What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Migraine Types


Many people assume that there's just one single type of migraine headache. Even migraine sufferers tend not to differentiate between one type of migraine and another. The main reason for this is that most migraines share the same basic migrane symptoms. An initial feeling of uneasiness is followed by a dull ache in either the jaw, neck, eye socket or back of the head. This dull pain then grows in intensity to a constant throbbing which prevents movement and can quite literally knock you off your feet. Nausea and vomiting are common with migraines.

There are actually many different types of migraines but the two most commone ones are the classic migraine hedache and the common migraine headache. These are also referred to as as migraine with aura (classic) and migraine without aura (common). The aura mentioned here refers to some of the pre-headache effects and symptoms that many sufferers endure.

The aura associated with classic migraines are visual hallucinations such as jagged lines or being partially blinded in one or both eyes, hearing things which aren't there and disruptions in the senses of sight, smell or touch. Feelings of numbness and the smelling of strange odors are also common migraine aura. The aura themselves occur before the headache begins so in a way provide a form of early warning system that a migraine is coming.

For those migraine sufferers who experience no aura the first warnings of migraine are the dull ache that then grows into a painful throbbing sensation. There can be little or no warning to the onset of a common migraine.

Rare Forms of Migraines

The are also other rarer types of migraines which you should be aware of:

Exertion Migraine

This is normally a short lived migraine brought on by physical exercise (combined with dehydration), exertion through lifting or sometimes it can even be caused by a fit of sneezing or bending over.

Retinal Migraine

This type involves a temporary loss of vision in one eye. My first ever migraine was a sudden and brutal retinal migraine whereby I was blinded for several seconds before the migraine itself began.

Hemipleic Migraine

This describea a migraine headache which begins with a form of temporary paralysis on one side of your body. This can be quite frightening for somebody who's never experienced this type of migraine before.

Ophtalmoplegic Migraine

This type of migraine begins in or around the eye and is commonly associated with visual distortions and/or blurred vision during the migraine itself. Unfortunately this type of migraine can last for several weeks.

Noctural Migraine

These rare migraines occur during the night and actually wake the sufferer from their nights sleep.

Basilar Artery Migraine

This type of headache is normally associated with young or adolescent women. Identified by a throbbing at the back of the head this migraine is caused by a constriction of the basilar artery (the brains primary artery) and can lead to dizzines, poor co-ordination, vomiting and difficulty in speaking. As the sufferer ages this type of migraine normally transforms itself into a clasic migraine (with aura).

Abdominal Migraine/Headache Free

This type of migraine occurs without any headache at all. Instead the pain manifests itself elsewhere in the body and this is normally in the stomach. The pain then causes the nausea and vomiting normally associated with migraines to occur. A rare type of migraine that is most commonly seen in young children when it does occur.