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Difficulty Concentrating

Migraine can impact many areas of life, including the ability to concentrate or think. This migraine symptom can take a toll at home, work, and school, and reduce quality of life.1

Difficulty concentrating may take many forms, including:

  • Trouble reading or remembering what you just read
  • Trouble writing or speaking
  • Trouble thinking or connecting your thoughts
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Loss of interest
  • Working slower or making mistakes

For many people, trouble concentrating is worst during prodrome or postdrome phases. Prodrome is the first, or pre-migraine, stage. Postdrome is the last stage of migraine. However, some people may have difficulty concentrating without feeling any head pain.1-2 This is sometimes called a silent migraine.

In the 2018 Migraine In America survey, more than 4,300 people said head pain and difficulty concentrating were 2 symptoms they most often felt during migraine attacks.

How is difficulty concentrating during migraine treated?

Treatment during the early signs of an attack may help reduce the time you spend unable to think. Usually, treating the migraine itself improves any symptoms you feel.

Many treatments for migraine exist. However, what works best for one person may not help another. Some trial and error may be needed to find the best treatments and preventions for you.

Poll

Tracking your migraine symptoms

Keeping a record of your migraine symptoms may help you figure out patterns and triggers to your attacks. It may be helpful to record such things as:

  • When and where your pain or symptoms start
  • Whether the pain spreads to your entire head or neck
  • How well and how quickly acute treatment helps reduce the pain or other symptoms
  • How long your pain or symptoms last
  • Whether you experience other symptoms such as vision changes, nausea, or light sensitivity

Community experiences of migraine and difficulty concentrating

Migraine.com advocates often write about their experiences with difficulty concentrating due to migraine. Some people may notice this symptom as a warning sign during the prodrome phase or during the postdrome phase also referred to as the migraine hangover. Another term often described with this migraine symptom is brain fog which can impact one’s ability to communicate during a migraine.

Written by: Jessica Johns Pool | Last review date: December 2019
  1. American Migraine Foundation. The Timeline of a Migraine Attack. Available at https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/timeline-migraine-attack/. Accessed 12/16/19.
  2. Giffin NJ, et al. The migraine postdrome: An electronic diary study. Neurology. 2016 Jul 19;87(3):309-13. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002789. Epub 2016 Jun 22.