Migraines begin deep within the brain. The current stimulates the trigeminal nerve. The stimulation releases chemicals that irritate blood vessels that surround the brain’s surface. The swelling initiates the pain response that is generally felt on one side of the head. Common migraine types are listed below.
- Abdominal migraines are felt around the navel and generally affect children. Family history is common. Symptoms include upset stomach, nausea and vomiting. Pain lasts from one to 72 hours.
- Coexisting migraine and tension headaches is a chronic, daily tension. Taking pain-killers more than 10 times a month, will encourage medication overuse and rebounding pain.
- Basilar migraine presents with an aura 20 to 60 minutes prior to the migraine. Young adults often feel pain around both sides of the brain stem. Vision changes include: dizziness, flashing lights, blind spots, and double vision. Slurred speech, confusion, hearing changes and loss of balance are common. Rare.
- Chronic migraines are classified as having a headache more than 15 times a month. Medication overuse is common.
- Complicated migraine is an outdated term but exhibits auras that lasts longer than the typical 20-60 minutes. This migraine may originate from nerve paralysis of the eye.
- Migraine with aura occurs when the aura continues throughout the migraine itself. Stress is often a trigger.
- Menstrual migraines occur when the hormones, estrogen and progesterone, change during a woman’s cycle. Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter that metabolizes differently when it interacts with estrogen and progesterone. These migraines occur before, during or immediately after a woman’s menses. Consult a gynecologist for menstrual imbalances.
- Nocturnal migraines occur during the night or into the early morning.
- Ophthalmic or ocular migraines can cause vision loss or blindness up to 60 minutes prior to a migraine. Auras occur during or after an acute attack. Consult an ophthalmologist to rule out eye disease or blood vessel disorders. Rare.
- Ophthalmoplegic migraines, though classified as a migraine, presents with symptoms pointing toward neuralgia. Pain surrounds the eyeball itself and can cause double vision. The migraine can last from days to a few months. Rare.
- Status migraine/sterile inflammation migraine is a migraine that lasts more than 72 hours. Inflammation around blood vessel walls is suspected to be the cause. Intravenous medications and hospitalization are often required.
- Transformed migraine begins occasionally but increases in frequency.
- Cyclic migraine syndrome is not a recognized migraine. Sufferers go through an intense period of pain and then a pain-free remission. The cycle can last 1-6 weeks.
For pain management, consult with a healthcare professional to find a headache specialist.
(Massage Therapy Journal, Summer 2013, p. 54-73)