There are many variations in the symptoms of migraine but they are generally classified into a few main groups. There are:
- Migraine with aura
- Migraine without aura
- Vestibular Migraine
- Silent Migraine
- Abdominal Migraine
- Menstrual Migraine
Migraine is usually pain on one side of the head that is moderate to severe in intensity, and has other symptoms associated with it. These features may include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to sound
- Sensitivity to smells
- Speech disturbances
- A feeling of having a “fuzzy head”
The pain of migraine is generally described as one sided and throbbing in nature, but in over 40% of cases it is bilateral and has neck pain associated with it. Pain that is one sided can swap sides from one migraine to the next, or even in the middle of a migraine. They will often get worse with activity.
The pain usually lasts anywhere from 4 to 72 hours and has what is commonly known as a “migraine hangover” phase once the pain has settled. This can last for 1 to 2 days.
Some people will experience just a few migraines in their entire life, and others will have chronic, repeated and complex migraines that will give them pain or symptoms almost all of the time.
An aura is generally a visual disturbance that varies from person to person and is though to be present for 15-30% of migraine sufferers. It will usually precede an attack and is often the first warning sign that pain is about to start. It can last for up to an hour. Some people will also experience an aura during the pain phase of the migraine.
Some people describe coloured lines, a feeling of looking through water or broken glass, blurred vision or loss of vision. It can occur in one eye or both and start centrally and move out, start on the outside and move in or just appear.
It has been suggested that Vincent Van Gogh was a migraine sufferer and that his painting “The Starry Night” shows the swirls of his visual aura.
An aura can also be sensory on nature with some people experiencing pins and needles, numbness, dizziness and disturbed or loss of speech. These types of aura are less common but it has been suggested that up to 40% of people with aura experience these types of symptoms.
A vestibular migraine’s main feature is dizziness (vertigo). It can be accompanied by head pain or can occur without any head pain at all. Common features also include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Disturbed balance
- Motions sensitivity – can be to movement of head, eye, body or even movement on a screen
- Disorientation and confusion
- Feel like the ground is moving
- Sensitivity to sound and / or light
People who get vestibular migraines can also get an aura. Symptoms can last from a few minutes up to 72 hours.
A silent migraine occurs when you only get the associated features of migraine but no head pain. They can have all the other features of migraine or just a few. Symptoms can last from a few minutes up to 72 hours and often have a “hangover” period afterwards.
Abdominal migraines usually occur in children and young teens but have been known to occur in adults in rare cases. As the name suggests in people who suffer from abdominal migraine the main feature is pain in the stomach.
In adults this pain is often severe and accompanies their migraine pain.
In children the pain will often mean they will go on to develop migraines as a teenager or young adult.
The pain will usually only last for 1-2 years and then settles of it’s own accord. It is more common in females than males and in children is more common if a parent suffers from migraines (especially if it s their mother).
Abdominal Migraine is difficult to diagnose and is often a case of ruling everything else out and seeing what is left. The pain is usually central and around the belly button.
Menstrual migraines are triggered by hormonal changes that occur as part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The migraine is most likely to occur in the 2 days leading up to your period and the first 3 days of your period.
While not all people who get migraines get neck pain, the neck can be a factor. Research has shown that a sensitised brainstem is the cause, or a large contributing factor in the pain of migraine. Nerves from the upper 3 levels if the neck feed directly into the brainstem in the area that is linked to the pain of migraine.
At Bayside Headache Clinic we believe that everyone who suffers from migraines should have an expert assessment of the upper neck to determine whether it is a factor in the pain of migraine.
If it is then we can provide comprehensive and highly skilled treatment to eliminate the problem and give you relief from your pain and symptoms.
Call 0423 071 971 to book an appointment today.