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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

What are Different Types of Migraines?

Headaches are part of our lives, and every one of us has suffered through them. Severe headaches that entail pulsing or throbbing on one side of the head followed by nausea and vomiting are usually migraines.  But a migraine is not just another headache. It is a neurological condition with different sub-types. Find out about the different types of migraines below.

1. Migraine With Aura

Also referred to as complex or classic migraine usually starts before the head pain begins and lasts up to an hour. Migraine with aura is a neurological symptom most commonly characterized by visual disturbances like blind or coloured spots, flashes of light, tunnel vision, and temporary blindness.  Other symptoms may include memory changes, dizziness, vertigo, numbness and feeling of fear or anxiety.

2.  Migraine Without Aura

This type of migraine is the common type and affects around 70-90% of people with a migraine and lasts between 4 and 72 hours. The headache is usually on one side of the head with a throbbing or pulsating pain which affects your normal daily life.

3.  Migraine With Brainstem Aura

It is a rare form of migraine and formerly known as basilar type migraine. The person with this type of migraine may observe one or two symptoms which include slurred speech, ringing in the ears, double vision, dizziness, tingling in hands and feet and severe sensitivity to sound.

4.   Chronic Migraine

As the name suggests chronic migraine is a condition where the migraine attacks are more frequent. A person may observe a headache that happens 15 or more days a month which can be more than 3 months. The severity of the symptoms may vary in chronic migraine headache. Some of the symptoms of a chronic migraine headache include sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and throbbing or pulsating pain on or both sides of the head.

5.  Hemiplegic Migraine

It is a rare condition that is characterized by temporary weakness on one side of the body. Hemiplegic Migraine means “Paralysis caused on one side of the body”.  It is of two types:

  1. Familial Hemiplegic migraine: It is an autosomal dominant type of hemiplegic migraine which is passed on from families. The symptoms may include weakness of half the body which can last for hours, days, or weeks, ataxia, coma, and sometimes paralysis.

  2. Sporadic: in this type, no other family members are affected. It is a rare form of migraine headache which typically causes intense, throbbing pain in one area of the head along with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.

The symptoms of hemiplegic migraine usually disappear within 24 hours. However, one should consult a doctor as the symptoms are quite similar to a stroke.

6.   Menstrual Migraine

Menstrual migraine is a condition where the timing of migraine attacks is linked to the menstrual cycle. It is due to the falling levels of oestrogen hormones and the release of prostaglandins. A woman can experience the attacks two days before the onset of migraine which remains for the first 3 days of the period. Symptoms may include

  1. Severe headache.

  2. Leg cramps

  3. Acne

  4. Mood swings

  5. Lack of coordination

  6. increased appetite.

7.  Ocular (or Retinal)

A retinal migraine is a rare form of migraine which is associated with a temporary loss of vision. It is most commonly found in women of childbearing age. The temporary loss of vision lasts for less than an hour, and other symptoms may include flashing lights, blurred visions, coloured or black spots. This is a specific type of migraine with aura and is usually reversible.

8.  Vestibular Migraine

It is a type of migraine associated with repeated dizziness and is also called as migraine-associated vertigo. Symptoms of vertigo or spinning sensation in the head usually last between a few minutes and hours.

9.  Abdominal Migraine

It is a type of syndrome associated with migraine and is most often seen in children. The symptoms of migraine include loss of appetite, abdominal pain with nausea, and vomiting. It has also reported that children with abdominal migraine generally go on to develop migraine headaches later in life.

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