Podcast: What You Should Know About Migraine Subtypes

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Migraines are disabling primary headache disorders.
Migraines are disabling primary headache disorders.

Migraines are disabling primary headache disorders. Even though there's a variety of migraine subtypes on the books, there are two major ones: migraine without aura (characterized with specific features and associated symptoms) and migraine with aura (transient neurological symptoms that proceed or accompany a headache).

Migraine without aura (also known as a “common migraine”) is a recurrent headache disorder where attacks last anywhere between four to 72 hours. The headache is typically unilateral in location and patients may experience a pulsating quality. These migraines are moderate to severe in intensity. Migraine without aura can also be associated nausea, photophobia and phonophobia.

Migraine with aura (previously known as “classic migraine”) consists of recurring attacks lasting minutes of unilateral, fully-reversible visual symptoms, sensory symptoms or other central nervous symptoms that gradually develop headache and associated migraine symptoms.

To diagnose this kind of migraine, a patient must have two attacks matching the following criteria: Attacks must first include one or more of the following reversible symptoms: visual, sensory, motor, speech or retinal; and they must also fulfull two of the following four requirements -- one aura symptom spreading gradually over five minutes or more and two or more symptoms that occur in succession; each individual aura symptom lasts five to 60 minutes and at least one aura succession is unaliteral; the aura is accompanied or followed by a headache; and the syndrome cannot better be accounted for by another headache diagnosis.

The PainExam podcast: Migraine Headaches- A Brief Introduction

Several other migraine subtypes include: typical aura without headache, migraine with typical aura, migraine with brainstem aura and migraine with aura that includes motor weakness.

It's important to note that some patients may experience a premonitory and resolution phase that may occur hours or days before a headache. Premonitory and resolution symptoms include hypoactivity, cravings for particular foods, hyperactivity, depression, fatigue, yawning, and neck stiffness or pain.

DISCLAIMER: Dr. Rosenblum is here solely to educate, and you are solely responsible for all your decisions and and actions in response to any information contained herein. This blog and related podcast is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of a physician to a particular patient or specific ailment.

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