What are the different types of migraines?

There are actually more than 10 types of migraine

Migraines are most than just your average headache. If you suffer from migraines, I feel your pain. Literally! My migraines, like most, are debilitating. When it’s coming on, the only thing that can help is a silent dark room. To my surprise, there are several different types of migraines.

To those who have never had a migraine, how I would love to be in your shoes. A migraine is a one-sided throbbing, or pulsing sensation felt in the head. It does not come alone. Most migraines are accompanied by other symptoms: nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines last from three hours to 72 hours, with pain so severe it usually interferes with one’s daily activities. Some people, including me, experience aura symptoms, which is sort of like a warning symptom. Aura symptoms include visual disturbances, such as flashes of light or blind spots, or other disturbances, such as tingling on one side of the face or in an arm or leg and difficulty speaking.

There are about ten different types of migraines: migraine without aura, migraine with aura, silent migraine, chronic migraine, menstrual migraine, hemiplegic migraines, abdominal migraines, migraine with brainstem aura, vestibular migraine and retinal migraines. The most common ones are migraines without aura, migraines with aura, and silent migraines. 

Migraine without aura (common migraine)

70-90% of migraine sufferers experience this type of migraines. They experience the classic symptoms of a migraine. Throbbing or pulsing on one side of the head lasting between three to 72 hours with symptoms such as light sensitivity, vomiting, and nausea.


Migraine with aura (complicated migraine)

10-30% of people with migraines have migraines with aura. Aura is a neurological term to describe the symptoms of a migraine. Those who suffer from migraines with aura have most/all the symptoms of a common migraine with additional neurological symptoms. These aura symptoms develop over a 5-20 minute period and last for about less than an hour. Visual symptoms include seeing colored spots, sparkles, stars, zigzag lines, temporary blindness, and flashing lights. Other aura symptoms include numbness, tingling, pins, and needles in the arms and legs, weakness on one side of the body, dizziness, and a feeling of spinning. These symptoms occur before the migraine sets in, acting as a warning. When I notice these aura symptoms setting in, I prepare my migraine kit. I go back home, turn all the lights off, eliminate all the sound, and sleep waiting for the migraine to pass. 


Silent migraines (migraine without head pain)

This type of migraine can be quite alarming. You experience all the dizzying aura and visual symptoms without the head pain that comes with the migraine. The usual migraine triggers can trigger it, and those who have silent migraines are likely to experience other types of migraines too! 
 
The other types of migraines are rare and have very specific symptoms. Migraines are triggered by a range of causes:

  • Hormonal changes in women: This is linked to menstrual migraines
  • Drinks: Too much caffeine and alcohol have been found to trigger migraines. So if you’re like me, a caffeine fiend, it might be time to start thinking of switching to decaf.
  • Stress: Another one of my triggers is less than ideal as I lead a pretty stressful life. Keeping stress to a minimum can help to reduce the frequency of migraines
  • Medication: Oral contraceptives and vasodilators can aggravate migraines.
  • Sleep changes. Missing sleep, getting too much sleep or jet lag can trigger migraines. If possible, try and keep a regimented sleep cycle. 
  • Food: The best foods like cheese and salty processed foods are sadly other triggers of migraines. 

Can I make then go away?

If you are an experienced migraine sufferer, you’ll have perfected a way to deal with the migraines, either with medications or environmental changes. There are two types of medication types, aimed at stopping symptoms and preventing future attacks. 
Pain-relieving medication: There is a long list of pain medications that can be taken during an attack to help stop the symptoms of the migraine. 
Preventative medications: These are regular medication types to reduce the severity or frequency of migraines. 
 
If you all this sounds familiar to you and you feel like you’re suffering from migraines, visit your doctor. They will provide you with a treatment based on the frequency and severity of your headaches. Here at Medzino, we offer migraine medication online. Answer a few simple questions with our free 2-minute consultation, which will be reviewed by a licensed US physician before issuing a subscription. Do all this from the comfort of your home!

Sources

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