How Long Can a Migraine Last & How to Get Rid of it?

Migraines are so powerful headaches that often occur with nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. As per The National Headache Foundation, it is estimated that 28 million Americans get migraines and it is more in women than in men.

Read below to know about how long can a migraine last and also know about some of the ways to get rid of it.

How Long Can a Migraine Last?

How Long Can a Migraine Last?

When we talk about how long migraines can last, it could be said that the length of migraine generally varies. As per The National Headache Foundation, most migraines last around 4 hours to 72 hours. However, some of the individuals may have migraines for a shorter time and some may have them for longer.

The duration of migraine usually depends on what type of migraine one has and how one treats the symptoms of migraine.

  • An optical migraine which causes visual disturbances like zigzags or blind spots, or blurred vision usually in one eye, and no headache pain; would last for around one or two hours.
  • Classic migraines which generally begin with a warning sign or aura and can be quite painful and may last for one or two days.
  • Common migraines which do not have auras and when the pain in your head may be only on one side, may last at least 3-4 days.

It must be mentioned that when migraine duration is longer than 3-4 days then it is called status migrainous and it requires an emergency medical attention as it increases the risk of stroke.

How to Get Rid of Migraine?

Let us talk about some of the ways to get rid of migraine.

  1. Getting Rid of Migraine With Medicines:

    Generally migraines can be treated by two types of medications. One is to relieve pain when you get the migraine and the other is to stop or prevent migraines before they occur. Let us know about them below.

    1. Treatments to Relieve Pain in Migraine:

      • Over-The-Counter medicines usually work well for some people. The primary ingredients include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine. It is always essential for you to remain careful while you are taking OTC pain medicines as sometimes they can also add to your headache. If you use them more then you can get rebound headaches or become dependent on them. In case you take any over-the-counter pain relievers more than thrice in a week then it is time for you to see your doctor. You can take his or her prescription medications that may be in fact more effective.
      • In case you have symptoms of nausea in migraines then your doctor may also prescribe you with medications accordingly.
      • Migraine treatments also include prescription medicines that were developed originally for depression, epilepsy or high blood pressure and these all can often prevent future attacks.
    2. Medicines to Prevent Migraines:

      Keep a note that if you take the preventive medicines at the first sign of a migraine then they may stop the process that causes the migraine pain. These medications can also prevent or stop the headache itself. They generally work by narrowing the blood vessels of the brain and bringing them back to normal and by relieving the throbbing pain.

  2. Hormone Therapy to Relieve Migraine:

    Woman, whose migraines are associated with their menstrual periods, may find relief with hormone therapy so as to regulate how often they have a menstrual period.

  3. Biofeedback to Get Rid of Migraine:

    There is one more way to get rid of migraine and that is biofeedback. This technique actually helps people learn to recognize stressful situations triggering migraines. If the headache begins slowly, many individuals can make use of biofeedback for stopping the attack before it becomes completely blown.

  4. Magnetic Stimulation:

    TMS or a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator is a device that goes on the back of the head at the beginning of a migraine with its aura. This actually sends a pulse of magnetic energy to the part of the brain which may stop or reduce the pain in migraine.

  5. Home Remedies to Get Rid of Migraine:

    1. Relax at a Quiet and Dark Place and Perform Relaxation Techniques:

      Sensitivity to sound and light is one of the most common symptoms of migraine. You need to get away from such things if possible, especially when you are having migraines. This would aid you in relieving migraine pain and can also alleviate stress.

      Simply lie down and pay attention to your breathing. Go for slow and deep breaths from your diaphragm. Feel that your stomach rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale.

      This can actually help you relax.

      Deep breathing and relaxation exercises can help shorten and relieve migraine attacks. They also help in preventing migraines from happening. Some individuals find that relaxation techniques like meditation and massage also helps release the tension they feel in their neck, jaw or face. If you can release tension then your migraine won’t be as severe or long lasting.

    2. Try Caffeine to Find Relief:

      One more home remedy for migraine could be a cup of coffee. Many OTC pain relievers contain caffeine as it can enhance the effects of the medication. Just make very much sure that you do not drink too much. This is because drinking more than a cup of coffee could set you up for a caffeine withdrawal headache at a later time.

      Individuals with migraines who use caffeine more than 3 days in a week may develop a dependency on the caffeine. This can in turn cause more headaches. So, moderation is the key with caffeine.

    3. Cold and Hot Therapy Would Help:

      Temperature therapy has a wonderful power of healing. Ice pack can help when you have a migraine headache. Some people find enough relief from cold therapy while some people find a heating pad or hot shower to be pretty therapeutic while the migraine attacks.

      Cold and hot therapy can very effectively and safely compliment your medications.

    4. Avoid Diet That Would Trigger Migraines:

      There are specific foods which would trigger migraines. Foods like chocolate and cocoa products, aged cheese, aspartame or an artificial sweetener, hot dogs, sausages, pepperoni, red wine and other alcoholic beverages, caffeine, pickles, olives etc are the common triggers of migraines. Avoiding these foods would help you avoid migraines.


People usually seem to have fewer migraines by eating on a regular schedule and by getting enough rest. Moreover, regular exercise also helps to some extent. We also discussed about several ways to get rid of migraines. Well! It is very true that many individuals do get relief in their migraine from several treatments. However, in case your headaches persist longer then you should seek medical assistance from an expert neurologist or a headache specialist. Make a serious note that you should not self treat migraines in case they are unusually long or if you are having them for the first time.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 5, 2017

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