What type of migraine do you have?

Dr Suresh Kumar, consultant neurologist gives us a rundown on different types of headaches and what causes them.

If you suffer from a migraine or know somebody who suffers from it then you know how debilitating the condition can be. When one experiences a migraine it can leave one immobile or non-functional for hours in the end. It is also believed that women suffer more from migraines than men. The common symptom of a migraine is a headache, however, it can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting or blackouts. We spoke to Dr Suresh Kumar, consultant neurologist, Fortis Malar hospital, Bengaluru to know more about the condition. He gives us a rundown of different types of headaches and what causes the same.

"The most common symptom of a migraine is a severe headache either on one side of the head behind the eye or all over the head. Migraines are classified depending on the severity of the pain and their frequency," says Dr Kumar. Broadly migraines are classified into two groups: Common migraines and classic migraines.

Common migraines: This type of migraine is also called migraine without aura. The symptoms of which include moderate to a severe pulsating headache that occurs without warning. This kind of headache is usually felt on one side of the head. It could be also accompanied with nausea, confusion, blurred vision, mood changes, fatigue, and increased sensitivity to light, sound, or smells. Attacks typically last 4-72 hours, and they repeat a few times a year to a few times a week.

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Classic migraines: This type of migraine is also called migraine with an aura. This type of migraine could lead to visual disturbances like blackouts, cluttering and blurring vision. These disturbances can take place about 10 to 60 minutes before an actual headache and usually last no more than an hour. Sometimes these disturbances or aura can be present even without a headache for long. Nausea, loss of appetite, and increased sensitivity to light, sound, or noise may precede a headache.

Apart from this the other type of migraines that can also make one sick to the core are:

Tension induced headaches: As the name suggests these headaches are an outcome of excessive stress and tension. It usually happens at the back side of the head and stays for a while.

Cluster headaches: These are the severe type of a headache. In cluster headaches, one might suffer from pain on one side of the head behind the eyes. They last for two to three days at a stretch. These headaches are usually followed by remission after the headaches stop. During remission, no headaches occur for months and sometimes even years.

Chronic headaches: They are often disabling. They are usually seen in people who suffer from one or the other kind of mental condition like depression. These headaches often worsen with stress. They could be with or without an aura.

Secondary headaches: These headaches have an underlying condition like a tumour, infection, viral fever or an illness.

Medication overdose: A lot of times headaches could be due to an overdose of certain medications like aspirin, acetaminophen, NSAIDS. These headaches are also called as rebound headaches.

How to manage headaches

To manage migraines it is advisable for people to stay away from their triggers. The most common triggers are pollen, hunger, strong perfume, fried foods, chocolates, etc. However, for people, migraines have become a chronic condition medication and therapies become necessary.

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