Types of Migraines

Two Types of Migraines

woman suffering from migraineThere are two types of migraine, common and classic. The common migraine, or migraine without aura, usually comes on slowly, producing a throbbing pain that may last for two to seventy-two hours. The pain is severe and is often centered at the temple or behind one ear. Alternatively, it can begin at the back of the head and spread to one entire side of the head (the word “migraine” comes from the Greek hemikrania, which means “half a skull”). It is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and tingling and numbness in the limbs that can last up to eighteen hours. Ocular migraines, cluster headaches and tension headaches are often included in this group.

Common Migraine or “Migraine without Aura”

  • Most prevalent type
  • Usually comes on slowly, producing a throbbing pain
  • Pain may last 2-72 hours
  • Pain often interferes with daily activities
  • Headache often centered at the temple or behind one ear, but can spread to entire side of the head
  • Tiredness or mood changes may occur prior to attack
  • Nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, tingling and sensitivity to light often present

A classic migraine is similar to a common migraine, but it is preceded by a set of symptoms referred to as an aura, which can consist of speech disorders, weakness, and dis­turbances in the senses of vision, touch and/or smell. An aura can also consist of brilliant stars, sparks, flashes, or simple geometric forms passing across the visual field. The most common symptom is an inability to see clearly. Visual disturbances may last only a few seconds or may persist for hours, then disappear.

Classic Migraine or “Migraine with Aura”

classic aura migraine

Picture source: Anish Patel

  • Aura precedes headache and usually has a visual component
  • Aura usually lasts 15-30 minutes
  • Pain may follow aura or occur simultaneously
  • Symptoms similar to common migraine


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