Acute Migraine

Comprehensive Headache Center & Multiple Sclerosis Specialists located in Spokane Valley, WA

Acute Migraine

Acute Migraine services offered in Spokane Valley, WA

A migraine is a type of headache that is usually characterized by moderate to severe throbbing pain and may be accompanied by nausea, and/or light and sound sensitivity. There is also usually avoidance of exertion during an attack. They can vary in severity and frequency. An acute migraine may present as a sudden, severe head pain episode that requires interventions to ease discomfort. Wade Steeves MD, at Valley Neurology in Spokane Valley, Washington, specializes in treating people suffering from episodic migraines. To get help for your migraine headache, call the office or request an appointment online today.

Acute Migraine Q&A

What is an acute migraine?

Acute migraine refers to the sudden onset of head pain related to a migraine. A migraine is a neurological condition that causes moderate to severe throbbing on one side of the head. These attacks are associated with either nausea, light and sound sensitivity, or all three.


Acute pain from a migraine may last three hours or three days. For many people, an acute migraine is debilitating, affecting their ability to go about their daily routine.

What are the symptoms of an acute migraine?

Migraine symptoms usually occur in stages. However, not everyone with migraines goes through each one. Stages of an acute migraine include:


A few hours or a few days before your head pain starts, you may experience fatigue, difficulty sleeping, or muscle stiffness. These are prodrome stage symptoms of a migraine.


Aura refers to the sensory symptoms some people experience with migraines, such as seeing flashes of light. About 30% of migraine sufferers have an aura. Auras may consist of temporary visual, sensory, or language disturbance, lasting 5 to 60 minutes. They often occur right before the pain phase of a migraine, but after the prodrome.


Your acute migraine may cause moderate to severe head pain. You may also feel nauseous have cognitive slowing, and experience sensitivity to light, sound or smells.


Once your headache goes away, you may enter the postdrome stage. During this stage, you may feel depressed or fatigued. Many patients call this phase the “migraine hangover.”. 

What happens during an evaluation for an acute migraine?

Valley Neurology takes an individualized approach to acute migraine management. The details of your evaluation depend on the frequency and severity of your acute migraine headaches.


Your provider reviews your symptoms, medical history, and daily routine. They may request that you keep a headache diary before your appointment to identify migraine triggers. 


They perform a physical and neurological exam and may run diagnostic tests such as blood work or imaging to rule out other causes of your head pain.

What are the treatments for episodic migraine (less than 15 headache days per month)?

The goal of acute migraine treatment is to decrease the severity and duration of your head pain. No single treatment works for all, and your neurologist at Valley Neurology customizes your plan for the best outcomes.


Treatments for episodic migraine include prevention remedies and/or acute treatments.  Acute medications may include


  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications
  • Triptans
  • NSAIDS (Non Steroidal AntiInflammatory DrugS)
  • Gepants
  • DHE or DHE derivatives


Prevention medications for episodic migraine may include:

  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcitonin gene-related (CGRP) monoclonal antibodies
  • Antidepressants
  • Antiseizure drugs
  • Gepants


For people with chronic migraines (15 or more migraine headaches a month), Valley Neurology may recommend Botox® injections.


For help with your acute migraine, call Valley Neurology or schedule an appointment online today.