Migraine is a type of chronic headache. It can cause significant pain which can last for hours or even days. The pain and the associated symptoms (nausea, vomiting) can be very disabling which can make you feel like finding a dark, quiet place to lie down.
The number of times that migraine occurs ranges from one type of migraine to the other. Certain migraines occur anytime from once in a year to several times in a week.
There are different types of migraines that exist which were recognised when the International Headache Society came up with a classification system of migraines that has also been adopted by the World Health Organisation. These types of migraines include the following:
Migraine without aura: this type of migraine was formerly referred to as common migraine and Hemicrania simplex. Some common symptoms of this type of migraine include attacks that last between 4 and 72 huors when left untreated and unsucessfully treated. This headache may be experienced on one side of the head and is pulsating or throbbing in nature. You may experience that the symptoms of this type of headache worsen while doing every day exercises like walking or climbing stairs.
Migraine with aura: this type of migraine was earlier referred to as focal migraine, classic or classical migraine, hemiparasthetic migraine, aphasic migraine, opthalmic migraine, migraine accompagnee and complicated migraine. People suffering from this type of migraine experience neurological symptoms that develop over a 5 to 20 minutes period and last for less than an hour. These neurological symptoms include visual disturbances like blind spots in the field of sight, flashing lights, numbness or pins in the arms or legs, weakness on one side of the body and speech problems.
Retinal Migraine: this type of migraine involves only one eye. The person suffering from it experiences recurrent attacks at frequent intervals. Some symptoms include acute pain in the head with blind spots or just blindness in one eye among other visual disturbances.
Menstrual Migraine: as the name suggests, this type of migraine occurs only in women and is linked to their menstrual cycle. These migraines occur between two days just before the starting or finishing of the periods. The women with such a type of migraine do not experience the symptoms at any other time.
Abdominal Migraine: this type of migraine is usually experienced by children. It is characterised by recurring bdominal attacks that last anytime from 1 to 72 hours. Common symptoms of this type of migraine include loss of appetite, vomiting and nausea.
Some people with migraine can have sensory warning symptoms or auras such as changes in vision, such as seeing flashes of light and feeling pins and needles in one arm or leg during or before an attack. Others can experience premonition (prodrome) symptoms such as feelings of elation or vigorous energy, intense desire to have sweets, thirst or drowsiness for several hours or a day before the headache actually strikes. However, common migraine or migraine without auras is more common than migraines with aura. A typical migraine attack may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
There's no cure for migraines but several medications are available which can help to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Appropriate medications combined with self-help remedies and lifestyle changes can significantly reduce the frequency, severity and length of migraines.
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