Many people believe that migraines are simply really bad headaches. This isn’t always true however – migraines usually show as moderate or severe headaches, but they can also come with other symptoms like feeling nauseous, being sick, or even neurological symptoms. Migraines are a very common ailment, so we’re going to cover some different types of migraines and what they can typically involve.
Migraine with aura
‘Aura’ here refers to symptoms that start around half an hour or so before the onset of the headache. Symptoms are usually visual. They can include seeing flashing lights, wavy lines, or even losing some or all vision for a short time. Aura can also sometimes cause loss of ability to speak, motor problems like weakness in extremities), and sensory disturbances (like tingling or numbness).
A migraine with aura is a lot less common than one without, although it becomes more common as people get older. It’s also possible to have aura without a headache following it.
Migraine without aura
Migraines without auras are the most common type or migraine. Often called the common or episodic migraine, they typically involve a pulsating headache on one side of the head that’s moderate to severe in intensity.
They might be worsened by routine physical activity, and usually feature sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea.
Chronic/ transformed migraine
Chronic migraines are when migraines occur 15 or more days per month for three or more months. People with episodic migraines might find that their migraines become chronic for a number of reasons, such as hormonal changes, illnesses, an increase in pain medication usage, or increased stress.
Ironically, having more headaches leads to the threshold for new headaches decreasing, which means that the condition can become chronic and also less responsive to medication.
A silent or acephalgic migraine is one that has many of the classic migraine symptoms, but no headache. Some or all migraine attacks can happen this way. The most common symptoms are changes in color perception and other visual problems.
Silent migraines are more common in those over 50, and can sometimes be (scarily) misdiagnosed as a stroke.
Menstrual migraines are linked to menstruation when they usually occur, though they can occur at any time during the month as well. They tend to be more severe and less responsive to treatment. The only way to diagnose them is to keep a diary and note when migraines occur over at least three months