The 7 Types of Migraines and Everything You Need to Know About Them


If you have been dealing with migraines for a while then you know that they aren’t always exactly the same. In fact, your migraine may vary depending on the trigger. Your migraine may be completely different than someone else that you know who deals with migraines. We are here to show you the seven different types of migraines. That way you can find relief better suited to the type of migraine that you have. You may even be able to find a way to avoid the triggers better if you know what you are dealing with. After all, the best way to treat something is to learn all there is about it. So now, let’s take a look at the seven types of migraines.

  • Brainstem Aura

Migraines can affect your vision, hearing, and speech. Brainstem auras are a real migraine. They have all the classic symptoms of a migraine plus they can cause hallucinations that cause you to see lights, color swirls, or shadows. They can cause you to hear things like pounding, swooshing, or even faint music or talking. You can lose your ability to talk to completely, have slurred speech, or the inability to form words. Others who are watching you may think that you are drunk or intoxicated in some way. It is a very confusing situation for both you and your loved ones.

Brainstem auras may not hurt at all. You could be so overwhelmed by the other symptoms that you are unable to process or register the pain. You can usually feel the onset of the base of your head. It will feel like pain or pressure that you cannot get relief from. Often, you begin to experience these types of migraines after a trauma or due to the medications that you are taking. The best thing to do is to find a dark, quiet room with very little stimuli. Allowing your mind to rest can ease the symptoms.

  • Chronic

Chronic migraine is one of the most common types of migraines. It is often trauma-induced. It is a symptom of many other chronic conditions. It may also be the side effect of certain medications. The most common treatment options are pain medications. Chronic migraine is often a migraine that lasts more than one hour and occurs more than three times a week. It can have all the classic symptoms of a migraine. It is intense pain that can be on one side of the head. Anyone can suffer from chronic migraines. You may also have a fog that you feel that you cannot get out of.

  • Hemiplegic

A hemiplegic migraine is a migraine that occurs on only one side of the head. This is a rare form of migraine but it is the most serious. It does mimic a stroke. You may have weakness in the limbs, or be unable to move your limbs. It can last from an hour to several weeks. It is not permanent but it can be terrifying for the one that is suffering from it.

The triggers to this type of migraine is almost always a head injury. However, it can be triggered by a food allergy or sensitivity. The most common food trigger of this type of migraine is red wine. Usually it does not appear once a person has reach puberty. Once you have one in adolescents, you may carry it into adulthood. Occasionally those over fifty will begin to experience them. Those with high- stress jobs may be more likely to experience a hemiplegic migraine.

  • Menstrual

Most women have suffered a menstrual migraine at some point in their life. It occurs right before, during, or right after menstruation. It can accompany both migraine symptoms and menstrual symptoms. In most cases, these types of migraines will only last a few hours. They do tend to come several times a week. In this case, the frequency can be more rehabilitating than the duration. The menstrual migraine may also be more likely to be caused by hormonal changes than anything else because of the change of hormones around the time of menstruation.

  • Ocular

Migraines will often affect blood flood. It can limit or restrict blood flood to the vessels in and around the eye. This can result in temporary vision changes. You could lose sight in the eye completely. You may have dark spots, color changes, or swirls in your vision. An ocular migraine could affect your ability to do normal tasks. The blindness could occur before your migraine or during it. It is possible for it to affect one or both eyes. It is usually not dangerous. It may be uncomfortable or scary. Stress and anxiety is often a trigger of this type of migraine.

  • Vestibular

The vestibular migraine is different from other migraines because it may not be accompanied by pain. It is usually described by vertigo, dizziness, or lack of balance. You can have trouble walking and moving around because the world feels unstable. These symptoms could last from a few minutes up to three days. It is thought to be caused by electric waves around the brain. It can be caused by depression. Most people believe that depression and a sedentary lifestyle is the biggest factor in these types of migraines. It is treated by antidepressant medications.

  • Ice Pick

Most migraines will come about over a period of time. You can feel that they are about to come on. Then you can take the steps you need to prevent them from happening. With ice pick migraines this is not the case. Most ice pick migraines appear from nowhere. They are sudden spikes of pain that appear throughout the head. They feel like you are being stabbed. They are often caused by other injuries or cluster headaches. Some migraines may trigger the ice pick migraine. Thankfully, these painful migraines don’t usually last more than a few minutes.

How Migraines are Defined

Migraines are defined by duration, intensity, and frequency. If you have headaches that are more than four times a week, are intense enough to change your routine, or last more than an hour at a time, you may be having a migraine. Not all migraines are preventable. However, you may be able to find what triggers your migraine and be able to avoid these triggers to lessen the intensity and duration.

Some migraines are the symptom of other conditions. They could be caused by medications, injuries, or other underlying medical conditions. There are some migraines that are the cause of symptoms rather than being a symptom. These are rarer and harder to diagnose. Stress is the most common cause of migraines.

Symptoms of Migraines

Some migraines have their own characteristics but most migraines will have these symptoms in common:

  • Head pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in taste
  • Visual disturbances
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Body aches
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Inability to track time

While not all migraines can be tracked, you should try to keep a record of what you eat, how often you get migraines, how soon after you eat you get them, what you are doing when you get a migraine, your sleep patterns, and your work patterns. These things can help the doctor to determine how to best treat your migraine.

Treatment Options

There are many treatment options available. Your doctor may want to do some testing before offering treatments. You may need to undergo a psychiatric exam, MRI, blood work, and physical exam to determine which treatment option you need. You may be offered pain management options like medications. Medications can be dangerous and addictive so some doctors prefer not to begin this kind of treatment.

Hormone therapy is likely to be offered because there are times when migraines are caused by a hormonal imbalance. These therapies are often watched closely to identify any negative side effects. It is our hope that you found this article informative. The best way to treat your migraine is to understand your migraine. It is a real condition that billions suffer from, yet it is hard to diagnose and treat because everyone has different treatments, triggers, and responses. So, get out there and learn all you can so that you can be in control. Migraines do not have to control your life. You are more than your migraine lets you believe you are.