Types of Migraine

Migraine is a prevalent neurological disorder. It is labeled as the third most pervasive disease and recognized as the sixth most disabling disease in the whole world. Migraine can be so severe that it can incapacitate a person anytime and anywhere causing impaired functionality and productivity.

Migraine attacks reduce functionality and productivity

Majority of patients experience it once or twice a month. However, there are also people who experience the pain of chronic migraine on almost a daily basis, or at least 15 – 20 days a month. Only a sufferer would know the agony of the horrible pain it offers. It is not enough to know the causes, signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of migraine as discussed in a previous post, it is also important to be aware of its types.

What is migraine?

It is a complex brain network disorder producing recurrent episodes of headache with symptom-free intervals. Moreover, all migraines are not the same. It is possible to have symptoms different from other people.

What are the types of migraine?

Migraine is broadly divided into two categories:

  1. Migraine with aura (classic migraine)
  2. Migraine without aura

Migraine with aura

It is a type of migraine that gives a “warning sign” called aura before the onset of the headache. The causes of migraine with aura are still unknown. Approximately, 1 in 3 people who suffer from migraine have migraine with aura.

Symptoms of Migraine with aura

The aura or “warning sign” is generally a visual disturbance such as seeing flash lights or blind spots. The aura can last for 5 minutes up to an hour, depending on the severity of the episode. One’s speech can also be affected in the event of an aura.

Some general symptoms of aura include:

  • Temporary blindness or seeing blind spots
  • Seeing coloured spots or zig-zag patterns
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Numbness
  • Tingling sensation like pin-piercing sensation
  • Confusion or disorientation

The episode of migraine with aura begins as a dull headache that soon grows into a throbbing pain. The headache and visual disturbance get worse with physical activity. The headache may last 4 hours and can extend up to 3 days in severe cases.

The symptoms typically get worse with physical activity

Migraine without aura

This is the most common type among the types of migraine. Here, there are no warning signs and the sufferer directly faces the wrath of each episodic symptoms. Just like migraine with aura, the time span of the attack is quite similar – 4 hours to 3 days.

Symptoms of migraine without aura?

  • The headache usually presents on one side of the head
  • Throbbing pain
  • Pain worsens with any physical activity
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Phonophobia (sensitivity to sound)
Photophobia is a symptom of migraine without aura

Other types of migraine

  • Silent migraine – Here, there is no headache. However, one could experience an aura in this type of migraine.
  • Hemiplegic migraine – As the name suggests, paralysis or weakness following numbness occurs for a short period in one side of the body during the episode.
  • Abdominal migraine – There is not much research about this type but it typically shows symptoms associated with the abdomen like abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.
  • Vestibular migraine – Here, the primary symptoms are dizziness or imbalance lasting for minutes up to days.
  • Ophthalmic migraine – This type is also termed retinal migraine. It is associated with short-lived visual disturbances or vision loss in one eye. The dull ache originates from the back of the eye and extends to the crown of the head.
  • Migraine with brainstem aura – This type of migraine is connected to hormonal changes in the body. It is associated with symptoms like confusion, dizziness, and loss of balance.
  • Menstrual migraine – Here, the migraine is linked to the menstrual cycle of women.  

A word from Healthfacts to you

There are many types of migraine. Interestingly, there is even a type where there is no headache. Do you know which one that is?

Till next time, stay informed and stay healthy!


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