Not All Migraines Are Created Equal

Getting to the bottom of migraine headaches requires correction of the underlying issues instead of a simple treatment of the symptoms. So, what type of migraine is responsible for your symptoms? Let’s take a look at five different types of interesting types of less commonly known migraines.

Five Different Types of Migraines

1.  Hemiplegic Migraine: Hemiplegic migraines are distinct because during the aura stage, they make you appear like you are having a stroke. You may feel tingling and motor weakness on one side of the body. The aura often includes the typical visual disturbances, but they don’t always lead to headache. In addition, someone suffering from this type of migraine may find it difficult to swallow or speak. Hemiplegic migraines often run in families. But they can also be spontaneous in nature.

2.  Retinal Migraine: The final subtype of aura migraine are retinal migraines, which are characterized by the appearance of a visual aura in one eye. These can be with or without head pain.

3. Migraine without Headache: While not directly painful, this kind of migraine can be just as unpleasant. Symptoms are very similar to those of migraines with auras and include:

·         Partial loss of vision

·         Nausea

·         Vomiting

·         Dizziness

Other names for this condition include:

·          Occular Migraine

·          Visual Migraine

4. Chronic Migraine: The key feature of this type of migraine is the frequency of their occurrence. Chronic migraines occur at least half of the days in every month, with at least eight of those instances going beyond simple headache symptoms. Because of their frequency, this type of migraine can be highly impactful on day-to-day life, and as such, typically requires more preventative measures than the other types.

But, what about abdominal migraines?Aren’t those a type of migraine as well? Yes, but abdominal migraines are not particularly well researched. These migraines primarily affect children, and they’re thought to result from serotonin production issues. Some sources don’t consider abdominal migraines to fit within the true “migraine” family, as they don’t always involve head pain. If your child is suffering from abdominal migraines, it would be a good idea to learn more about the underlying causes and treatments.

5. Let Down Headache: This is not quite a migraine, but it’s the headache that follows a migraine.  When consulting a patient the other day, he commented how his severe headaches convienently fall on a Saturday. Since he works only Monday through Friday, the headaches weren’t such a problem for him because he was able to sleep most of the day. But he wondered why every Saturday he had these headaches. He was suffering from a classic letdown headache.

A let down headache is the headache that shows up after the migraine has broken. It’s your body’s way of handling the exhaustion.Letdown headache means the sudden stress reduction could be your trigger, and perhaps, even though it’s a little counter-intuitive, maybe instead of breathing a sigh of relief at the end of the work week, you should worry just a bit more, and increase your relief in steps instead of all at once.

Every body is different, and your migraine may not have the same cause as someone else’s. Don’t settle for treating the symptoms of your migraines; instead, learn your type and start to treat the underlying causes. Only then can you truly start to deal with the migraines.

Still not sure what type of migraine you have? Need help getting to the bottom of your symptoms? I offer phone consultations! Together, we can start to heal your headaches and free you from inside out.


American Migraine Foundation – What type of headache do you have?

Migraine Again – 7 Types of Migraine: Which do You Have?International Headache Society – The Internal Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd Edition