How To Identity The Different Types Of Migraines

Without warning, migraine attacks can sneak in and wreak havoc on daily affairs. They can cause you to miss work, halt leisure activities, and make it challenging to complete daily responsibilities. Everyday Health defines migraines as a neurological disease that has repeated attacking symptoms. Some symptoms include sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, dizziness, head throbbing, and more. While about 38 million Americans have migraines, according to WebMD, it's important to keep in mind that migraine attacks can all look different. 

The most common types of migraines are those with and without auras. Migraines with auras, also known as the "classic migraine," are typically associated with head throbbing and neurological disturbances that affect vision and sound (per Everyday Health). If you're seeing zigzag lines, flashes, or lose your vision for up to 30 minutes, this could be a sign of migraines with auras (per WebMD). Similarly, migraines without auras, known as the "common migraine," have the same pulsating sensations and other symptoms, such as sensitivity to light or sound and nausea (via the Cleveland Clinic).

Other subtypes of migraines you should know

Although classic and common migraines are the most well-known, there are other subtypes of migraines you should be aware of. Formerly called the basilar migraine, migraines with brainstem aura must have at least 2 of these listed symptoms, according to WebMD — vertigo, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, double vision, trouble speaking, or loud ringing in the ear — on top of the any of previously mentioned symptoms.

Other types of migraines to know are episodic versus chronic migraines (via WebMD). These subtypes focus on the pattern of the migraine. Do you get them a couple of days a month? That can be defined as episodic migraines. On the other hand, any headache resulting in pain that lasts 15 days or more per month during a 3-month period is considered a chronic migraine, explains Everyday Health.

Retinal and hemiplegic migraines are the last 2 types of migraines, and they are considered rare diseases (per Everyday Health). Retinal migraines are similar to migraines with auras, but visual disturbances or blindness only occurs in 1 eye during the migraine attack. Hemiplegic migraines, which are also associated with auras, entail tingling, paralysis, or weakness on 1 side of the body (via MedLine Plus).