Types of Migraines
The common migraine, or migraine without aura, is experienced by about 80% of migraine sufferers. Although the traditional aura is missing, patients may experience other symptoms before it occurs, such as fatigue, food cravings, yawning, depression, irritability and anxiousness. Diagnostic criteria for the common migraine include sensitivity to light, vomiting or nausea, sensitivity on one side of the head, pulsing pain as with a heartbeat, and aggravation by physical activity.
The classic migraine develops in four distinct stages:
The prodrome can occur 24 to 48 hours before the aura and may include irritability, fatigue, lack of concentration, and muscle stiffness.
During the aura, migraine sufferers will experience a slowly expanding area of blindness, surrounded by a sparkling edge of flashing lights, colors, or zig-zags of light. Other times, they may experience muscle tension or weakness, burning or tingling sensation, vertigo, speech difficulty, or nausea.
The migraine headache is typically a severe throbbing pain which may be worsened by noises and bright lights and may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
During the post-headache or postdrome stage migraine sufferers may experience exhaustion, fatigue, irritability, and scalp tenderness. About 70% of migraine sufferers experience a postdrome.
Less common types of migraines are:
- Hemiplegic migraine – includes temporary weakness or paralysis typically lasting less than an hour.
- Ophthalmoplegic migraine – in addition to pain, the sufferer experiences droopy eyelids, pupil dilation, and paralysis of the eye, which may last up to several weeks. Most common in children.
- Basilar artery migraine – resulting in neurological spasms lasting for about six to eight hours. More common in children.
- Status migraine – which indicates a severe migraine attack lasting longer than 72 hours.