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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 most mild of migraine episodes still has me dealing with postdrome for hours and hours after the head pain and nausea are gone.

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.

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).

I didn’t much 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.

Sometimes I am just plain tired of talking about dealing with migraine.  My loved ones are much 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.


  • evary
    3 years ago

    Hi I too experience this muscle weakness and pain but I have attributed this to the Maxalt. I also am beginning to suspect that the Maxalt may be causing muscle twitching all over my body, which I have now had for 6 years. I have been taking Maxalt for at least that long, possibly longer, but took Imittex for about 20 years before that.

  • Cindy
    6 years ago

    I’ve been taking imetrex for years to help with my migraines. The last several months I started getting muscles/joint/sensitive skin pain and chest tightening after taking it. My neurologist took me off and put me on Zolmitriptan. I’m afraid to take it so I suffer with these stupid daily migraines.

  • Varvara
    6 years ago

    I have chronic migraines, so I’m always experiencing some weird, and often times, completely new symptoms. I have noticed that the weather is my main trigger for muscle weakness. I can feel a hail storm coming and am typically forced to the ground because I can’t move. Wind also does this to me, with the added bonus of internal shaking (as if the wind were blowing through my body – rattling and irritating every nerve in it). Just recently, my neck was hurting more than usual. So, I took a Naproxen (my prescription meds are clonazapam and tizanidine daily), which I try to avoid because of stomach issues with NSAIDS. But, it was amazing. After I took it, it felt like all the nerves in my body relaxed and were less irritated. Like all great treatments, though, it didn’t work the next time.

    I, too, get tired of talking about migraines; however, I get tired of talking about anything. Have there been any studies indicating a correlation between the physical act of talking (moving the jaw) and possibly irritating the Trigeminal nerve, which in turn could trigger a migraine (and, thus the reason interaction with others can be so difficult and tiring)?

  • sgirl
    6 years ago

    I am the same way. My migraines were once a month for 1-4 days but now every couple of weeks. I am so sore afterwards and my skull physically hurts to touch. I take Naratriptan and they want me to try Frova. The doctors seem to be clueless and really don’t seem to listen when we talk about the frequency or changes. Does anyone else have a weird burning in the side of their head before and after the migraine for several days?

  • usmcmom
    6 years ago

    I thought it was just me. I too take Zomig, which helps my Migraine. I have noticed that the day of my migraine and the following day I feel like I have been hit by a truck. My body aches and I am so tired. It almost feels like a horrible flu, without any sickness. I mentioned this to my doctor at my visit last month, but he didn’t seem to concerned. I am relieved to see that is not just me and that other people have the same problem, I will not give up my Zomig though, it saves the day when I do get a migraine.

  • Lukesmom
    6 years ago

    I’ve read the posts with great interest! I take Maxalt for Migraines and have been noticing the weakness and extreme tiredness the next day like several of you have mentioned! So I spend another day in bed because of Migraine. Since I have chronic Migraine that means I might at best have one or two “good” days a week!! However on my weak days I am not in pain and can manage to do light tasks as long as I can return to my bed to rest in between easy tasks like one load of laundry or cooking a light meal for my husband and me. I’ve learned what I can and can’t do and make things easy on myself on those weak days. I just listen to my body and let it tell me the amount of rest I need on those days of postdrome. Fortunately my husband and other family members outside of my house understand my postdrome day and allow me to recover from my Migraine day. Bless all of you fellow Migraineurs!!

  • Malgal
    6 years ago

    I also take zolmitriptan (Zomig) and have always been aware of these side effects. However, I look at the allodynia as a positive effect – I know the triptan has been absorbed and has started to work if I feel the allodynia. And the allodynia for me is all over. It hurts to drink a coffee (burns my throat), it hurts to shower etc. As for muscle pain, I experience all pain more severely when I take my triptan. If I have sore muscles from having exercised, this is exacerbated. I have chronic hip, back, knee and toe pain and these too get worse when I take my triptan. However, I will take those aches and pains over a migraine any day. Zomig works 9 out of 10 times for me. Many of these effects are listed in the PIs for the drugs.

  • Marsha
    6 years ago

    What an interesting post. I’ve used Zomig very successfully for about 10 years. In the past 6 months or so, I’ve noticed that my muscles become very achy, and my body gets a little “creaky,” after taking a pill — like I’ve just had a really tough workout. I’m fairly fit and active, and I’ve never experienced significant side effects from Zomig. For me, I believe these symptoms come from the Zomig, and not from the migraine itself. I’m pretty sure of it. (To compare: it’s tougher for me to distinguish whether my more general feelings of fatigue come from the Zomig or the migraine itself — I think both contribute to the tiredness I sometimes feel with a migraine.) Thanks for your post!

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