Migraine is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterized by a throbbing headache, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. There are four main types of migraine: migraine with aura, migraine without aura, abdominal migraine, and migraine with aura of the brain stem. Migraine with aura (complicated migraine) is a rare type of migraine that is characterized by visual disturbances, such as flashing lights or zigzag lines, before the onset of a headache.
It can also cause difficulty speaking, vertigo, instability, and numbness. Migraine without aura (common migraine or episodic migraine) is the most common type of migraine. It is characterized by moderate to severe throbbing headache on one side of the head, aggravation from routine physical activity, nausea, and sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia). According to the International Classification of Headache Disorders, a person must have at least five attacks per year to be diagnosed with this type of migraine.
Abdominal migraine is a form of migraine that mainly affects children between the ages of 5 and 9.It usually does not involve a headache, although children who have abdominal migraines often have migraines that involve a headache when they are older. Migraine with aura of the brain stem (formerly called basilar-type migraine) has symptoms that can be confused with those of a stroke, such as difficulty speaking, vertigo, instability, and numbness. As with migraine with aura, these symptoms appear gradually before the headache of a migraine. A migraine usually lasts 4 to 72 hours if left untreated.
The frequency with which migraines occur varies from person to person. Migraines can occur infrequently or appear several times a month. Even if you have a history of headaches, see your doctor if the pattern changes or if your headaches suddenly feel different. If you have migraines consistently or experience one of the rare types, even once, consider seeing a neurologist who specializes in migraines and headaches.