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Different Types of Migraines

While a migraine or headache may seem like a common occurrence, there are actually many different causes and types of migraines with varying levels of pain. What treatment will be best for you may depend on the migraine type?

What is a Migraine

A migraine is a common neurological disorder that is often described as an incredibly painful headache. It is also often accompanied by nausea and eye pain. While there is not currently a cure for migraines, there are ways that sufferers can achieve relief and continue with their normal lives, one of these forms of management is medical cannabis.

Some people begin getting migraines in childhood, but it often appears in those in their 20s or 30s. However different migraine types affect patients in different stages of life.

Migraine types

There are many types of migraines, but the two main categories are migraines with or without aura, but it is possible for a person to suffer from both types. Understanding what kind of migraine you get can help you manage your symptoms and know what might actually be causing them, so it is a good idea to figure out what type of migraine you suffer from.

Migraine without aura

  • Most people who suffer from migraines won’t experience an aura with their headaches. In order to determine if you are getting this kind of migraine, you will have experienced at least five migraine attacks that have the below characteristics.
  • Attack usually lasts 4 to 72 hours without treatment
  • Attack has at least two of these traits:
    • It occurs only on one side of the head
    • Pain is pulsating or throbbing
    • Pain level is moderate or severe
    • Pain gets worse when you move, like when walking or climbing stairs
  • Attack has at least one of these traits:
    • It makes you sensitive to light
    • It makes you sensitive to sound
    • You experience nausea with or without vomiting or diarrhea
  • Attack isn’t caused by another health problem or diagnosis

Migraine with aura

An aura typically affects around 25% of people who experience migraines. To categorize a migraine with aura, you should have had at least two attacks with multiple of the following characteristics:

  • an aura that includes at least one of these symptoms lasting five minutes or longer:
  • visual problems (such as seeing lights, or fuzziness)
  • sensory problems of the body, face, or tongue, like numbness, tingling, or dizziness
  • speech or language problems
  • Bodily weakness
  • at least one symptom of the aura is only on one side of the head, including vision, speech, or language problems
  • An aura usually occurs before the headache pain begins, but it can continue once the attack starts.

Experiencing aura symptoms is usually a good indication that a migraine is incoming.

Chronic migraine

Chronic migraine specifically describes an ache with the features of both a migraine and a tension headache and happens more frequently. These migraines generally occur more than 15 days a month for 3 months or more. Unlike standard migraines, chronic migraines may often be a result of additional risk factors including:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • another type of chronic pain, like arthritis
  • high blood pressure
  • previous head or neck injuries
  • other serious health problems

Migraine Treatment

There currently isn’t a cure for migraine and managing the condition often isn’t as simple as taking medication. Many who experience migraines will find that standard pain medication is not able to fully relieve migraine symptoms even if they are able to mitigate the pain a little. So generally, treatment is a case of each individual developing a migraine management plan that will likely involve lifestyle modifications, medication and complementary therapies.

If you are unsure about the cause or nature of your headache, or if your symptoms change, it is important you consult a doctor. They will be able to diagnose what kind of migraine you are suffering from and what the best options for pain management may be. Here are some of the most common ways to treat migraines.

  • Aspirin
  • Paracetamol
  • Anti-nausea medications
  • Hydration
  • Bedrest in a dark room

Medical cannabis for migraine is also a good way to manage the symptoms associated with migraine, especially pain. Medical cannabis is able to stop pain receptors from sending signals to the brain, relieving the pain that you may suffer from. It can also encourage sleep which is helpful for those who experience insomnia with migraine. If you think medical cannabis may be of benefit to you, speak with your doctor for a discussion on eligibility and the prescription process.

So if you experience migraines, take some time to try and determine what kind of migraine you are suffering from to learn what the best prevention methods may be. If you are getting migraines multiple times a month, always speak with your doctor to ensure that there aren’t any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the pain.



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