Migraine Headaches: 9 Forms of Pain & Misery

by The Atlas of Life on February 1, 2011

(Editor’s note: This is Part 2 in a three part series on migraine headaches and how Upper Cervical Chiropractic care can help.)

Migraine headaches have the ability to render the suffer incapacitated anywhere from hours to days. The pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea will floor the toughest of individuals.

Migraine headaches, however, don’t come as a one-size-fits-all condition. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so to speak. Today’s blog post will shed light on the different forms of migraine headaches sufferers may experience.

1. Acephalgic or Silent Migraine

Simply put, an acephalgic or silent migraine is considered a migraine attack without the headache aspect. If you remember, migraines typically have the four phases: prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome. A silent migraine may go through prodrome, aura, and postdrome, or it may only go through one of the phases.

2. Migraine without aura

Similar to silent migraines in the sense that not all four phases are experienced, this is a migraine attack minus the aura. This migraine will go through the warning symptoms of prodrome, but no visual disturbances that an aura will bring.

3. Migraine with aura

This is a migraine attack where visual disturbances do occur. They may take the form of flashing lights or zigzag lines in the field of vision, or loss of vision. Unusual sounds may be heard and strange smells may be smelled. There may also be tingling in the side of the face or in the extremities on the side where the migraine is developing, along with confusion and dizziness. Hypersensitivity to touch may also occur in the aura phase.

4. Abdominal Migraine

This form of migraine typically only takes place with children ages 5-9, although adults may experience it as well, though rarely. An abdominal migraine consists of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, pale complexion, irritability, and loss of appetite. Abdominal migraines are actually considered common, with 2-4% of all children suffering from one at some point or another.

5. Basilar-type Migraine

Basilar-type migraines are basically migraines with aura. However, the aura originates from the brain stem and affects both hemispheres of the brain, though no motor weakness is present. The aura of this type of migraine can last up to 60 minutes and can be quite scary, simply because blindness can be one of the symptoms of the aura. Basilar-type migraines used to be called basilar migraines because it was thought they originated from a spasm of the basilar artery, but are actually neural in origin. Hence the name “basilar-type.”

6. Hemiplegic Migraine

This form of migraine can be categorized into two types: familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) and sporadic hemiplegic migraine (SHM). The symptoms of hemiplegic migraines mimic the symptoms of vascular disease, so it can be difficult to tell the difference. The symptoms of FHM and SHM are a prolonged aura anywhere from days to weeks, hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body), symptoms of meningitis without the actual disease, confusion to profound coma, nausea, vomiting, photophobia, phonophobia, ataxia (impaired muscle coordination), and the headache itself. Sometimes the onset of this type of migraine can be so sudden, it will be mistaken for a stroke.

7. Retinal Migraine

Retinal migraines are characterized by five signs: they are monocular (only in one eye), aura-type disturbances in the one eye, temporary unilateral vision loss, one-sided headache lasting 4-72 hours, and there must be two occurrences to be considered a retinal migraine.

8. Ocular or Opthalmic Migraine

This migraine is considered painless and only lasts 20-30 minutes. It is characterized by a sudden visual disturbances similar to the aura that spread across the field of vision and give the appearance of looking through a cracked window.

9. Status Migraines aka Status Migrainosus

Migraines typically last no more than 72 hours. When they last longer than 72 hours with debilitating pain, it is considered a status migraine and is an emergency situation.

If you are someone who suffers from migraine headaches, or you know someone who suffers from migraine headaches, and you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, contact me here to find out how Upper Cervical Chiropractic care will help you.