Understanding the Phases of a Migraine Attack

A migraine episode can have up to four phases. Not all migraine sufferers experience each of these phases, and one attack can be different from the next.

  1. Prodrome phase: this first phase can begin hours or days before the others. About 30-40% of migraine sufferers will experience this "pre-headache" phase, with symptoms including fatigue, neck pain, mood changes, and difficulty concentrating.

  2. Aura phase: experienced by approximately ¼ of migraine sufferers, the aura phase consists primarily of visual symptoms. A visual aura can appear as blind spots, wavy lines, flashes of light, or even partial loss of sight.

  3. Headache phase: the headache phase of a migraine attack can be the most painful part. The headache is typically on one side of the head and can feel as if it's pulsing or throbbing. During this phase, a person may also experience extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and smell, as well as nausea or vomiting.

  4. Postdrome phase: the final phase of a migraine episode is often referred to as the migraine "hangover". Postdrome symptoms include fatigue, poor concentration, and mood changes such as depression.

Natural Migraine Relief

More and more people are turning to upper cervical chiropractic care as a solution to their migraines. Upper cervical care focuses on the topmost vertebra in the spine, the atlas. A misalignment of the atlas can contribute to migraines in several ways, including impairing brainstem function and disturbing normal flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). While the mechanisms behind a migraine episode are not 100% clear, these can all be important factors, so it's critical to maintain normal function with proper atlas alignment.

Upper cervical care involves gentle, precise adjustments that serve to reposition the atlas so that normal function can be restored. Many migraine sufferers find that their attacks come less frequently or are much milder. Some patients report a complete disappearance of their symptoms. Contact us for your complimentary consultation to see if we can be a part of your migraine solution.


To schedule a complimentary consultation call our Littleton, CO office at 303-795-0389

If you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at


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Bachelor of Science Degree in Sports Science

Licensed Doctor of Chiropractic in the state of Colorado

Board Certified in Atlas Orthogonal

Dr. Lindsay Saggau DC,BCAO