Understanding migraines – what they are, what causes them, and what can be done about them – is hard enough at the best of times. It’s even harder though when there are so many variations of migraine which you might be experiencing and need specialised treatment for.
With that in mind, these are, in brief, some of the different types of migraine which exist.
Migraine without aura
This is a head pain which lasts between 4 and 72 hours when untreated, and which takes place usually on one side of your head. Other symptoms of this “traditional migraine” are; nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, sensitivity to light, sounds and smells. 70-90% of people with migraines experience this form of migraine.
Migraine with aura
This involves the headache pain of a migraine without aura, but with the addition of extra symptoms which develop over a 5-20 minute period and last for less than an hour. These symptoms can include (but are not limited to); seeing coloured spots in your vision, flashing lights, numbness or tingling, dizziness, and nausea.
This is the term given to migraines which occur on more than fifteen days per month.
As the name suggests, this migraine is linked to the menstrual cycle. This type of migraine is thought to be caused by a drop in oestrogen and the release of prostaglandin just prior to menstruation. This migraine can strike in the two days leading up to the start of a period, and in the first few days of the period itself.
This is a migraine during which sufferers experience temporary weakness on one side of the body. This can be accompanied by vision problems, speech difficulties and confusion. It’s particularly stressful as this migraine has symptoms which are similar to those of a stroke.
Migraine with brainstem aura
This was previously known as basilar-type migraine. It involves an aura phase that precedes headache pain, and during which symptoms such as slurring of speech, pins and needles or loss of function in the arms/legs, ringing in the ears, and loss of balance can develop gradually.
This variant of migraine involves feeling dizzy, having balance problems, or experiencing vertigo as the main migraine symptom – though other migraine symptoms such as headache and nausea can also occur with this type of migraine.