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Muscle Weakness During the Postdrome Stage of Migraine

Migraine postdrome can last many hours (sometimes over a day!), and boy, oh boy, have I been feeling that lately.

In the old days (I sound like I’m reminiscing fondly, don’t I?), I only dealt with marked postdrome symptoms after having really severe migraine pain. Nowadays, things are different, and it seems that even the mildest of migraine episodes still have me dealing with postdrome for hours and hours after the head pain and nausea are gone.

What did my postdrome feel like?

A few weeks ago, I had a run-of-the-mill migraine. Happily, it went away soon after I took my naratriptan, and I went on about my day, not thinking much about the attack since it was quick to arrive and quick to leave. Sure, I was a little more tired than I normally would have been for that time of day, but I was fine overall. The most severe symptoms only lasted for a few hours.

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The next day I was still feeling it, though, but not in a rebound headache kind of way. Instead, I was feeling it all over my body, throughout my muscles and bones. Due to allodynia, my torso felt slightly bruised, and my legs and arms felt the way they do after I do a really intense swimming workout (which I haven’t done in years — let’s just state the facts here).

Which simple chores were difficult?

I didn’t notice the achy, tired muscles until I went to do the laundry. We have a stackable washer/dryer at our house. Once the washer has washed the clothes, you bend down low to pull the wet heap out of the washer and transfer it to the dryer, which is about head height. Let me just tell you that pulling clothes from the washer and transferring them to the dryer was just about the hardest thing I did that day. The sensation in my arms vacillated between numbness and achiness. I love exercising, but I keep things slow and steady: I’m a walker. But back in the days when I was a swimmer in much better physical shape, I would occasionally swim so much or have to do weight training that would leave my arms feeling totally exhausted and spent the next two days.

Why does migraine have to steal another day?

Sometimes I am just plain tired of talking about dealing with migraine. My loved ones are relieved when I tell them that my medication has worked and the migraine pain is gone. The next day when I’m struggling to lift heavy laundry out of the washer, I don’t feel like saying, “Guess what? The pain may be gone, but the migraine hasn’t left me entirely!” It makes me feel as if the migraine is stealing an extra healthy day from me. I’d rather have muscle weakness than a terrible migraine headache, for sure, but it’s still frustrating to be coping with the migraine’s phases a day after the worst is over.

Have you ever suffered from profound muscle weakness as a symptom of migraine? During what migraine stage did the weakness feel most profound?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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