Types of Migraines
There are different types of migraine based on the symptoms and causes.
(1) Migraine with an aura
This type of migraine is accompanied by an aura, which is a warning that a migraine attack is about to ensue. This type of migraine is associated with aura symptoms (mentioned above). There are three subtypes of migraines that have an aura:
Migraines with brainstem aura
This is a rare type of migraine that used to be known as basilar-type migraine. The cause of migraine with brainstem aura, as per experts, is Cortical spreading depression (CSD), a brain mechanism. It is accompanied by at least two of the following symptoms.
– Dysarthria (slurred speech)
– Vertigo (moving sensation)
– Diplopia (doubly vision)
– Tinnitus (ear ringing)
– Ataxia (unsteady walking)
– Syncope (decreased consciousness)
– Numbing of body parts especially limps
– Visual disturbances.
Ocular or retinal migraine
This rare type of migraine is caused by an eye condition leading to attacks of partial or total blindness or visual disturbances. This type of migraine attack is discomforting but is medically harmless and symptoms are temporary and reversible. A retinal migraine is diagnosed by a general physician or an optometrist that will find evidence of decreased blood flow to the eye.
This type of migraine is more common in women, those under the age of 40, those with family history, and individuals diagnosed with medical conditions such as lupus, sickle cell, giant cell arteritis, antiphospholipid syndrome, and epilepsy. Symptoms of ocular or retinal migraines include
– Partial or total vision loss in one eye lasting from 10-20 minutes
– Headaches that occur pre, during, and post a vision disturbance attack
This is a rare type of migraine that most commonly causes weakness on one side of the body. The definition of hemiplegia is the paralysis of one side of the body. Those who experience hemiplegic migraines complain of temporary weakness on one side of the body during their migraine attack. Along with one-sided body weakness, a hemiplegic migraine is accompanied by visual disturbances, speech difficulties, vertigo, tinnitus, and confusion. There are two types of hemiplegic migraines: Familial hemiplegic migraine and Sporadic hemiplegic migraine
(2) Migraine without an aura
This is the most common type of migraine that is not accompanied by an aura or warning sign. Migraine without aura is also called common migraine or hemicrania simplex. If this type of migraine is untreated it can last from 4 hours to three days. Symptoms of migraine without an aura include:
– Throbbing headache
– Nausea and vomiting
– Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
– Hyperosmia (sensitivity to smells)
– Phonophobia (sensitivity to sound)
(3) Chronic migraines
This is a type of migraine that causes debilitating symptoms and is diagnosed with individuals that have a migraine for 15 or more days per month. Symptoms of chronic migraines are similar to the symptoms mentioned above, but its distinguishable factors are frequency and severity.
(4) Vestibular migraine
This type of migraine is distinguishable in its symptoms – it is also called migrainous vertigo, migraine-related dizziness, vestibular migraine, or migraine with prominent vertigo. This is because those diagnosed with vestibular migraine experience a combination of the following symptoms:
– Balance difficulty.
A vestibular is diagnosed based on the following criteria:
– 5 or more episodes of migraine attacks
– History of migraine headaches
– Vestibular symptoms such as vertigo that last 5 minutes to 3 days
– Accompanied by other migraine common migraine symptoms
(5) Ophthalmoplegic migraine
This type of migraine also called neuralgia causes pain and weakness near the area of the eye. Some symptoms of this type of migraine include:
– Droopy eyelid
– Diplopia (double vision)
– Other visual disturbances are caused by eye changes.
Since these symptoms may indicate an emergency, immediate medical attention needs to be sought to rule out any dangerous conditions.
(6) Abdominal migraine
This type of migraine commonly affects children but can affect adults as well. There is not much that is medically known about an abdominal migraine – it is an idiopathic disorder. However, it is associated with the following symptoms:
– Stomach pain attacks lasting 2 hours to 3 days
– Nausea and vomiting
– No headache during attacks.
(7) Menstrual migraine
Women are more prone to experiencing migraine headaches than men – this is due to the link between migraines and hormonal fluctuations. A menstrual migraine occurs during a women’s period and is more severe and less commonly responsive to treatment. They also tend to have longer durations than most other types of migraines.
(8) Medication overuse migraine
This type of migraine occurs due to the frequent overuse of painkillers. These medications include NSAIDs, paracetamol, triptans, and opiates. This type of headache is commonly experienced by those that have a family history of migraines or have been diagnosed it a primary headache disorder. The medications further result in rebound headaches.
(9) Silent migraine
This type of migraine occurs with no actual headache. However, there is an aura or warning sign that can result in nausea and other common migraine symptoms. Silent migraines usually last about 20-30 minutes.