The term “migraine” is thrown around a lot. Some people use the term when they’ve just got a bad headache. But those that suffer with migraines know the difference, and to compare it to a simple headache would be absurd.
However, while the differences between headaches and migraines are apparent to both sufferers and the medical community, there is less certainty about the different types of migraines themselves.It is not surprising that, with a disorder that is shrouded in so much mystery, that there would be some more complex happenings inside the cranium of a migraine sufferer and that the extent of a migraine for one person is different to the extent of a migraine for another.
As migraine research continues to expand, several types of migraines have been categorized. For example, it now known that there is a form of migraine that is associated with women only and that the migraine occurs at the same time as their menstrual period.
Menstrual migraines – as they have been termed – show a clear indication to the medical community that migraines can be associated with hormonal imbalances. This, coupled with the information that mainly women and prepubescent boys get migraines and that they are less frequent in adult males – means that the female hormone estrogen may play a role in the cause of migraines.
Migraines can be more series for those that suffer with what is known as “hemiplegic migraines”. These migraines are actually genetic and are passed on throughout families. They are a subtype of migraine by which the sufferer can become partially paralyzed on one side of the body during the aura phase of the migraine.In these sufferers, it is common for the person to experience an aura moments before they become temporarily paralyzed in one side of their body. It is likely that the migraine and the dilation of the blood vessels are somehow affecting the motor nerves that control muscle tone and movement. As nerves cross over in the spinal cord, this means that activity on one side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body.
Other factors such as seizures and ataxia (the inability to coordinate muscle movements) can also develop in these patients. Rarely, these hemiplegic migraines can result in a coma.
Another form of migraines that is much more common is a form of migraine called “ophthalmic migraines”. These migraines involved visual disturbances such as lines and flickering lights in the visual field. It is likely that these occur when blood vessels in the visual field or the occipital field dilate.
Ophthalmic migraines are often wrongly referred to as “ocular migraines”. It’s no wonder that some people refer to different types of migraines in different ways.
There are many more forms of migraines being theorized about all the time. Due to the fact that migraines are still a relatively undiscovered area of medicine and neurological and sensory disorders are often difficult to explain or even comprehend, it is likely that the future of migraine treatment, research and understanding will raise more discrepancies.