It can last anywhere from a few hours to more than a day after the headache goes away. Postdromes don’t always come, but experts believe they do 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.
So how do you know if you’re having a postdrome? Symptoms vary, but you might be:
- Unable to concentrate
- In a general bad mood
People say they feel drained or washed out -- that’s the part that may feel like a hangover.
You might also notice physical symptoms, like:
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Stiff neck
- Sensitivity to light
What to Do in the Moment
Once a postdrome has begun, it’s important to practice what’s called good headache hygiene.
Do you notice your postdrome is worse when you look at a screen? Stay off your phone or laptop.
You can also try:
- Ice packs
- Heating pads
It can be a good idea to keep a headache diary. On a pad of paper, or 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 normal life too fast. Let yourself recover completely from both the headache and the postdrome before you dive back into everything.
How to Prevent Them (or Ease Them)
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?