Migraine Types


Migraine Types Overview

Migraine is a word used to describe a wide range of related disorders. They are the most common cause of daily head pain, afflicting more than 87 percent of people who complain of daily head pain. The World Health Organization ranks migraine as the 19th most common cause of disability worldwide.

There are several different types of migraines, which are diagnosed based on the symptoms experienced. Some are triggered by changing seasons or hormonal changes in women. Others only cause symptoms in the stomach.

The International Headache Society has developed one of the most well known classification systems for migraine and headache, called the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD). The ICHD-III defines migraine as one of the main types of primary headaches, along with other headaches types such as tension headaches and trigeminal autonomic cephalagias.

Specific migraine types recognized by the ICHD-III include:

  • Migraine without aura
  • Migraine with aura
  • Chronic migraine
  • Complications of migraine
    • Status migrainosus
    • Persistent aura without infarction
    • Migrainosus infarction
    • Migraine aura-triggered seizure
  • Probable migraine
    • Probable migraine without aura
    • Probable migraine with aura
  • Episodic syndromes that may be associated with migraine
  • Although the ICHD-III does not recognize the following terms as individual migraine types, some physicians may still use them in practice:

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    Different types of migraines are diagnosed based on symptoms, therefore all sufferers are encouraged to make note of each attack experienced. A good place to keep track of migraines and migraine symptoms is in your migraine journal. This is where you write down what you were doing before the symptoms surfaced, how long the symptoms last and how intense the symptoms were. A headache doctor or specialist will use your journal to determine what type of migraine you have, what your triggers are and how to best go treat them.