A migraine is usually described as a severe headache, but this is like an oversimplified description. Migraines are a neurological disease with numerous subtypes. The sensations range from extreme, throbbing pain to experiencing auras. Here are some of the most common types of migraines:
Silent or Acephalgic Migraine
Also known as migraines without headache, acephalgic migraines have all the symptoms of a usual one, including experience auras, nausea, and visual disturbances. A person suffering from migraines is prone to experiencing other types of migraines.
A migraine without aura is known as a common migraine. It comes without any warning (aura or prodrome) and is the hardest to diagnose properly. Photophobia, throbbing or pulsing pain in one side of the head, nausea, phonophobia and worsening of pain during physical activity are a sign of a common migraine.
They are also called migraines with aura. Nearly 25% of migraine patients suffer from complicated migraines. Aura refers to the sensory and visual disturbances, such as seeing black or colored dots and flashing lights.
A migraine aura may begin nearly 60 minutes before an episode and is an unmistakable warning of a severe headache. An aura may also be accompanied by numbness or inability to speak clearly. It is considered to be the second of the 4 migraine stages.
Hemiplegic migraines are characterized by pins and needles headaches, weakness in one side of the boy along with a series of auras. The duration of the pain can be from a few hours to several days. Thus, it is one of the most disabling migraines.
It may also be followed by loss of sensation in one side of the body and, sometimes, the episode may not constitute a headache.
A migraine whose patients are usually women in their childbearing years, retinal migraines cause temporary blindness. While the loss of vision may last from a few minutes to several months, the effects are usually completely reversible. More often than not retinal migraines turn out to be a sign of a serious underlying issue. It is important to visit a doctor after the first episode.
Migraines can be especially debilitating if multiple episodes occur in a matter of a few days. To be diagnosed as suffering from chronic migraines, a person must get more than 15 migraines a month. Many people wave these pains are sinus or tension headaches but on closer inspection, they may cause different intensities of pain along with variability in symptoms.
Also, those who take painkillers more than 10-15 days a month to assuage their acute headaches may also suffer from chronic migraines in the long run.
Diagnosing a migraine can be very complicated. Also, the treatment course may differ according to the migraine type. Focusing on and pointing to the areas that hurt is very important in determining the type of migraine you have, leading to better treatment and fewer painful days.
Aim of any migraine treatment is preventing or stopping an episode. Other than stress management and avoiding known triggers, a person with migraines may be prescribed medication. The medicines may be either painkillers or preventive ones.
Pain Relief Medicines – Also known as abortive medicines, these drugs can stop migraine symptoms if taken as soon as the first sign appears. They are used to reduce the severity of migraines.
Preventive Medicines – These medicines have to be taken regularly, and sometimes every day, to reduce the frequency of migraines.
There are alternative treatments as well, which include acupressure, dietary changes, biofeedback therapy and more. Your doctor will recommend a few depending on your body’s response to various treatments and how disabling your headaches are.