The Phases of Migraines: Prodrome

Migraines are a type of headache that causes moderate to severe pulsating or throbbing pain on one side of the head. They can last from a few hours up to three days. Symptoms associated with them are nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and sound. There are four main phases of a migraine, and prodrome is the first.


Woman with curly hair and glasses with both hands on head, headache, migraines, migraine research

The Prodrome phase can mark the beginning stages of a migraine attack. It can last for a few hours or last for a few days. Though most people will experience prodrome, not everyone will experience it before a migraine. Prodrome symptoms vary for each person. They can include mood changes, from feeling depressed and irritable, to trouble focusing.

Other symptoms are fatigue, sensitivity to light and sound, insomnia, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, and muscle stiffness, especially in the neck and shoulders. Ones specific to the prodrome phase of migraine include yawning, cravings for certain foods, and frequent urination.

The prodrome phase precedes the aura, headache, and postdrome phases. If you can recognize the symptoms in the early phases, you can take rescue medication along avoid further triggers avoided to help reduce symptoms.

Migraine Types

Migraines are a neurological condition with many types:

  • Migraine with Aura– A series of sensory and visual changes such as seeing black dots and zig zags to tingling numbness on one side of the body, or an inability to speak clearly.
  • Migraine without Aura– Symptoms of migraine without the visual disturbances.
  • Migraine without Head Pain– Dizzying aura, nausea, and vomiting, but no head pain.
  • Hemiplegic Migraine– Weakness, loss of sensation, or pins and needles sensation on one side of the body.
  • Retinal Migraine– Temporary loss of vision in one eye due to headache.
  • Chronic Migraine– When you have headaches 15 or more days per month.
  • Ice Pick Headaches– Sudden, intense, sharp pain.
  • Cluster Headaches– Burning pain around and above eyes and temples that moves toward the back of your head.
  • Cervicogenic headache– Pain in your head is caused by pain in your neck.
Prodrome symptoms, migraine research, male with head in one hand.

Migraines can be debilitating. We must learn more about them so advanced treatments can be discovered. As a patient with migraines, your experiences are the key to ensuring improvements in healthcare for this condition are improved. To learn more about how you can get involved in the migraine clinical research studies here at Charlottesville Medical, call (434) 817-2442, or visit our website.