Migraines and my IQ

Brain in stormy cloudscape and lightning - conceptual of brainst


Migraines dumbify the brain.

Not a surprising statement when you consider the symptoms of a migraine; pain, mental fog and so forth. I just did one of those standard IQ tests and got a 131, which is slightly lower than my usual which is anywhere from 135 to 140 depending on the test and my desire to focus on it. I have a moderate migraine right now, and the last time I took a test with a migraine it was around the same. Obviously, if I did one with an acute migraine, it would be around 80, but who would want to torment themselves like that? Gods, a verbal test would even be worse.

I believe the effects on verbal fluency, concentration, memory, and processing speed would dramatically affect our scores. I just have never done a test with a whopping acute migraine because, well, just reading would be a challenge. It is like thinking through sludge. I tried one time, but my capacity to just focus on the question itself was severely skewed. I stared at the first question like it was quantum physics. So I can only ever even do this experiment in the 6 to 7 moderate pain scale range Without severe brain fog or confusion.

Nevertheless, with a mild to a moderate migraine, my score does drop to in the lower range of 130 rather than the higher range of 130’s.

Now, this doesn’t seem much of a dramatic change. But here is the thing. I don’t recall ever having an IQ test without a migraine at some level. I did that MENSA free test and got 137… and I had a migraine in the range of about a 6 pain level. And the first one I ever did was in university in a psychology class, when I had a migraine and on that one, it was 140 with a triptan treated one. So I have no clue what my actual IQ even IS. Maybe that is just what I will have to call my moderate to mild Functional Migraine IQ. Whereas it would be substantially lower with an acute 8 or 9 migraine.


So sure migraines affect our tesing scores.  I was terrified when I took some classes for work it would affect my ability to test, if I had a migraine at that time, since all that knowledge is hard to come to the surface at your beck and call, not to mention typo hell and useing the wrong words, and the wrong tense. It worked out fine. I don’t know why I worried so much about it.  Then there is that migraine fog, where it is like thinking through a brain of pudding… hard to be critical and rational when you can even read a sentence and have it make sense.  Fortunately, I seem to still test well if I am lucky enough to not be in severe pain or that real confused migraine state.  Usually.  I don’t interview well though. Verbally my skills go out the window. I can’t focus enough to think on the spot for answers to verbal questions in a conversation.


The reason I wanted to see what my score was with a migraine is that some migraines completely dumbify me. It is like a brain shut down.  I can forget routine tasks. Forget what I am doing it While I am doing it. Get in this sort of confusional stage where it is hard to comprehend what people are even saying to me. I wanted to see the Impact in a Number. But, of course, I wouldn’t even be able to take an IQ test with a severe migraine let alone with the severe symptoms.


Check out this post on a study that shows the impact cognitively on migraine. So you can see from this with these sorts of cognitive tests… we do Not perform well. So this research was done and we can actually see the areas that are impacted.




  1. There is something called an emotional quotient that counts just as much as intelligence in functionality. Some of your examples with high IQ's I am sure had very low EQ's!! (Hitler ??!!??)

    I wonder if your EQ suffers when you are in pain the same way your IQ does??? I definitely get less and less empathetic as the pain grows more and more, and slide down the age scale to a crying 3 year old with a booboo if the pain gets too bad to handle!


  2. I am a migraine sufferer with an official I.Q. of >160 (we'll leave it at that…). I made a point of being tested during migraines (some last for as long as two weeks) to try and determine the effects in some concrete manner.

    My average in-migraine test score was 102, which was much higher than anticipated. However, naturally, the range was quite large: 90~140, tending towards the lower end.

    Internet testing has been surprisingly accurate to my official results as well, within just a few points in most cases! Sadly the tests do not evolve rapidly enough to be meaningful over multiple retests.

    I have a migraine now, hence the post… sorry if it is incoherent…


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