How Long Does a Silent Migraine Last?

Ask a Doctor

My uncle has what he calls “silent migraines,” and they will knock him out for nearly a whole day sometimes. How long do silent migraines last?

Doctor’s Response

Technically, a “silent migraine” is not a type of migraine, but a phase of a migraine attack. Typically, migraines have a prodrome (symptoms that occur before the attack), aura (about 25% of migraine patients experience aura), headache, and postdrome (“hung over” feeling).

“Silent migraine” describes a migraine attack without a headache. Other names for a silent migraine include acephalgic migraine, amigranous migraine, migraine aura without headache, and migraine equivalent.

Headache pain from a migraine can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours, but in a silent migraine, this pain is absent. The prodrome phase can occur hours to as much as a day before the migraine attack. The aura phase of a migraine typically lasts 5 to 20 minutes, and very rarely over an hour. The postdrome may last up to a day.

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Bajwa, MD, Zahid H and R Joshua Wootton, MDiv, PhD. Patient education: Migraines in adults (Beyond the Basics). 5 October 2018. 2 January 2019 . Silent Migraine. 2 January 2019 .