Anxious man climbing on hanging rings that change from red to blue symbolizing a change.

Postdrome: Is it Really the End?

Postdrome is the last phase of a migraine attack that can last for hours or even days. It is also referred to as the migraine hangover. During the postdrome phase, people experience fatigue, inability to concentrate, inability to comprehend things, mood swings, and a general feeling of malaise.

Postdrome and an endless cycle of pain

I suffer from chronic, intractable migraine so for me the postdrome is almost never the end. It serves as a pit stop on the way to my next inevitable attack cycle. I liken it to Tarzan swinging from one vine, or migraine phase, to the next in a seemingly endless cycle of pain and whatever else migraine wants to throw at me. You see for me postdrome is not the ending, but I’m thankful that for many migraineurs it is just that.

Longing for relief in between attacks

The sky starts to brighten up and eventually the sun comes out again once the storm has passed. That’s another thing that I liken to postdrome. I envy those who have such an experience, but this is migraine disease we are talking about. Migraine doesn’t like to fit neatly into the box. It likes to throw us curve balls and keep us off balance (sometimes literally)!

It’s been so long since I’ve had what many would call a standard migraine attack that it’s almost like they never happened at all. I would love to have relief between my attacks that I could embrace and even enjoy, but migraine these past twelve months just will not let that become a reality. It is nice to at least have a brief reprieve before heading into prodrome where the whole cycle will start again.

Preparing for the next migraine attack

It seems like a record playing with a scratch where one melodic line plays over and over again until you bump the turntable. Do I take time to count my abortive medication? Absolutely. Am I anxious that I may run out of medication? Sometimes, but I know above all else I have to be prepared for the next phases of the attack cycle.

I keep my ice packs prepared along with my heat packs and essential oils. Everyone knows where my medications are in case I need assistance getting to them if the attack is severe. I make sure my support network is in place as much as I can. I have to stay prepared. I never know if I will cycle through a migraine attack quickly or not so I take advantage of the good days to set myself up for the inevitable bad days to come.

Enjoying the good days when possible

I may be in bed with ice packs and heat packs for days depending on what makes me feel a bit better during that attack. During postdrome, I still feel the harshness of the lights and the thought of food makes me queasy. I can’t have an intelligent conversation even if I felt like having one because I’m constantly grappling for thoughts and words. It’s awful.

I just don’t have a sense of wellness, and that makes me more on edge around others. I lose my patience more quickly, and it takes very little time on a task before I become frustrated. The worst part is knowing that my reprieve will be small and I’ll be cycling into prodrome soon. It’s a sad way to live, but I also know it won’t always be this way. I will have good days and enjoy the sunshine, my family, and the life that goes on all around me every day. I am a migraineur and I live on hope, always.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

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.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.