Migraine Hangover (Postdrome)

What Is a Migraine Hangover?

A migraine hangover, also called postdrome, is the last stage of a migraine. It can linger a few hours to more than a day after the headache goes away. Postdromes don’t always come, but experts believe that they happen up to 80% of the time.

There’s also no way to know how intense your postdrome will be. It isn’t necessarily linked to how severe your migraine is.

Symptoms of a Migraine Hangover

How do you know if you’re having postdrome? Symptoms vary, but you might be:

  • Tired
  • Unable to concentrate
  • In a general bad mood
  • Drained or washed out

You might also notice physical symptoms, like:

Causes of Migraine Hangover

Researchers don’t think one single thing causes postdrome. It’s part of the migraine itself, as it affects systems all over your body.

Migraine Hangover Treatment and Home Remedies

A doctor who specializes in headaches can help you understand your migraines and find treatments that work.

Once you’re in postdrome, it’s important to practice what’s called good headache hygiene.

Drink plenty of water. Get some rest, too. Relaxing activities like yoga can be helpful. What works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you, so you might need to experiment.

Do you notice that your postdrome is worse when you look at a screen? Stay off your phone or laptop.

Do you find that caffeine eases your symptoms? Make a cup of tea.

You can also try:

  • Ice packs
  • Heating pads
  • Massages

It can be a good idea to keep a headache diary. On a notepad, on your phone, or in an app, keep track of:

  • What your symptoms are
  • How you’ve dealt with them
  • Which things work or don’t work

This will help you in the future when you need to feel better.

Don’t ignore your symptoms or try to push through them and return to your regular life too fast. Let yourself recover completely from both the headache and the postdrome before you dive back into everything.

Migraine Hangover Prevention

During the earlier phases of the migraine -- prodrome, aura, and headache -- make sure you stay hydrated and try to do some light stretches if possible.

Avoid anything that makes your migraine worse, like overstimulation or trying to do too much too fast.

Of course, one of the best ways to prevent the postdrome phase is to avoid a migraine in the first place. How do you do that?

  • Try to have good sleep habits.
  • Eat healthy foods throughout the day.
  • Make exercise a priority.
  • Keep stress in check.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on August 10, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Neurology: “The Migraine Postdrome: An Electronic Diary Study.”

American Migraine Foundation: “The Science of Migraine – How to Deal With Postdrome.”

Ophthalmology: “Migraine Headaches: Diagnosis and Management.”

American Migraine Foundation: “Migraine Hangover.”

Mayo Clinic: “Migraines: Simple Steps to Head Off the Pain.”

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