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4 Types Of Migraines

When a headache is severe or does not get better, it can be very frustrating. The pain can be intense and debilitating, making it difficult to function normally. If the medicine you take for a headache does not help, you may have migraines.

People sometimes speak as if there were only one kind of migraine. However, there are four different types of migraines, each with a different set of symptoms. To understand what each type of migraine is, it’s important to first understand what a migraine is. Read on to learn more about it and its different types.

Understanding Migraine

Most people have experienced a headache that felt as if it would never go away. It can be so severe that you might think your head is going to explode. If this sounds familiar, then you know what migraines are like.

Migraines are characterized by severe pain on one side of the head and nausea or vomiting. They can last anywhere from 4 hours to 3 days. In some cases, it lasts for much longer.

Some people experience an aura before or during migraine attacks, while others do not. Migraines can also be triggered by certain foods, stress, lack of sleep, or other factors. Migraines are characterized by symptoms that occur in several stages, as described below.

Stages Of Migraine

Migraines can be divided into four stages: prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome.


This is the stage before a migraine attack, when you may experience symptoms that indicate a coming headache. These include fatigue, mood changes, constipation or diarrhea, food cravings, and yawning. It can last anywhere from 3 hours to several days.


An aura occurs before or during a migraine attack. During this stage, you may experience visual disturbances such as flashing lights, blind spots, or blurred vision. It can last from 5 minutes to an hour.


The headache part of a migraine attack typically lasts from 4 to 72 hours. It typically causes throbbing pain and may also cause nausea or vomiting. The pain can be so severe that it affects your ability to function normally.


This is the stage after an attack when you may feel weak, depressed, or irritable. This stage may last for 2 days.

The Most Common Types Of Migraines

Migraine is a complicated condition that can be difficult to diagnose and manage. It’s important to know what type of migraine you have so that you can seek out the best treatment options.

There are several different types of migraine, and each one causes its own set of symptoms. Here are the four most common types of migraines:

Migraine Without Aura

Migraine without aura is the most common type of migraine. It’s also known as a common migraine. It’s characterized by a pulsating headache on one side of the head that can be moderate or severe in intensity.

Migraines without aura usually start suddenly, last several hours, and worsen as time passes. They’re often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light or sound.

Migraine With Aura

Migraine with aura has four main types. Each type is characterized by a certain sign that occurs before a migraine headache begins. Here is a list of the four types.

Migraine With Typical Aura

A migraine with a typical aura is a form of migraine during which the affected person may have visual, speech, and sensory symptoms. Onset can be gradual and generally last up to one hour. It is usually reversible and gets better when the symptoms go away.

Migraine With Brainstem Aura

Migraine with brainstem aura is a relatively rare type of migraine. People who suffer from this type of migraine may experience symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness, slurred speech, and ringing in their ears. They may also experience other neurological symptoms like temporary loss of consciousness.

Hemiplegic Migraine

Hemiplegic migraine is a subcategory of migraine with aura. During a hemiplegic migraine, the person may experience temporary paralysis on one side of the body. This may cause weakness, depending on the severity of the attack. Other common symptoms include visual disturbances and communication difficulties.

The symptoms are similar to those of a stroke but usually last only from one hour to several days. It’s also not uncommon for people suffering from hemiplegic migraines to experience headaches afterward.

Retinal Migraine

Retinal migraine is a condition that affects the retina, which is the light-sensitive part of the eye. This type of migraine often occurs with visual disturbances, like flashes of light and partial or total temporary blindness in one eye. The symptoms of a migraine may occur before an attack takes place and signals the onset of headaches.


If you have 15 or more days of migraine per month and have had them for three months or more, you are experiencing chronic migraine. It is a debilitating type of headache that can be difficult to manage.

Chronic migraines can be difficult to treat. It is often less responsive to medication than other types of migraine. Also, some people may experience an aura, dizziness, vertigo, or other symptoms.


Episodic migraines tend to be more common in children, but they can also occur in adults. It often occurs alongside other health issues, such as motion sickness and sleep disorders. The condition can also occur with or without an aura.

How Are Migraines Diagnosed?

If you’re suffering from migraines, it can be hard to know whether or not the headaches you’re experiencing are serious. Physicians will often ask about your medical history and the frequency of your headaches.

The first thing doctors will do is ask about your symptoms. They’ll want to know how long they last, what triggers them, and how severe they are. They’ll also ask about other health issues you may be experiencing, like depression or anxiety.

But, there are also some diagnostic tests that can be performed. The most common test is an MRI, which checks for abnormalities in the brain and its surrounding tissues. It uses magnetic fields to generate images of your brain.

Another test is a CT scan, which uses x-rays to create detailed images of your head and brain structure. CT scans are usually used when MRI results aren’t clear. It is also used when doctors suspect an infection or tumor might be contributing to migraine symptoms.

Risk Factors

Migraine is a complex condition. The precise cause is not known, but certain risk factors seem to increase the likelihood of developing migraine headaches. Some of these risk factors include:

Family History

Migraine is a complex condition, and there are many factors that can contribute to your risk of developing it. Having a family history of migraine is one factor.

Family history can be a major factor in determining whether or not you will develop migraines. This is because genetics plays a large role if you develop the condition. If your family members have migraines, then there is an increased chance that you will as well.

However, just because your family members have migraines doesn’t mean that you will get them too. Some who have a genetic predisposition to migraines never develop them, while others may only experience mild headaches instead of full-on migraines.


Age is a risk factor for migraine. As you get older, your risk of having migraines increases. The rate at which it happens varies from person to person. This may be due to changes in your genetics, hormones, or other factors.

As you age, it’s not just your body that’s growing old but your brain too. It’s also important to note that not everyone who has migraines is elderly. Some people suffer from migraines when they’re young, and some people experience them later in life.


Sex is a risk factor for migraines. Women are three times more likely than men to have migraines. Moreover, they are more prone to intense and long-lasting symptoms.

Hormonal Changes

Some women experience migraines during the menstrual cycle. Some notice an increase in their headaches around menopause. Hormonal changes are likely related to migraine risk factors because they cause fluctuations in hormone levels.

Hormonal fluctuations and serotonin levels can be influenced by changes in vascular function. All of which have been associated with migraines.

Final Note

Migraines are a complicated condition that affects many people. While the information above can help you better understand migraine, it’s important to remember that everyone is different.

Suppose you suffer from migraines and have never been diagnosed. In that case, it’s important to find a medical care provider who can help diagnose your condition. They can help you to determine if the headaches are truly migraines or a different type of headache. They can also provide treatment options that will work best for you.

Managing your migraine is the best way to minimize its impact on your life. Tell your physician about your symptoms and if they become more frequent or severe. Because treatment for migraine headaches can be complex, it’s important to work with a healthcare professional who can help you find the right treatment plan for you.