Migraines are thought to have four phases. Although the lines between them are blurred, they do show some striking similarities. The initial and the final phases of migraines are known as the prodrome and postdrome phases respectively.
Both phases are distinctly different from the actual mid migraine phases, yet they are sometimes hard to recognize to the patient who is suffering from them.
The majority of migraine patients do report experiencing a prodrome phase. Those who are uncertain whether or not they have experienced this phase will sometimes contend that in retrospective it appears as though they might have gone through this phase, but because of the benign nature of the experience it was really rather impossible to tell at the time.
The prodrome phase is defined by an increase in fatigue and a markedly changing makeup of the patients mood. In some cases there may be some hyperactivity, bursts of productivity, an increase in irritability, and a subsequent letdown into listlessness and even times of depression.
The patient may have a sudden pain in the upper back, the neck, and the feeling of sore or pulled muscles. This is a distinct giveaway since this feeling does not logically follow on the heels of any exercise.
The postdrome phase finishes the migraine sufferers cycle of symptoms. It inevitably distinguishes itself with feelings of extreme fatigue, residual pain, and also feelings of vertigo.
The patient is urged to rest and get some sleep before taking up regular activities again. Follow up headaches are part of the experience, yet they are by far less painful than their precursors.
This phase only lasts about 10 to 12 hours, and in the aftermath of a full blown migraine attack, this phase is a breeze for the patient to weather. In general it is recommended that sufferers rest, take it easy, and expect to awake refreshed after a good nights sleep.
Dealing with Prodrome and Postdrome Phases
Migraine patients can do little to ward off the prodrome phase or hasten the postdrome suffering. Instead, the best treatment suggestions come from osteopathic practitioners that urge the sufferer to focus on muscle relaxation, visualization techniques, and also bio feedback.
The goal is to bring the patient through the experience with a minimum of discomfort while aiding her or him in the ability to overcome the migraine attack speedily and with only very few lasting problems.
Since so often there is a good chance that nervousness and tension will intensify migraine headaches, the admonition to work hard at relaxation may sound odd, but it might ease the overall experience of pain and discomfort, and it might actually shorten the attack.
The latter, of course is what most sufferers are looking for and hope to achieve, especially when their migraines have multiple symptoms rather than just one or two. Especially headache sufferers are hoping to severely shorten the mid phases in favor of recognizing the onset of the prodrome and thus finding the ability to take preventive measures.