Types of Migraine Headaches: A Guide to Getting Relief

By Dr. Erik Simms

Around 38 million people in the U.S. suffer from migraines. These headaches are usually throbbing or pulsing on one side of the head and can also cause nausea, vomiting, and light and sound sensitivity. They can be much worse than other types of headaches. But not all migraines are the same. The migraines you experience might be very different from someone else’s.

Types of Migraine Headaches: A Guide to Getting Relief

1 - Episodic

In this type of migraine, headaches occur about once a month for a few days. If you want to get an estimate of how much pain you’ll be in during your next migraine, check out this migraine pain severity chart.

2 - Chronic

Chronic migraines mean you have anywhere from 15 headaches per month to several per week. Many people struggle with chronic migraines. Some estimates say that 70 to 80 percent of chronic migraine sufferers rely on medication, like prescription medication or OTC painkillers. Taking too many painkillers can lead to dangerous side effects.

3 - Basilar

Basilar migraines usually occur when you’re in your 20s or 30s but can appear at any time. They are intense throbbing headaches that last for hours and are often accompanied by visual disturbances.

4 - Ocular

Ocular migraines, also known as visual migraines, can cause your eyes to become sensitive to light as a migraine headache. They’re often associated with nausea and vomiting and sometimes with dizziness.

5 - Menstrual

As you probably guessed from the name, menstrual migraines occur during your period. Some women may have these before or after their periods. They are often accompanied by vomiting or pain in the abdomen and pelvic area.

6 - Status Migrainosus

This type of migraine is one that continues for hours – or even days – at a time. It isn’t usually accompanied by a headache like a typical migraine, but it can cause muscle weakness and confusion for days.

7 - Ophthalmoplegic Migraine

Ophthalmoplegic migraines can cause temporary loss of peripheral vision and double vision. People who experience this type of migraine may feel lightheaded or nauseated.

8 - Hemiplegic migraine

While this type of migraine is not common, it can be extremely painful. The hemiplegic migraine causes temporary weakness on one side of the body.

9 - Complicated

This type of migraine has at least two of these symptoms: nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. They are also often accompanied by an aura, which is a flashing or bright light in the eyes or a loss of vision in one area of the field of vision.

Triggers and Causes

Both migraine and tension headaches have many different triggers. Migraine headaches are more complicated than tension headaches, which are more often caused by muscle tension and stress. According to the American Academy of Neurology, 90 percent of migraines aren’t triggered by a specific activity, although they do have triggers.


As we all know, migraines are one of the most debilitating conditions out there. If you have them, you know this. But, if you’re suffering from headaches that don’t sound like migraines, it’s best to talk to your doctor. Migraines are challenging to diagnose and treat, and you should never delay your trip to the doctor. There is treatment and management that will help you avoid future episodes.

If you have frequent migraines, visit a chiropractor for migraine treatment. Triple Crown Chiropractic can help you get rid of your migraines and find the much-needed relief you have been looking for.

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