In the simplest terms, a migraine is a severe headache. However, the duration of time this headache lasts is an entire topic of discussion by itself. Read on to know how a typical migraine builds up and how long each phase lasts.

A girl suffering from migraine

 A migraine is a type of moderate to severe headache that is normally felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head. It is a common health condition that affects women more than men. Other symptoms of migraine include nausea, vomiting and enhanced sensitivity to light and sound. The condition of migraine can be divided into five distinct phases as described below. Depending on the phase of migraine, it can lasts anywhere between 4-72 hours. 


  1. Warning (premonitory) phase  - 1 to 24 hours
  2. Aura phase  - 5 minutes to 1 hour
  3. Headache or main phase – Few hours to few days
  4. Resolution phase - 1 hour to 2 hours
  5. Recovery (postdrome) phase - One to two days

 Some of these phases may last only a brief period of time, whereas others can be much longer. When the migraine continues more than 72 hours, it is called status migrainosus. This condition requires an immediate medical attention since it increases the chance of getting stroke. Each of these phases is associated with a definite set of symptoms. Knowing the symptoms would help predict the exact phase of migraine attack. This information will in turn assist in better diagnosis and treatment of migraine.