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Types of Migraines

​​​​​A migraine is a severe headache that can cause extreme pain. Individuals who suffer from migraines are often not able to participate in their daily activities due to migraine pain. There are levels of migraine severity, and the attacks can last from a few hours to a few days (72 hours). There are several common types of migraines that determine levels and types of treatment.

Migraine with Aura

Migraines can present themselves with or without auras. An aura occurs before a migraine attack, a warning sign that the patient will soon have a migraine attack. An aura can be visual, with the patient seeing spots, zig zags, flashes of light or flickers or even experiencing temporary blindness.

Additional symptoms of auras can be sensory, with an individual experiencing a spreading tingling sensation that often begins in the fingertips and then moves up the arm and into the face. This sensory aura can also be felt in the legs. These tingles typically occur on only one side of the body. Auras may affect the patient's speech patterns and ability to speak clearly.

Auras generally will not last longer than 30 minutes and usually occur before a migraine attack. However, it is possible to experience auras during a migraine attack or without a headache at all. Migraines with aura are far less common than migraines without aura.

Migraine without Aura

Patients who have migraines most commonly experience them without aura. These patients may experience other symptoms preceding the migraine called prodrome. The prodrome stage may include constipation, food cravings, irritability, mood swings, dizziness and headaches.

Migraines without aura may cause the sufferer to have diarrhea, feel nauseated and vomit and feel a throbbing pain in the head, among other symptoms.

Chronic Migraine

Individuals with chronic migraine have migraines for more than 15 days per month, more than three months in a row. To be diagnosed with chronic migraines, it is essential to keep track of how many days per month the individual experiences a headache of any type. Those with chronic migraines may experience either migraines with aura or without aura. ​

Illness and Injury Pediatric Neurology