Are There Different Types of Migraine Headaches?

Migraines have been around for a long time and there is still much to learn about their causes, triggers and treatment. They are no longer regarded as just "bad headaches" but are recognized as something much more – a bit like the common cold and influenza (which is much more than a very heavy cold). Any sudden or unusual onset of migraines of any type should always be checked by your doctor to make sure there are no underlying medical causes of which the migraines are the warning sign.

There is no "official" cure for Migraines but we are learning more and more about them. They can now be grouped in to different types, and while this list is in no way exhaustive, it can help to understand that different types of migraines have their own causes which can in turn lead to a better understanding of their effects and how best to limit their impact on our lives.

Common Migraines

Migraines are very painful and to call one group a "common" migraine may seem to be a bit of a misnomer but we have to start somewhere. This type has most of the basic symptoms like throbbing pain in the head and is often accompanied by a feeling of nausea. It is also accompanied by a loss of balance, sometimes with the room seeming to spin and at such moments it is best to sit down, preferably with your back against a firm support that you know will not move. Once you are certain that you are anchored to solid things like a wall or floor that will not move, it can help to try and relax (even closing your eyes) so that the spinning sensation can ease. Some people can experience strange prickling type sensations on the skin and unexpected smells. Sounds like ringing in the ears are quite usual too.

Classic Migraines

These are very similar to the common migraine and may have all, or only some, of the above but will be accompanied by an "aura". This is a visual symptom that often appears as a warning sign of the ensuing migraine. Aura are known as neurological in origin ie to do with the brain. Some people experience blurred vision, lines or spots before the eyes, even seeing things that are not there. It is also possible to see flashing lights and even to experience a stiff neck or problems with speech. These are very distressing symptoms but recognizing them for what they are can help in the constant fight to prevent and ease migraines.

Exertion Migraines.

These types of migraines tend not to be as long lasting as others but can also have serious consequences. They often follow over exercise and usually stop once the exercise has stopped. This type will always need to be checked by a doctor as it could have underlying causes.

Abdominal Migraines.

These are most common with children. A stomach pain that leads to a migraine. As with all unusual migraine symptoms, a doctor should be consulted – especially if this is the first such attack.

Basilar Artery Migraines.

These are most common among young women and can cause vomiting, dizziness, bad co-ordination and speech problems.

Many migraines run in families but this does not make them less difficult to manage in our every day lives. Understanding more about Migraines, their causes and types, can help us to work out better strategies for dealing with the pain and its affects on our every day lives. As always any uncommon experience or change in the pattern of Migraines should always be monitored and possibly checked by a doctor to ensure there are no other medical factors involved.