nice tan. The episodes can also take a toll on your mental health as you find yourself anxious every time a warning sign or symptom appears. 

Thankfully, you now have plenty of promising options to curb the effects of your migraine symptoms. One excellent example of this would be going to an upper cervical chiropractor for migraines

Studies show that neck misalignment accounts for the onset of various health problems that plague many individuals. Chronic migraine attacks, for example, can sometimes occur when the misaligned neck bones impact neighboring structures like the brainstem and your nerve endings. 

As the bones press on the surrounding tissues, normal body processes such as transmitting signals to and from the brain get compromised. It also affects blood flow into the brain, a crucial factor that often increases the occurrence and severity of a migraine episode. 

Unfortunately, not many people know that they have a neck misalignment. That’s because we often associate neck misalignment with physical trauma, injuries, or accidents. Studies emphasize that besides such health issues, neck misalignment can also get triggered by other factors like:

  • Poor posture
  • Lack of quality sleep at night
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol 
  • Cigarette smoking 

Such factors affect the quality of the discs or the protective material found between vertebral bones. When the discs fail to function correctly, the spinal bones, such as your neck bones, can shift from their original location. This seemingly simple vertebral subluxation worsens over time and triggers the onset of health problems such as recurring migraine attacks. 


Find a Local Upper Chiropractic Professional for Migraine Relief

Frequent migraine attacks can be pretty frustrating to deal with. While medications can undoubtedly provide quick relief from the pain, sometimes they’re not enough to help you feel at ease, especially when you experience all four of the migraine phases. 

If you’re looking for a natural technique to eliminate your migraine symptoms, you can consult with an upper cervical chiropractor for migraines. This way, you can find out if you have neck bone subluxations and if they’re the reason behind your tormenting pain. 

Feel free to reach out to a practitioner near you and discover how upper cervical chiropractic care can address your recurring migraine problems.

Find An Upper Cervical Doctor in Your Areato schedule a consultation today.

Find an Upper Cervical Specialist In Your Area

to schedule a consultation today.

Featured Articles


Montel Williams
Montel Williams

TV show host Montel Williams describes how specific chiropractic care has helped his body.

NBC's The Doctors

The TV show "The Doctors" showcased Upper Cervical Care.

CBS News/Migraine Relief

CBS News highlighted the alleviation of Migraines and Headaches.

The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.