The Different Stages of a Migraine

Did you know a migraine is one of the most prevalent neurological diseases in the world?  It affects 1 billion people overall, with 39 million Americans suffering from this condition, including men, women, and children.

Even though you can’t always know when you’re going to get a migraine, you can start to predict when it’s coming simply by recognizing its certain patterns of attack.

Double board-certified physician Dr. Navin Mallavaram, and our team of chronic pain specialists at The Spine & Pain Center of California understand the severity of a migraine and the pain it can cause. In many cases, it can take a toll on your quality of life.

Learning the different stages of a migraine can help head off the pain before it gets worse.

Stages of a migraine


This stage occurs before your migraine begins. If you notice certain symptoms, your body might be telling you that a migraine is on the way. Watch out for feelings of irritability, food cravings, frequent urination, lots of yawning, thirst, excitability, or depression.


During this stage, the migraine is about to start. You might notice issues with your vision, feel tingling or numbness on your skin around your face and hands, and lose your ability to think and speak clearly.

Main attack

When your headache begins, you can feel its effects for hours and even several days. Feelings might include: 

Also, be careful not to have any physical activity or movement of any kind, or your pain can worsen.


As your headache starts to dissipate, you may feel like you have a hangover. You might also be extremely tired or sluggish. Your recovery can sometimes last an entire day. 

How to head off a migraine

When you begin to feel a migraine coming on, the following actions can help:

When you notice the beginning symptoms of a migraine, try to step away from whatever you’re doing and take care of yourself. Getting in a quiet space and shutting off the noise and activity around you can slow the progression of your migraine.

How to keep migraines out of your life

Certain lifestyle practices can help you ward off the possibility of getting migraines, including:

We also encourage you to keep a diary that can help you notice what might cause your migraines. If you can’t get them under control through practices of your own, we can treat your chronic pain with injectable therapies. 

To learn more about migraines, contact Dr. Mallavaram and our team today. Call either one of our locations in Fremont or Pleasanton to book your appointment, or request your visit online. If you have any questions before you come in, please send us a message.

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