How long does a migraine really last for?

Hi Everyone,

I got a migraine that started Monday and it’s now Thursday, and it has still not gone away. It’s been more than 72 hours and I’m worried. On Wedesday it gave me a little break and this morning I felt fine until it came back again after a few hours. I did start and stop the BCP last week and stopped Effexor a week and a half ago, so I’m not sure what is causing it…
I can’t start Paxil until this horrible migraine is gone though…
Any thoughts? :frowning:


Hi Emma,

I don’t think you should worry about this extended headache at all. It’s VERY common to have this occur when stopping either an SSRI or SNRI, and especially Effexor. Don’t forget you more or less stopped cold turkey and I think it’s to be expected. Today is the first day my headache has eased off somewhat since stopping Effexor and it’s been a solid week of head pain. It could also be the Paxil too contributing. I’m not certain. Hang in there. I think you should start the Paxil immediately. It might even help to kill the headache.

Scott 8)

Hi Emma,

How odd. I had a bad migraine that started on Sunday morning and was still going today, Thursday. It seems to be easing off but is still there. I have not been withdrawing from anything. My worse one usually last only two days, 3 at the most. I am eating painkillers like smarties at the moment!


Hi Christine,

I’m eating painkillers like candy too :lol: Have you ever tried Triptans? I have some but been to afraid to try them yet.
Are you on any meds at the moment? I’m starting Paxil tonight…



I had a migraine headache for a week a few months ago. I thought it would never end but it did go eventually. Weirdly it responded to cranial osteopathy. I take all alternative treatments with a pinch of salt but I walked in there desperate and in agony and walked out headache free. Might simply have been that the therapy is very relaxing and that broke the cycle.

Just wanted to say watch out for over-using painkillers. I don’t know if you are aware of rebound headaches, but sometimes you can prolong the headache by over using medication. Neurlogists tend to advise using painkillers as sparingly as possible to avoid the possiblility of rebound.

This is from wikipedia:

Medication overuse headaches (MOH), also known as rebound headaches usually occur when analgesics are taken frequently to relieve headaches. Rebound headaches frequently occur daily and can be very painful and are a common cause of chronic daily headache. They typically occur in patients with an underlying headache disorder such as migraines or tension headaches that “transforms” over time from an episodic condition to chronic daily headache due to more and more frequent analgesic use.

Years ago before the MAV started I experienced migraine daily for a year. I hadn’t been told about rebound and was taking painkillers every day. When I stopped the painkillers the headaches stopped.


AFter stopping Effexor I had a headache for many days straight. I thought maybe it was because I stopped Verapamil as well which seemed to be helping my headaches, but it may very well of been the effexor withdrawal. I have been even more dizzy too.

Hi Hannah,

Thanks for looking out for us. I’m aware of rebound headaches, and I usually try not to take that many pain killers but this time around I had no choice…How are you doing by the way? Are you going to try a new med?

Lisa, are you going to try something new too? or are you going to plan to get pregnant to see if that can make it better?
I’m moving onto Paxil today and I’m scared…


Emma - I surprised myself by sticking with the pregnancy decision (I really thought I was all talk), but the more I thought about it the more it makes sense for me right now. I do hope that I can get pregnant in a timely manner because I have a mild case of polycystic ovarian syndrome w/ irregular periods (sorry guys for what may be too much info). will see what happens. I wish you the best of luck on Paxil. I wonder if our horrible headaches are due to going off Effexor - probably.

I am on day seven but mine comes and goes and the pain is extremely nagging but thank god not too severely painful i am in jersey and the weather here just su*ks the pressure outside is unbearable and it is almost that time of the month


I am on day 7 now too. Emma, I tried Triptans 20 years ago, they made my legs go heavy and my throat close up. Also, the pain came back a couple of hours later (not much more effective than painkillers for me). Also, I read that you shouldnt take triptans with basilar migraine so I never took them again. No, not on meds yet, waiting for the effexor from the GP.

After trying about 10 of the preventatives years and years ago, I just kept on painkillers for all these years (less side effects :smiley: