The 4 Phase of Migraines – Finding Natural Help for All of Them


The most common neurological condition that people are living with in the US is migraines. With 39 million migraineurs, there isn’t another health problem in the same category that comes close to affecting as many people. That having been said, we still don’t know everything there is to know about migraines. One of the things that many people do not realize is that migraines can occur in up to four phases. 

What are the four possible phases of a migraine? What are the symptoms that a person can expect in each of the stages that they experience? Is there any way to find natural help for your migraines, even if you get many or all of the phases? We will address these questions in our article. 

Stage One: Prodrome 

Migraine prodrome is a precursor to the attack phase. Some researchers believe that about 40% of migraineurs experience this stage, but there have not been a lot of studies performed. What are the symptoms of migraine prodrome? 

  • Mood swings
  • Concentration issues
  • Diarrhea or constipation 
  • Unexplained thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Neck pain
  • Food cravings – This symptom may be responsible for why so many people believe that certain foods trigger their migraines while there is little medical research to back that up 

Stage Two: Migraine Aura 

This is the least common of the migraine stages, with only about a quarter of migraineurs experiencing aura within the hour before the attack begins. If a patient experiences this phase, it is crucial for loved ones and physicians to pay close attention to patient moods and emotions. While all those who are living with migraines are at higher risk for depression, those who are living with migraines with aura are at the highest risk for suicide. 

Here are some of the symptoms associated with this phase that generally occurs between 20-60 minutes before an attack.

  • Sensory hallucinations 
  • Sensory sensitivities 
  • Vertigo 
  • Visual disturbances which may include blond spots, floaters, zig-zag or wavy lines, blurred, vision, flashes of light, and the like 
  • Numbness or tingling that can affect the face, arms, legs, and chest 

Stage Three: The Migraine Attack 

This is the migraine phase that used to be called the headache. Why has the name been changed to the attack phase? In part, it is to correct the misunderstanding that migraines are bad headaches. It is also to help patients with silent migraines to get proper care. A silent migraine occurs without a headache. This is not as uncommon as you may think since estimates state that only about 90% of migraines have a headache as a symptom. 

What are some of the most common migraine attack symptoms?

  • A headache that features two of these four indicators: (1) throbbing or pulsating pain (2) moderate to severe pain (3) single-sided pain (4) pain that increases with exertion 
  • Neck pain – You may have already noticed this symptom in the prodrome phase. The fact is that this is one of the most common migraine symptoms, with about 75% of patients reporting neck pain either before or during an attack. 
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings
  • Face pain
  • Visual disturbances (including temporary blindness)
  • Sinus congestion
  • Chills
  • Sensory sensitivities
  • Vertigo
  • Hot flashes
  • Cognitive problems 

Stage Four: Postdrome  

The postdrome phase of migraine makes up all of the symptoms that comprise the aftereffects on the body that the trauma of the attack causes. Some people refer to it as a migraine hangover because some of the symptoms can be similar. In all, the postdrome of a migraine can extend the effects of an attack by an extra 48 hours, making all the phases add up to as much as three days of misery for someone dealing with all of them. 

Here are the symptoms that are associated with the fourth migraine phase – the postdrome.

  • Exhaustion/fatigue
  • Cognitive problems
  • Appetite changes
  • Mood swings
  • Problems with concentration 

Finding Natural Help for Migraines 

Any migraine, even if you only experience the attack phase, can be debilitating. Therefore, it is vital to find help for your condition, especially if you experience frequent or chronic (symptoms more than 15 days per month) migraines. What is one thing that has helped patients in case studies? 

Upper cervical specific chiropractic can provide benefits in several ways. For example, you can see from the symptoms that migraine is neurological in nature, so you want to try things that will help your central nervous system to function optimally. Upper cervical chiropractic fits the bill because even a slight misalignment of the top two bones in the neck can affect everything from brainstem function to blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow. 

What makes this specific form of chiropractic care unique? Here are three things:

  • Focus – Upper cervical chiropractors only adjust the top two bones in the neck. 
  • Precision – X-rays help to pinpoint misalignments down to hundredths of a degree. This is necessary because even the slimmest of misalignments can lead to CNS issues. 
  • Low force – Upper cervical chiropractic adjustments are very gentle and performed with gentle manual corrections or employing an adjusting instrument. This makes the process safe for people of all ages and health conditions. 

If you have been living with migraines, especially if you have a history of head or neck injuries, this may be the natural help that you have been searching for. Contact a practitioner in your area today to learn more and to schedule an examination. It may be your first step to getting the help that you need for migraines.

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.