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Types Of Migraines

Since there are a number of different types of migraines, migraine sufferers can experience a wide range of symptoms. Read more about the different kinds of migraines and their symptoms in this article.

Migraine without aura

This is the most common type of migraine, which 70-90% of migraine sufferers experience according to the Migraine Trust. The migraine headache comes on without any warning and lasts for between 4 and 72 hours.

Symptoms can include a throbbing or pulsating headache, generally on one side of the head, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, sensitivity to light and sensitivity to sound. The symptoms generally become worse with movement or exercise to the point where they can affect your daily life.

Migraine with aura

With this kind of migraine, there will be some warning signs before the headache hits. These generally come in the form of visual disturbances such as blind spots, sparkles, tunnel vision, flashing lights and blurred vision. This is then followed by the headache and may include some of the other symptoms listed above. 10-30% of migraine sufferers experience a migraine with aura.

Other former names you might know this kind of migraine by are classic or classical migraine, focal migraine, ophthalmic migraine, hemiparasthetic migraine, aphasic migraine, migraine accompagnee, and complicated migraine.

Migraine aura without headache

This is also known as a silent migraine. You experience the visual disturbances of a migraine aura but a headache doesn’t follow afterwards.

Chronic migraine

If you experience a headache 15 days or more each month over a three month period and 8 or more have migraine symptoms, you may come under the category of chronic migraine sufferer. Chronic migraine affects fewer than 1% of the UK population, but this still means that over 600,000 people are suffering from chronic migraine in the UK.

If you have fewer than 15 headache days per month, you suffer from episodic migraines.

Menstrual migraine

Menstruation can be a migraine trigger for some women, but there is also a specific condition called menstrual migraine which is thought to affect fewer than 10% of women. Menstrual migraines are linked to a decrease in levels of oestrogen. They generally occur in the two days before the start of a period and the three days after it begins. This type of migraine can last longer than other kinds and has no aura.

Hemiplegic migraine

This is a rare condition in which the sufferer experiences temporary weakness on one side of their body when a migraine attack is happening. The weakness can last from anywhere between one hour and several days, but it usually goes within 24 hours.

Migraine with brainstem aura

There’s not a lot of information available on this kind of migraine, which was formerly known as basilar migraine. It is a rare kind of migraine with aura, which includes at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Visual disturbances

  • Difficulty talking

  • Hearing problems

  • Tingling hands and feet

  • Dizziness / vertigo

  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

Abdominal migraine

Abdominal migraine is a syndrome most commonly seen in children (although anyone can experience it) and may be linked to migraines.