In order to diagnose and characterize migraines well defined phases have been extrapolated to show the progression of each attack, even though each patient does not undergo an attack the same symptoms, length or severity. The stages provide an accurate description of a typical migraine attack (Anthony & Rickarby, 2009).
The first stage is known as the Premonitory Stage which is show physical and mental symptoms within the patient. Changes such as lethargy, a craving for sweet foods, changes in mood, sensation of thirst and neck stiffness can last for a period of one to twenty four hours. The second stage is known as the Aura stage and is only known to occur with 10% of migraineurs. If the patient undergoes the aura stage he will experience symptoms which will differentiate it from a non aura migraine. Such attacks have been known to last from 5 to 60 minutes. The main attack stage is where the aforementioned symptoms of migraine can be seen. These signs are typical in all patients and include a chronic headache which can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. The pain will be throbbing unilateral and may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting or other gastrointestinal symptoms such as gastric stasis. The final stage is known as the resolution or recovery or the postdrome stage.
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