8 Common Migraine Types and Their Symptoms

Many people interchange the words ‘migraine’ and ‘headache.’ That’s okay if you understand that migraines and headaches aren’t the same. They differ in that headaches always cause pain in the head, neck, or face, while migraines often cause debilitating symptoms that can’t always be linked to head pain. In this post, we’ll talk about 8 of the most common types of migraines and their symptoms. 

1.       Migraine Without Aura

About 2/3 of people with migraines have them without aura. This type of migraine is characterized by at least two of the following symptoms:

·         One-sided head pain

·         Throbbing or pulsating pain

·         Worsening pain with movement

·         Medium to severe pain that makes anything and everything difficult

Other symptoms are often associated with attacks, but most patients experience at least two of the above.

2.       Migraine With Aura

The difference between this type of migraine and the first is that this one comes with visual, auditory, or other sensory disturbances. Auras can present as:

·         Tunnel vision

·         Zigzag lines

·         Speech difficulties

·         Pins and needles on one side of the body

·         Flashing lights

·         Blind spots or black floating spots in your vision

3.       Silent Migraines

Symptoms of silent migraines are hard to recognize because they look like other conditions or present by themselves. Patients will often experience aura without head pain. Other symptoms of silent migraines include:

·         Hyperactivity

·         Irritability

·         Unexplainable food cravings

·         Stiffness, especially in the neck

I know a silent migraine patient who presented with symptoms of stroke and was diagnosed with and treated for things like:

·         Depression

·         Hypoglycemia

·         Fibromyalgia

·         Meniere’s disease

4.       Hemiplegic Migraine

This migraine type is subcategorized under migraine with aura. In addition to the usual aura symptoms, patients may also experience:

·         Unexplained fatigue

·         Excessive physical weakness that lasts anywhere from a day to several weeks

·         Speech disturbances or other unusual sensory issues

5.       Cluster Headaches

These headaches are a nuisance. Cluster headaches are characterized by symptoms like:

·         Pain on one side of the head

·         Lasts from 15 minutes to a few hours

·         Can happen multiple times a day

·         Runny or stuffy nose

·         Sweating and facial flushing

·         Restlessness

·         Red, dry, or teary eyes

6.       Abdominal Migraines

These migraines are more common in children between the ages of 5 and 9. They can be identified by symptoms such as:

·         Severe, centralized abdominal pain

·         Nausea

·         Cyclical vomiting

Less common abdominal migraine symptoms include:

·         Dizziness

·         Drowsiness

·         Loss of appetite

·         Pale skin/pallor

·         Dark shadows under the eyes

7.       Retinal Migraines

Often mistaken for migraine with aura, a retinal migraine is characterized by loss of vision in one eye during the attack. This type of migraine is most common in women between 20 and 40. The 

primary symptom of blindness in one eye can last anywhere from a few minutes to several months; however, it is believed to be reversible.

8.       Letdown Headaches

Not quite a migraine, letdown headaches are a response to stress and happen after the migraine has already hit. They come on after a long period of stress, such as after work. In addition to your usual migraine symptoms, many patients often feel extreme exhaustion. Here are a few ways to avoid these painful occurrences.

Migraines are tough to diagnose, and many “lazy doctors” like to treat individual symptoms with drugs rather than try to find the core of the problem. If you feel this is the case with your current provider, it’s time to find a new one who can tailor and customize your treatment based on medical, scientific investigation. You are never alone. I help people all around the world with their healing journey, so if you need any assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out through my website or social media pages.


Medical News Today: The Difference Between Headaches and Migraines

Dignity Health: Types of Headaches: Symptoms, Triggers, and More

Healthline: 10 Types of Headaches and How to Treat Them