Types of Migraines

Most types of migraines are broken down into two categories- migraine with aura, and migraine without aura. While all types of migraines are neurological disorders that often cause pounding headaches, nausea, and fatigue, about 30% of migraines occur after an aura, an unsettling phenomenon that causes stroke-like symptoms.

Migraines with aura


Migraine auras usually strike mere minutes before the actual migraine attack, although there are reports of people experiencing them a day earlier.

Not all types of migraines cause actual headaches- with “silent migraine,” you experience all the other stages of migraines, including the initial prodrome stage, aura, and postdrome (recovery) phase.

Patients of migraine with aura are twice as likely to experience heart attack or stroke, according to latest research. This serves as important distinction between types of migraines- if you normally experience an aura before a migraine, then you are a risk category for heart disease, and should include screenings for cardiovascular health during yearly checkups.

Symptoms of migraine aura include:

  • Headache
  • Sudden, temporary vision disorders, such as bright, shifting lights or crescent shapes, peripheral vision blind spots, or gaping empty voids
  • Hallucinatory scents, described as toxic in nature, or the scent of burnt paper
  • Unexplained exhilaration or the opposite- fatigue
  • Unusual cravings
  • Distorted sense of time or spatial awareness
  • Sudden speech slurring
  • Disorientation
  • Vertigo
  • Partial paralysis

Other types of migraines


Migraines can be further broken down into more categories, based on the symptoms and neurological reactions involved.

Basilar-type migraine is a term for migraine with neurological symptoms that start either at the base of the brain, or from both hemispheres at once. Basilar types of migraines can last from 4-72 hours, and often require 24 hours recuperation.

Hemiplegic migraines are migraines that include stroke-like symptoms, such as sudden partial paralysis, vertigo, slurred speech, and confusion.

Ocular migraine causes vision loss, blind spots, or flashing lights that last under one hour.

An acephalgic migraine (silent migraine) refers to a migraine attack that skips the headache stage, but includes the prodrome, aura, and postdrome stages.