How long do migraines last is an important question. How long migraines last is dependent upon a number of factors, including the type of migraine involved and the person who is experiencing it.
In some cases, a migraineur may start to recover, but will experience what is called a “rebound attack”. This is comparable to an aftershock following an earthquake and results in a longer and usually more intense period of headache pain than they would have gone through otherwise. This is just one example of the items which can affect how long a migraine episode will last. Continued exposure to triggering factors (bright lights, loud noises, cigarette smoke) can also increase the length of migraines.
Some individuals suffer from chronic migraines which never go away entirely. They just go through periods of more and less intense pain. For these unfortunate individuals, feeling “normal” is a rare occurrence.
On the other end of the scale are those who suffer from ocular migraines. These can seriously affect the vision in one eye, but may or may not be accompanied by headache pain and only last approximately a half an hour on the average.
In the case of what are referred to as classic migraines, which can often begin with an aura prior to the actual onset of headache pain, the attack can last up to 48 hours. For what are called common migraines, which do not usually include auras, an episode can last up to three or four days.
Having said all of this, there are other factors to consider when measuring the length of a migraine headache. While the actual pain and any visual dysfunction associated with migraines may have passed or at least diminished, many sufferers continue to experience lingering after-effects. These are described as feeling “foggy-headed” or hung-over and they don’t appear to be related to any medications the sufferer had taken, since these symptoms have also occurred in those who have taken no medicines at all. So, for the sake of accuracy, the length of time these after-effects last should probably be added to the total time of the actual episode.
Being attuned to the early signs of an impending migraine episode can also have a bearing on its length. If steps are taken early enough, the length as well as the severity can be lessened.