7 Different Types Of Migraine Headaches

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Learn The Different Types Of Migraine Headaches

If you are suffering from headaches that seem too severe to be your average, garden variety headache, you may be suffering from migraines. A migraine is a serious headache that lasts anywhere from a few hours to several days. The pain is quite intense and has many symptoms that are present at the same time.

However, migraines do vary. Different types of migraines are defined by what areas they affect. It's not to say that a migraine fits any category precisely or exclusively, but many migraine suffers can describe their symptoms within one or several of these groups:

  • Common migraineThis is the migraine headache that occurs with the associated symptoms of nausea with or without vomiting, sensitivities to light, sound and odor, and pain on one or both sides of the head.
  • Classic migraineMigraines that occur with auras are considered classic. Auras are most likely visual disturbances but can be a feeling of pins and needles in your limbs or problems with hearing or experiencing confusion.
  •  OcularIn this type of migraine, the aura experienced is all visual. This may be described as seeing circles that are dark, then grow bright, change shape, and move about. It may be zig zag patterns of different colors, or black and white. The patterns may move to the peripheral or stay in front. There may be flashing, sparkling, flowing, or other artistic or graphic appearances.
  •  Hemiplegic This type of migraine has often been confused with symptoms of a stroke. When a hemiplegic type of migraine occurs, it produces muscle weakness and even temporary paralysis on one side of the body. There may be severe pain on one side of the head, vision changes, slurred speech, and confusion, again, much like a stroke.
  •  Retinal Unlike an ocular migraine, this type of migraine is usually accompanied by vision loss in one or both eyes. This temporary vision loss may be associate with pain behind the eyes. The vision loss or interruption is typically limited to one eye.
  •  Basilar artery This artery is located at the back of the head causing the sufferer to feel pain in the back of the head instead of where you typically think of migraine pain; in the forehead and around the eyes. You may experience trouble with speech, tinnitus, and vomiting. Women are usually the sufferers of this type of migraine.
  •  OphthalmoplegicIn this rare type of migraine, paralysis appears with this type of migraine in the muscles surrounding the eye. It can lead to damage to the nerves resulting in permanent vision problems. You may experience double vision with this condition and need to seek immediate medical attention.

It could be that you have a history of migraines and have been controlling them for many years. However, if a migraine comes on suddenly and often, you should know that these acute symptoms could be a sign of a more serious condition. If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:


  •  Sudden and intense headache that is accompanied by a feeling like a thunderclap in your head (could be a sign of an aneurysm)
  • Migraines that occur later in life, after the age of 50
  • Migraines accompanied by fever, stiff neck, nausea, or vomiting
  • Headaches that are accompanied by stroke symptoms (mental confusion, slurring speech, numbness in the extremities)
  • Intense headaches after a trauma to the head
  • Throbbing eye pain accompanied by physical changes in the eyes (redness and visual halos)

 About eighty percent of migraine sufferers experience the common or classic type of migraine headache.

Which means that about twenty percent may be experiencing the less common, and possibly more serious, type of migraine. Knowing the symptoms of all the types of migraine headaches will help you understand what treatments will work best and when immediate medical attention is needed.