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Migraine Brain Fog: No Joke

Migraine Brain Fog

Migraine brain fog is real and, fortunately, temporary. Migraine is being recognized more for being more than a headache, but that is taking time. As we learn and increase awareness, we have to have conversations about all the things that may impact the life of a person with migraine. However, during this stage of a migraine attack, one may feel anxious and exhausted at the same time. This is where empathy and compassion continue to be valuable in this migraine life.

What is Migraine Brain Fog

Migraine brain fog can be a part of the stages of a migraine. There are four stages and not all people go through all stages. Read more about the specifics in my post Migraines 101. The four stages are prodrome, aura, attack, and postdrome. The American Migraine Foundation explains that brain fog can “occur up to 48 hours before and up to 24 hours after head pain.” It is this brain fog that can actually serve as a sign to the individual that a migraine attack is about to occur. 

Person with migraine brain fog

In addition to affecting one prior to the pain, the American Migraine Foundation further explains that this brain fog can show up in what is commonly called the “migraine hangover.” For those of us who have experienced this, the term migraine hangover is a good analogy for what one endures. At first, a patient may feel relief that the pain is better. 

However, that may be followed by exhaustion and the inability to think at your best. Fortunately, this brain fog is temporary and does not change a person or their abilities. It is something that the person with migraine learns to deal with. It is time we identified brain fog as part of the migraine and gave the migraine patients time to move through all stages. 

How to Deal with Migraine Brain Fog

Sometimes, providing yourself grace and rest is the best thing you can do for your health. It is tempting to want to jump back in after an attack and perhaps even make up for lost time. However, it is very important that the person with migraine does not rush so much that they find themselves magnifying lingering symptoms or even pushing themselves back into an attack.

The brain fog may make you feel like you are in slow motion or can’t quite put your thoughts together. Remember this is something that can be typical for some as a part of their migraine experience and you do not have to be alarmed. With time and rest these symptoms will subside. If things continue or seem to worsen, checking in with your doctor is always a good idea.

My Personal Experience

As a teacher and mom, sitting out additional time does not feel like a good choice. However, I have learned the hard way that if I don’t give myself the time I need to rest, I will pay the price. That means if I am exhausted and can’t quite think yet, I need to take a little time to rest. Otherwise, I may push myself into another attack. So put on your eye mask if needed and let your body heal. Giving yourself a slower start back to your daily activities can also be helpful.

Then, you will be stronger in the days that follow. You can get into your normal routine as you come out of the fog. Mine includes hugging my boys and brewing my coffee, which I am stuck on Koa right now. As I do get back into my routine, I still have to remember that a migraine attack has just happened to be sure I avoid the trigger and to give myself grace. Beyond that you have a life to live and migraine does not get to steal that.

What does brain fog feel like? In my experience, I may be trying to put my thoughts together and know that what I am coming up with is not 100 percent. This can feel very discouraging and even paralyzing at times. The key is not to let it get you down or ruin your day. This is why giving yourself grace and moving forward at your own pace is valuable.

It isn’t your fault, and it is going to get better. It is short-lived in the grand scheme of things, and many will not even notice. These are just some of the fun or challenges of migraine life.

How Do I Explain Migraine Brain Fog to Others?

Honesty is the best policy here. There is no reason to feel ashamed. As mentioned, this is not the person living with migraines’ fault, and it is very short-lived. It should also be noted that brain fog does not mean an inability to do one’s daily responsibilities. This refers to some additional challenges. This is what makes people with migraines a group of people who learn to persevere and appreciate pain-free days.

So, share with family, friends, and coworkers that a migraine attack is approaching or the last stage of your migraine may slow you down a bit. However, you are committed to taking care of yourself and keeping them in the loop. You can also assure them that you will reach out if you need time to rest and ask for compassion, as this is a part of your life.

This makes you who you are, a migraine warrior. A very wise person shared that, and those words stuck with me. When you find those people, hold onto their words and friendships.

Stay Connected

Thank you for visiting migraineroad. Migraine can be an illness that isolates. Here, you will find resources and encouragement. Feel free to reach out through the contact page and join our Facebook Group. Migraine is a beast, but it can be contained.  

Check out my post on Tracking Migraine Attacks or Best Jobs for People with Migraine.


Although we strive to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the medical and health area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any medical or health-related decisions. For your health-related questions, please seek the advice of a licensed physician or any other qualified healthcare provider immediately.


Migraine, brain fog and memory loss: How they affect you. American Migraine Foundation. (2022b, November 29).,noting%20that%20they%20are%20common.

26 thoughts on “Migraine Brain Fog: No Joke”

  1. Fareeha Usman

    Migraine is really bad and brain fog is worst. I have experienced it few times. But thanks God this is not permanent

  2. I didn’t think there was a term for it!!! I’ve been dealing with migraines for years and never know the brain fog was a common symptom of it. I learned a lot from this post!

  3. Mrs. Marvelous Joy

    Wow! Great article, definitely helpful! Migraines are hard and brain fog is real, never seen it laid out like this before. Thank you for sharing!

  4. I have been fortunate enough to not experience migraine often but I’ve experienced brain fog often. This post is so insightful, thanks for this post.

    1. You’ve explained it in a way I’ve not been able to so thank you! It’s the worst and thankfully I have supportive people around but using this article I’ll be able to explain it better. Thank you

  5. Your hope is to support and encourage and that you do!!!
    I deal with some MS brain fog at times too. Not pleasant. It took me awhile to figure out that is what it was.
    I love that you talk about holding onto your people and their words. It’s a beautiful thing to find those people.
    Thank you as always for this!!!

  6. I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding around migraines so it’s great there is more and more awareness! Taking the time you need to get through it is so important.

  7. Your posts are so very helpful with those that suffer from migraines as well as those that don’t. It helps to understand all of the stages and what people go through before and after suffering from a migraine. I was not aware of the brain fog portion of these awful headaches!

  8. I always get this before my migraines, but never knew the term brain fog. I always learn such helpful information from your posts. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  9. For times like this, I can imagine being around people you trust really would be so valuable. Thank you for sharing! It really could be no joke.

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