5 Types Of Migraines That You’ve Never Heard About – Pain Doctor (2023)

Migraines are never run of the mill. However,certain types of migraines cancause additional symptoms. These symptoms can range from stomach pain to vertigo to stroke-like symptoms. We’ll discuss more about these five largely-unknown types of migraines:

  • Silent migraines
  • Hemiplegic migraines
  • Ocular migraines
  • Abdominal migraines
  • Vestibular migraines

1. Silent migraines: Headaches without pain

It’s an age-old riddle: if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise? Apply that enigma to migraines: if a migraine doesn’t hurt, is it really a migraine? If it’s a silent migraine, the answer is yes.

What is a silent migraine?

These types of migrainesare accompanied by many symptoms of migraine, but without the pain and with distinct visual symptoms. The best way to decode this medical anomaly is to look at the four phases of migraine.

  1. Prodromal: This phase, usually occurring about 24 hours before a migraine, is when the body tells the sufferer that a migraine is on the way. Patients may feel more irritable or confused. They may also be very thirsty or suffer from diarrhea. Only about 25% of migraine sufferers have this “early warning” system.
  2. Aura: There are unusual visual symptoms in this phase, and 20% of sufferers experience them for about an hour. Other sensory, motor, or language disruptions can also happen during this phase.
  3. Attack: Most familiar of all of the phases, migraine pain is usually throbbing and comes with nausea and vomiting. Sensitivity to light and sound also occurs, and this phase can last anywhere from a couple of hours to several (miserable) days.
  4. Postdromal: The migraine is over, but the after effects of fatigue and sadness can linger for a few days.

The following video shows these four migraine stages.

What makes a silent migraine different?

This is a general guideline of how migraine works, but it can vary from person to person and even from episode to episode for the same person. A silent migraine includes all of the above phases, minus the pain, and with a few extra physical symptoms.

Silent migraine sufferers may experience extremes of the following physical symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Food cravings and loss of appetite
  • Extreme thirst and frequent urination

Their visual symptoms in phase one can also be extreme. They may include wavy lines or floating dots, flashing lights, hallucinations, difficulty with speech, and tunnel vision. Silent migraine sufferers may also temporarily lose their speech, may experience auditory hallucinations, and may have a distorted sense of smell or taste. A silent migraine is a full sensory experience that can be enough to limit the ability to function. They can last anywhere from an hour or two to several days, just liketypes of migraines with pain.

What are silent migraine causes?

Researchers are beginning to look at migraines as more than just a vascular condition, focusing on the aura of silent migraine as a neurovascular event.

This means that silent migraine may have something to do with overstimulation and then suppression of nerve activities in the brain. This may lead to increased sensitivity and heightened or changed function in those areas of the brain that control the senses. The visual component seems to be the key to distinguishing a silent migraine from another condition.

How are these types of migraines treated?

Silent migraines appear to be triggered by the same things as regular migraines (i.e., stress, fatigue, food sensitivity, hormonal changes, or changes in weather) and can be treated in much the same way. Treatments include plenty of rest, preventative care, and regular exercise. MRIs may be necessary to rule out the possibility of a more serious problem like stroke or bleeding in the brain.

5 Types Of Migraines That You’ve Never Heard About – Pain Doctor (1)

2. Hemiplegic migraines: Migraines with paralysis or weakness

Hemiplegic migraine is known as a subgroup to a major migraine classification called migraine with aura. It is a very rare condition that only affects about 0.03% of the U.S. population. A hemiplegic migraine is, however, one of the most dangerous types of migrainesas it can cause severe weakness or paralysis in one side of the body, confusion, disrupted vision, and mimics symptoms that are similar to stroke.

What is an hemiplegic migraine?

The word hemiplegic means paralysis on one side of the body, which usually includes the face, arm, and legs and can range from pins and needles feelings to complete numbness. The most frightening part about this disorder is that it can disable a person’s ability to speak, which can be problematic in many instances, especially when a patient is receiving emergency care.

Migraines in general are complex and hemiplegic migraines are no different. Usually the actual migraine event is preceded by a host of symptoms, called auras, which can include problems affecting vision, speech, muscle control, and hearing.

What are hemiplegic migraine symptoms?

Typically, symptoms last between five minutes to an hour. The aura for this disorder, however, lasts longer than most other headaches and it is possible for these effects to last for a few days or even weeks. Symptoms for hemiplegic migraine include:

  • Severe, throbbing pain on one side of the head
  • Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Loss of balance and muscle control
  • Visual disturbances, such as double vision or blind spots
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Slurred speech or mixing up of words
  • Fever
  • Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting
  • Confusion

Hemiplegic migraine is an erratic disorder, and can have unique effects from one headache to the next. This can include the pain from the headache being minimal or severe, as well as the paralysis effects being mild to severe. There is also a possibility that these temporary symptoms, like loss of muscle control and coordination, could become more permanent although this is quite rare.

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What arehemiplegic migraine causes?

If these types of migraines weren’talready complex enough, there are also two variants of hemiplegic migraine. They are called:

  • Sporadic hemiplegic migraine (SHM)
  • Familiar hemiplegic migraine (FHM)

Familiar hemiplegic migraines are defined by two or more people in the same family experiencing migraines that include temporary paralysis on one side of the body. 50% of children born to a parent with FHM have a chance of inheriting the disorder. Furthermore, three distinct genes have been identified in connection with FHM: CACNA1A, ATP1A2, and SCN1A. Mutations in any of these genes can lead to a breakdown in the communication process for nerve cells, which can result in a disruption of the release and uptake of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. This is believed to be the cause of the numbness in the body as well as the headaches.

The less common condition, sporadic hemiplegic migraine, is defined as someone who has symptoms aligning with FHM, but does not have a family member or history of this condition. Many people with these types of migraines do not have a mutation in these known genes and it is currently unknown what the underlying cause is. Scientists believe defects in other genes are a possible cause, but have yet to identify them.

How are these types ofmigraines diagnosed?

If you start to experience these symptoms, consult a medical professional. This is especially important considering that other serious conditions also have similar symptoms. Since hemiplegic migraines are quite rare, it can often be diagnosed as stroke or epilepsy and it will be the first diagnoses that must be ruled out.

Hemiplegic migraines are diagnosed by running various tests to exclude other conditions, such as checking for blood clots and signs of stroke using a CT scan or MRI. Doctors rely on an accurate history and recount of symptoms as well, so make sure you have that information available when you see your doctor. Genetic testing can also be useful as it can help verify a diagnosis of familial hemiplegic migraine.

The International Headache Society has published a standard guideline that is widely recognized as the go-to for physicians. It states that in order for a hemiplegic migraine to be diagnosed, it must be a migraine with aura that includes motor weakness. It also lists multiple other criteria that can be found on their website. These include speech disturbances, visual symptoms, and sensory numbness.

What hemiplegic migraine treatments are available?

Treatment for hemiplegic migraines are very similar to standard treatments for migraines overall. They consist of using medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and narcotic analgesics for pain relief and calcium channel blockers to prevent migraine episodes. Occipital nerve blocks may also be suggested. Currently, vasoconstrictors are contraindicated since hemiplegic migraines are similar to strokes, but newer studies are starting to question this logic.

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3. Ocular migraines: Migraines with visual symptoms

An ocular migraine can be a debilitating condition that is also known by other names, such as retinal, ophthalmic, and monocular migraine. This disorder is identified by numerous visual symptoms that occur only in one eye right before or during a migraine headache. This condition is sometimes confused with migraine with aura, which has similar symptoms, but occurs in both eyes simultaneously. Ocular migraine is a rare disorder that only affects about one in 200 migraine sufferers. However, these types of migrainescan be quite limiting and potentially dangerous as theycan interfere with a variety of activities such as reading, writing, and driving.

What happens during an ocular migraine?

Those who experience an ocular migraine can have a variety of symptoms occur that include the following:

  • Attacks that occur multiple times creating monocular visual disturbances, including flashing lights (scintillations), blind spots (scotoma), or complete temporary blindness
  • Comes with a headache that tends to affect one side of the head with a pulsating pain sensation that amplifies after physical activity
  • Can induce nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound

The key identification symptom for ocular migraine is that the visual disturbances only happen in one eye at a time, however, the visual effects can migrate within the same eye. Furthermore, this condition does not show any identifying markers or symptoms during an eye exam unless an attack is occurring, so it can be quite difficult to catch.

Fortunately, the visual disturbances are temporary and typically only last between a few minutes to around an hour. Unfortunately, the headache phase for this condition usually lasts between four and 72 hours.

Ocular migraines commonly affect adults in their 30s and 40s, but frequently start during puberty. This disorder is also three times more likely to affect women than it is men. About 60% of ocular migraine suffers also report that they have other leading symptoms that can occur days to weeks in advance. This includes subtle changes in mood, food cravings, and a general feeling of tiredness.

What areocular migraine causes?

According to the research team from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, there is a genetic factor that may come into play for these types of migraines. Other studies have shown that up to 70% of people who suffer from migraines have a family history of this condition.

There is no conclusive explanation on what causes ocular migraines to occur. Experts have conducted imaging studies that have shown that changes in blood flow occur during attacks, but the underlying reason is still a mystery. There are a few common triggers that can cause those who are vulnerable to migraines to suffer from an attack, such as food additives.

How are these types ofmigraines diagnosed?

There is currently no diagnostic test for ocular migraines. The best way to diagnose this disorder is to have an eye exam during an attack. A doctor will likely be able to see the decreased blood flow due to the eye constriction and make a diagnosis this way. Since attacks are usually brief and somewhat random, this is an unlikely method of diagnosis.

The most reliable way to diagnose this disorder is through a battery of tests to remove other likely causes. A physician also heavily depends on symptoms divulged by the patient for a correct diagnosis as well as an accurate medical history.

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It is always advised to seek out a medical professional if you are starting to experience diminished vision or visual disturbances. This is very important if you believe you have ocular migraines, because these symptoms can be caused by even more serious conditions such as amaurosis fugax, sickle cell disease, polycythemia, or various autoimmune diseases. Once a doctor has ruled out other conditions, they are likely to consider ocular migraine based on your symptoms and International Headache Society standards.

How are ocular migraines treated?

To date, not a lot of research has been conducted on what medication will most effectively treat or prevent ocular migraines. There are many standard migraine medications that can be used to treat the symptoms of an ocular migraine, though. These include NSAIDs, beta-blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, and medications that treat epilepsy.

5 Types Of Migraines That You’ve Never Heard About – Pain Doctor (3)

4. Abdominal migraines: Learn the basics

Abdominal migraines are a type of migraine that mainly occurs in children and adolescents, although, they can occasionally be found in adults. An abdominal migraine causes chronic abdominal pain along with other symptoms, but oddly does not present with pain or throbbing in the head that is typical in other migraine disorders. This condition is important to be aware of because recurring abdominal pain is one of the most common symptoms in young children today.

What are abdominal migraines?

Abdominal migraines occur most often in children who have a family history of migraines and typically start between the ages of two and ten. It is believed that 2% of children get abdominal migraines and, according to the American Headache Society, 4-15% of children who present with chronic abdominal pain actually have abdominal migraines. Women have a higher frequency of being diagnosed with this condition and children who experience abdominal migraines are at a higher risk of developing migraine headaches as adults.

Symptoms for abdominal migraines are quite atypical when compared with other migraine disorders. Children who suffer from this condition do not get the classic headaches along with the stomach pain, but they also do not get any preceding symptom, called auras, either. In fact, the abdominal pain and other effects are most often severe and abrupt rather than slow-to-build before an episode.

What are their symptoms?

The main symptom that gives this condition its name is intermittent pain throughout the abdominal region that can be quite severe in intensity. This pain is usually not localized and is often described as dull or sore. The abdominal pain may last for an hour or as long as three days. Additional symptoms of abdominal migraines may include:

  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Pallor, sudden paleness of the skin most often located in the face and palms
  • Inability to eat

Whatare abdominal migraine causes?

The exact cause of this condition is not well-studied or understood, but it is believed that this disorder is affected by neurologic and hormonal factors. Researchers think that abdominal migraines may be caused by the changes in the levels of two chemicals, serotonin and histamine. Furthermore, genetics seems to take an important role, as up to 60% of children with this condition have parents with some form of migraine disorder.

Like classic migraines, abdominal migraines have various triggers that can set off an attack. Stress is a common example and includes things like anxiety and worrying, but overstimulation or high excitement can also cause an episode. These tend to vary from person to person, but the following list are common triggers among children:

  • Car sickness
  • Skipping meals or any kind of fasting
  • Bright or flickering lights
  • Excessive swallowing of air
  • Any strenuous physical activities
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Certain foods such as aged cheese, preserved meats, chocolate, and monosodium glutamate (MSG)

How are these types ofmigraines diagnosed?

Since the cause of abdominal migraines has yet to be discovered, there is no sure-fire test to diagnose this condition. This is even more problematic as the main source of information about the symptoms comes from young children who usually cannot distinguish between a normal stomach ache or gastrointestinal illness and the pain that comes with this disorder. Using child-specific pain scales can help.

Headaches are rare with this condition as well so the only way to diagnose it is to exclude other causes of stomach pain first. This is accomplished by running a battery of tests, including imaging scans and EEG. Doctors will use the patient’s family medical history to assist in making an accurate diagnosis. Finally, there must be no other underlying cause that could explain the abdominal pain.

How are abdominal migraines treated?

The main approach taken by physicians combating this disorder is to relieve any presenting symptoms, while also developing a plan that will help stave off future occurrences. Today, there is no specific medical procedure or medication that is used in the treatment of abdominal migraines.

Typically, doctors will use medications that are effective in other migraine scenarios. This includes typical over-the-counter drugs like NSAIDs, many kinds of medications that appear in the triptan classification, drugs that block the effects of serotonin, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medication.

5 Types Of Migraines That You’ve Never Heard About – Pain Doctor (4)

5. Vestibular migraine: Migraine with vertigo

Vestibular migraine is a type of migraine headache that adds a complicated symptom: dizziness and vertigo. The causes of this type ofmigraine are unclear, but there is a connection between migraine and the inner ear. The inner ear is the organ that affects balance and equilibrium.

What is a vestibular migraine?

For a person who sufferers from these types of migraines, their equilibrium is thrown off during a migraine. Instead of pain being the main symptom of migraine, dizziness is most prominent.

Other symptoms of vestibular migraines include:

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  • Vertigo
  • Poor balance
  • Muted hearing
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Extreme motion sensitivity

Any of these symptoms can lead to fatigue and nausea, but in general pain is not present. A vestibular migraine can last anywhere from days or hours.

Dr. Susan Broner, an attending neurologist at Roosevelt Hospital’s Headache Institute in New York City, describes the symptoms of thismigraine like this:

“Vestibular migraine is a variant of migraine in which instead of headache being the most predominant feature, dizziness is. Patients usually say that out of nowhere they got extremely dizzy and don’t feel like they’re on even ground. Some describe a spinning or rocking sensation. They have light or sound sensitivity and get nauseous or throw up.”

What are vestibular migraine causes?

There are several theories as to what causes vestibular migraine.

  • Blood vessel spasm: Vascular spasm in the brainstem may cause vertigo.
  • Changes in the neurotransmitters: As with most migraines, patients with vestibular migraine often have changes in serotonin levels.
  • Disturbance in the cerebellum: Changes in the metabolism of the cerebellum may be a cause of vestibular migraine.

Patients who are extremely sensitive to changes in sensory detail – sound, light, and movement – are more likely to experience vestibular migraine than any other type.

Women are three times more likely to experience any kind of migraine than men, leading researchers to hypothesize that fluctuations in hormones play a role in causing migraines. A genetic predisposition may also be a cause of this type ofmigraine.

How are these types ofmigraines diagnosed?

Diagnosis of vestibular migraine can be complicated. As with most migraines, accurate patient reporting is key. In the case of vestibular migraine, there may be a misdiagnosis of Meniere’s disease or benign positional vertigo. Dr. Broner pointed out that although these conditions share similarities, thesemigraines are not quite the same, noting:

“There may be an overlap between Meniere’s and vestibular migraine. With vestibular migraine, people are exquisitely sensitive to motion, but they seem to be more sensitive to migraine triggers like fluorescent lighting or drinking wine. All the migraine triggers affect these patients; vestibular migraine is a disorder of exclusion—you have to rule out seizures and structural abnormalities—so it’s one of the clues.”

In other words, vestibular migraine is often diagnosed by process of elimination. In order to do this, doctors take a thorough patient history that includes any family incidence of migraine of any type. They may administer a CT scan or MRI to look for brain activity that indicates vascular involvement.

Because this type ofmigraine can involve the areas in the ear that deal with balance, patients may be referred to an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) or an audiologist (to test for hearing loss or other symptoms of vestibular migraine).

What are vestibular migraine treatments?

There are two types of treatments for this condition: preventative, which we’ll discuss at the end of this post, and reactive treatments. For these types of migraines, many treatments during the attack phase include anti-emetics to control nausea and muscle relaxants.

Other treatments may include:

Vestibular migraine can be a seriously debilitating condition for those who suffer from it. Because it does not generally occur with pain, it is often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed.

5 Types Of Migraines That You’ve Never Heard About – Pain Doctor (5)

Preventing alltypes ofmigraines

Prevention is almost always preferred when compared to treating any of these types of migraines. One of the best ways to do this is keeping a food and activity pain journal to track possible triggers. This will also help identify patterns that can be used to avoid those triggers.

Common migraine triggersinclude:

  • Food, such as aged cheeses, caffeinated beverages, smoked meats, chocolate, and wine
  • Additives, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and artificial sweeteners
  • Strong odors, cigarette smoke and perfumes
  • Intense exercise
  • High altitude
  • High blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Flickering or bright lights
  • Lack of sleep
  • Emotional distress

Finally, minimizing stress is always an important step. Learning to manage stress through healthy lifestyle habits can be the key to minimizingpain. The following video gives more information on preventing migraines.

(Video) What happens to your brain during a migraine - Marianne Schwarz

Finding relief

If you suffer from any of these types of migraines, finding relief is important both for your quality of life and safety. While we’ve discussed some possible medications and prevention strategies for each, talking to a pain specialist can help you get the diagnosis and more interventional treatments you need to reduce your pain.

They may be able to suggest medications for your migraines. Or, they can discuss techniques like occipital nerve blocks that may relieve your pain. Any of these types of migraines can be considered chronic, as well, if they occur on eightor more days per month for more than three months.

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What is a no pain migraine? ›

Silent migraines, also called acephalgic migraines or migraine without headaches, are the types of migraines that do not involve the typical head pain. Instead, people with silent migraines experience other symptoms such as aura (visual disturbances), dizziness, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound.

What is the most common type of migraine? ›

Migraine without aura is often called "common migraine" or "episodic migraine." It is the most common type. Typical symptoms are a pulsating headache of moderate-to-severe intensity on one side of the head, aggravation by routine physical activity, nausea, and sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia).

How many different types of migraines are there? ›

The two major categories are migraine with aura (once called "classical migraines”) and migraine without aura (formerly known as "common migraines”). "Aura" usually includes visual symptoms like lines, shapes, or flashes.

What are the different types of migraines? ›

Types of migraine
  • Migraine with aura. A type of migraine where you have a warning sign (an 'aura') that a migraine attack is going to happen. ...
  • Migraine without aura. The most common type of migraine. ...
  • Chronic migraine. ...
  • Migraine with brainstem aura. ...
  • Vestibular migraine. ...
  • Abdominal migraine. ...
  • Hemiplegic migraine. ...
  • Menstrual migraine.

What are the most severe migraines? ›

Sometimes called an intractable migraine, status migrainosus is a very serious and very rare migraine variant. It typically causes migraine attacks so severe and long lasting — typically more than 72 hours — that you must be hospitalized.

What are atypical migraines? ›

Atypical Migraine, also known as common migraine, is a type of migraine that is not preceded by a sensory disturbance (aura). Clinically this type of migraine is referred to as migraine without aura. Headaches are generally one-sided and may be accompanied by nausea and other debilitating symptoms.

What are phantom migraines? ›

If you have a silent migraine, it means you get any of the typical migraine symptoms except for one: pain. Your doctor may suggest medications or devices that can treat the problem. You can also help yourself by avoiding your migraine triggers.

What is vestibular migraine? ›

With a vestibular migraine, the person may experience a combination of vestibular attacks, visual aura, or sensitivity to visual stimulation and motion at different times, and they can occur with or without an actual headache.

Do migraines show up on an MRI? ›

An MRI can't diagnose migraines, cluster, or tension headaches, but it can help doctors rule out other medical conditions that may cause your symptoms, such as: A brain tumor. An infection in your brain, called an abscess. The buildup of fluid in the brain, called hydrocephalus.

What are the five types of migraines? ›

What Type of Migraine Headache Do You Have?
  • Migraine with Aura (Complicated Migraine) ...
  • Migraine without Aura (Common Migraine) ...
  • Hemiplegic Migraine. ...
  • Retinal Migraine. ...
  • Ice Pick Headaches. ...
  • Cluster Headaches. ...
  • Cervicogenic headache.
9 May 2017

What are considered chronic migraines? ›

What is chronic migraine? Chronic migraine is defined as having at least 15 headache days a month, with at least 8 days of having headaches with migraine features, for more than 3 months.

What is a basilar migraine? ›

Migraine with brainstem aura (a basilar migraine) is a rare subtype of a migraine with aura that presents with symptoms originating from the brainstem or both cerebral hemispheres at the same time.[1][2][3][4]

What are Cervicogenic headaches? ›

A cervicogenic headache (CGH) presents as unilateral pain that starts in the neck and is referred from bony structures or soft tissues of the neck. [1] It is a common chronic and recurrent headache that usually starts after neck movement. It usually accompanies a reduced range of motion (ROM) of the neck.

What does migraine look like on MRI? ›

In some migraine patients, an MRI may show white spots on the brain. These spots are called white matter hyperintensities (WMHs), which are lesions in the brain visualized by areas of increased brightness. They can vary in size and location in areas of the brain.

What is a level 10 migraine? ›

10 – At this level, the pain is so overwhelming that people lose consciousness or go in and out of shock.

Can a migraine affect your whole body? ›

The entire body can be affected during a migraine attack, not just the head. From abdominal issues to cognitive impairment to sensitivity to touch, the malfunctioning of several bodily functions can wreak havoc on your entire system.

What do they give you in the ER for severe migraines? ›

If you have an intractable migraine, or status migrainosus: Your ER doctor may give you a drug called dihydroergotamine (DHE-45) as an injection or through an IV, along with metoclopramide. They may also give you valproate in an IV. You may need to check into the hospital for a few days of these treatments.

What's the longest you can have a migraine? ›

The headache portion of an attack can last from four hours to three days. An entire migraine attack—including prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome—may last anywhere from a bit more than one day to slightly more than a week at its very longest, though this is not typical.

Can migraines cause brain damage? ›

Many of the patients I see with migraine are concerned that the migraine attacks or the disease is causing permanent damage. To the best of our understanding, that's completely wrong. Migraine patients do not have to be worried about long-term brain damage. It simply doesn't happen.

What is Ophthalmoplegic migraine? ›

Ophthalmoplegic migraine is a rare neurologic syndrome characterized by recurrent bouts of head pain and ophthalmoplegia. The third cranial nerve is most commonly affected, in which case mydriasis and ptosis can also be observed.

What causes an intractable migraine? ›

hormone imbalances. stress. overuse of medicines such as pain relievers and narcotic drugs used to treat headaches (these can cause what are called rebound headaches) changes to medicines you take, especially hormone treatments like birth control pills, hormone therapy for menopause, or antidepressants.

What is occipital neuralgia? ›

Definition. Occipital neuralgia is a distinct type of headache characterized by piercing, throbbing, or electric-shock-like chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head, and behind the ears, usually on one side of the head.

What is a thunderclap migraine? ›

Thunderclap headaches live up to their name, striking suddenly like a clap of thunder. The pain of these severe headaches peaks within 60 seconds. Thunderclap headaches are uncommon, but they can warn of potentially life-threatening conditions — usually having to do with bleeding in and around the brain.

What is a kaleidoscope migraine? ›

Kaleidoscope vision is a symptom of migraine. The brain creates a visual illusion of fractured or bright colors, similar to those a person might see through a kaleidoscope. Migraine can affect vision in many ways. Some people see sparkling lights or blind spots, while others experience kaleidoscope vision.

What does a neurologist do for vestibular migraine? ›

Your neurologist may prescribe one or more medications that can help reduce vestibular migraine symptoms. Certain medications can help prevent migraines from occurring, while others can reduce a migraine that you are already experiencing. Diet modifications.

How debilitating is vestibular migraines? ›

Symptoms can last for minutes or days. And, they can knock you off your feet. “Vestibular migraines can be quite debilitating,” he says. “Even though there is not always a headache, the dizziness, light and sound sensitivity, and/or the nausea are sometimes quite incapacitating.”

Can Meniere's disease cause migraines? ›

Headache is infrequently associated with Meniere's Disease. However, migraine-type or similar headaches can occasionally occur in association with this condition. Headache with dizziness, loss of balance, ringing in the ears, hearing loss and gastrointestinal disturbance is a possible symptom of Meniere's Disease.

Can u get disability for migraines? ›

If you experience chronic migraine that makes it difficult or impossible for you to work you can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits. You will need to provide medical documentation of your illness in order for your claim to be approved.

Are migraines a disability? ›

The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees disability benefits. They don't list migraine as a condition that qualifies for disability. But they do recognize that migraine may be a symptom of a much larger medical condition.

Can a neurologist tell if you have migraines? ›

If you have migraines or a family history of migraines, a doctor trained in treating headaches (neurologist) will likely diagnose migraines based on your medical history, symptoms, and a physical and neurological examination.

How severe can migraines get? ›

The primary symptom of migraine is a headache. Pain is sometimes described as pounding or throbbing. It can begin as a dull ache that develops into pulsing pain that is mild, moderate or severe. If left untreated, your headache pain will become moderate to severe.

What can cause constant migraines everyday? ›

Conditions that might cause nonprimary chronic daily headaches include: Inflammation or other problems with the blood vessels in and around the brain, including stroke. Infections, such as meningitis. Intracranial pressure that's either too high or too low.

Is there an injection for migraines? ›

Licensed medical professionals treat migraines by injecting botulinum toxin into multiple areas around the head and neck. The treatments are approved for select people age 18 and older who experience 15 or more migraine days per month.

How debilitating is chronic migraines? ›

If you're experiencing headache more than 15 days per month, with at least eight featuring migraine symptoms, you should speak to your GP. Chronic migraine is hugely debilitating, but there are treatments available that can help you to manage your symptoms.

What is neurogenic migraine? ›

In the context of migraine, neurogenic neuroinflammation is defined by inflammatory reactions in the central and peripheral parts of the trigeminovascular system in response to neuronal activity [6].

Can MRI detect cervicogenic headache? ›

The diagnosis of a cervicogenic headache begins with a thorough medical history with a physical and neurological examination. Diagnostic testing may include: X-rays. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

How painful are cervicogenic headaches? ›

Cervicogenic ache is usually a dull pain that may go on for hours or days without relief. It may worsen depending on the cause, meaning that it's impossible to tell how long the pain may last. The headache may last for as long as it takes to treat the primary cause.

What kind of tumor causes cervicogenic headache? ›

Nasopharyngeal cancer can occur in any age group and is often misdiagnosed. Cervicogenic headache (CEH) is a clinical condition, putatively originating from nociceptive structures in the neck. A patient with CEH-like symptoms occurring as a result of nasopharyngeal cancer invasion is reported.

Can MS be mistaken for migraines? ›

Additionally, a doctor may also consider symptoms that are atypical for MS as a part of the diagnostic process, resulting in a misdiagnosis. This includes the symptoms of migraine. While many people with MS may experience migraine, headache isn't typically one of the early signs of MS.

Can migraine be detected by xray? ›

An X-ray isn't commonly used to diagnose migraine. Your doctor may order a head X-ray if you've had a recent injury or trauma to the head or face that may be causing headache pain. In some cases, doctors will use X-rays along with CT scans to get a better picture of the skull and brain. CT scan.

What scans can be done for migraines? ›

In some cases you might need a CT scan or an MRI. You might need one if your doctor cannot diagnose your headache based on your exam and medical history. Or you might need one if the exam finds something that is not normal. You may also need a CT scan or an MRI if you have unusual headaches.

How high are migraines on the pain scale? ›

People with migraines also reported moderate to severe pain-related anxiety. The 2017 Eli Lilly survey found the average pain to be 7.1 among more than 500 people with migraines, which is between severe and very severe on the VAS. Then there's the nausea scale and the scale for mental acuity.

What is a hypertension headache? ›

A hypertension headache is a pain, often occurring on both sides of the head, pulsating and getting worse with physical activity. The headache is typically accompanied by other symptoms associated with high blood pressure.

What is last stage migraine? ›

The last phase is the postdrome phase, also known as a “migraine hangover.” It's common to have a postdrome phase, but you may not. It doesn't involve pain like the headache phase, but it can cause its own symptoms for 24 to 48 hours after your migraine ends. These symptoms can include: Trouble concentrating.

What organs do migraines affect? ›

The result: The brain produces an outsize reaction to the trigger, its electrical system (mis)firing on all cylinders. This electrical activity causes a change in blood flow to the brain, which in turn affects the brain's nerves, causing pain.

What other symptoms can migraines cause? ›

A migraine is a headache that can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. It's often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

What happens if you have too many migraines? ›

Other Complications. Migraines can also bring on episodic syndromes including motion sickness, sleepwalking, sleep talking, night terrors, and teeth grinding. Additionally, migraines can bring on abdominal pain, cyclical vomiting, and vertigo.

Why do hospitals give Benadryl for migraines? ›

Benadryl can block histamine circulation and prevent migraine from occurring. Additionally, by blocking histamine, Benadryl can help calm the nervous system.

What is the ER migraine cocktail? ›

A migraine cocktail administered in the ER may contain medications like nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), magnesium, triptans, and IV fluids. It may contain other medications as well, as there is a range of possible medications that can be administered in the ER for severe migraine.

Will ER give narcotics for migraines? ›

Opioids and narcotics are commonly prescribed to patients with migraine, even though they're not as effective as other alternatives, and come with risks. “Migraine is often not recognized as a serious problem in the emergency department and patients may not get the attention that is expected or deserved,” said Dr.

What is a sinus migraine? ›

Sinus headaches are usually associated with migraines or other forms of headaches. Sinus headaches are associated with pain and pressure in the face and sinuses and can cause nasal symptoms. Most of these headaches are not caused by sinus infections and generally should not be treated with antibiotics.

What causes a migraine that won't go away? ›

Anxiety, stress, and mood disorders can trigger headaches that linger for more than a day. Specifically, those with panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder tend to experience prolonged headaches more often than those without.

Do migraines show on EEG? ›

Magnetoencephalographic studies of migraine patients have demonstrated slow wave-shifts (similar to those observed in animals with spreading depression). The EEG patterns observed in migraine patients seem to suggest a possible physiological connection between sleep, hyperventilation and migraine.

Do migraines show up on MRI? ›

An MRI can't diagnose migraines, cluster, or tension headaches, but it can help doctors rule out other medical conditions that may cause your symptoms, such as: A brain tumor. An infection in your brain, called an abscess. The buildup of fluid in the brain, called hydrocephalus.

Do migraines affect memory? ›

People with migraine may experience cognitive (thinking, reasoning or remembering) symptoms. People with brain fog or temporary memory difficulty with migraine will often say they have a hard time staying focused or finding words. These symptoms may be tough to deal with, but it's worth noting that they are common.

Do migraines affect lifespan? ›

Compared to individuals without any headache, no differences in all-cause mortality for individuals suffering from non-migraine headache or any migraine were observed after adjustment for confounding (HR = 1.01, 95%CI, 0.93–1.10 and HR = 0.96, 95% CI: 0.89–1.04).

What is a Acephalgic migraine? ›

The medical term for this is “acephalgic migraine,” which literally means migraine symptoms without headache. Except for the absence of a headache, the visual symptoms in acephalgic migraine are identical to the episodes that accompany a classic migraine aura.

What is Tolosa Hunt Syndrome? ›

General Discussion. Tolosa-Hunt syndrome is a rare disorder characterized by severe periorbital headaches, along with decreased and painful eye movements (ophthalmoplegia). Symptoms usually affect only one eye (unilateral). In most cases, affected individuals experience intense sharp pain and decreased eye movements.

What are refractory migraines? ›

Abstract. The term refractory migraine has been used to describe persistent headache that is difficult to treat or fails to respond to standard and/or aggressive treatments. This subgroup of migraine patients are generally highly disabled and experience impaired quality of life, despite optimal treatments.

What is an extreme migraine called? ›

Sometimes called an intractable migraine, status migrainosus is a very serious and very rare migraine variant. It typically causes migraine attacks so severe and long lasting — typically more than 72 hours — that you must be hospitalized.

Will a brain MRI show occipital neuralgia? ›

Radiographic imaging is of limited utility in the diagnosis of occipital neuralgia but is primarily concerned with excluding structural pathology of the cord, the spine, the occipital nerves or adjacent structures. As such, MRI is best suited to this task 1,4.

What are the 3 types of neuralgia? ›

Types of neuralgia
  • Postherpetic neuralgia. This type of neuralgia occurs as a complication of shingles and may be anywhere on the body. ...
  • Trigeminal neuralgia. ...
  • Glossopharyngeal neuralgia.

What is trigeminal neuralgia pain like? ›

The main symptom of trigeminal neuralgia is sudden attacks of severe, sharp, shooting facial pain that last from a few seconds to about 2 minutes. The pain is often described as excruciating, like an electric shock. The attacks can be so severe that you're unable to do anything while they're happening.

Can you get migraines that aren't painful? ›

A Migraine Without Pain? Yes, It Can Happen, and It's Called an Ocular Migraine. You might be surprised to know that you can have a migraine without pounding head pain and nausea. It's called an ocular or ophthalmic migraine, and it's a form of silent migraine – silent in the sense that it isn't accompanied by pain.

How serious is a silent migraine? ›

Silent migraines can impact a person's quality of life, especially if they are severe or occur frequently. Even though silent migraines do not cause pain, the other symptoms may be debilitating. Medications and lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms.

Are silent migraines common? ›

As common as migraines are, silent migraines are relatively rare. Only about 3-5% of people will ever experience a silent migraine (which is still a lot more common than many other conditions), but the common migraine affects up to 12% of people.

How long does a painless migraine last? ›

Silent migraine symptoms often last about an hour. Typical migraine treatments are often not effective because pain relievers or triptans often take longer than an hour to kick in. Luckily, the symptoms go completely away on their own—but they can be very disabling during that time.

Where is migraine pain usually felt? ›

During a migraine, you might have: Pain usually on one side of your head, but often on both sides. Pain that throbs or pulses. Sensitivity to light, sound, and sometimes smell and touch.

What are the symptoms of an ocular migraine? ›

Retinal migraine
  • Visual changes in only one eye.
  • Visual changes that last less than five minutes and more than 60 minutes.
  • Visual changes without a headache.
  • New headaches or changes in vision.
  • Onset of headaches or changes in vision later in life (after the age of 50)
  • New weakness on one side of the body or speech changes.

Are silent migraines mini strokes? ›

How Are Silent Migraines Diagnosed? Aura symptoms may mimic symptoms of other serious conditions such as ministrokes, strokes, and meningitis. For this reason, you shouldn't self-diagnose a silent migraine. If you experience signs of aura for the first time, contact your doctor so that you can get a diagnosis.

Are migraines considered mini strokes? ›

Stroke and migraine both happen in the brain, and sometimes the symptoms of a migraine can mimic a stroke. However, the causes of the symptoms are different. A stroke is due to damage to the blood supply inside the brain, but migraine is thought to be due to problems with the way brain cells work.

Do silent migraines show up on MRI? ›

Migraine has indeed been linked to silent infarct-like lesions (identified by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) regardless of clinical manifestations) [61–63] that may be triggered by vascular changes linked with inflammation.

What triggers a silent migraine? ›

Triggers for silent migraines are the same as those for other types of headaches. They can include skipped meals, skimping on sleep, specific foods or types of light, and stress, among other things.

Can silent migraines cause strokes? ›

Migraines have not been shown to cause stroke, but if you have migraine with aura you have a very slightly higher risk of stroke. This guide explains more about migraine, and lists some useful organisations. Stroke and migraine both happen in the brain, and sometimes the symptoms of a migraine can mimic a stroke.

How long is too long for a migraine? ›

How long is too long? If a migraine headache lasts longer than 72 hours without responding to regular migraine medication, the person may need additional treatment. Anyone who has experienced this pain for longer than 3 days should speak with a doctor as soon as they can.

Do migraines make you tired? ›

The symptoms of a migraine usually last between 4 hours and 3 days, although you may feel very tired for up to a week afterwards.

What causes migraines in females? ›

Dehydration and dieting or skipping meals may also trigger migraines. Hormone changes: Women may experience migraines related to their menstrual cycles, to menopause, or to using hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy. Stress: Stress may trigger migraines.


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