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Types of Headaches and Migraines


Updated: January 9, 2008

Whenever people talk about or look for information regarding migraine disease and headaches, one of the most commonly asked questions is, "What is...?"

What Is or Are...

Abdominal Migraine?

Abdominal migraine is a form of migraine seen mainly in children. It's most common in children ages five to nine, but can occur in adults as well, and consists primarily of abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Acephalgic or Silent Migraine?

Many people are confused by the terms acephalgic and silent migraine. That's partly because those terms are descriptive terms rather than diagnostic. Simply put, an acephalgic migraine is a migraine without a headache.

"Alice In Wonderland" Syndrome?

The most distinctive symptom is this type of metamorphosia, a distortion of body image and perspective, which migraineurs know is not real.

Basilar-Type Migraine?

Basilar-type migraine has aura symptoms originating from the brainstem and/or affecting both hemispheres of the brain at the same time, but with no motor weakness.

Chronic Daily Headache?

Chronic daily headache (CDH) is headache, not migraine, that occurs 15 or more days a month. Doctors divide chronic daily headache into a number of subcategories that are further defined.

Cluster Headaches?

Cluster headaches are attacks of severe pain lasting 15-180 minutes and occurring from once every other day up to eight times in one day.

Hemicrania Continua?

Hemicrania continua is a persistent, strictly unilateral headache responsive to indomethacin.

Hemiplegic Migraine?

Hemiplegic migraine is a rare form of migraine disease, made more confusing by there being two variations: familial hemiplegic migraine (FHM) and sporadic hemiplegic migraine (SHM).

Ice Pick Headaches?

Ice pick headaches are stabbing, extremely intense headaches that can be absolutely terrifying. They generally only last between five and 30 seconds. However, they come out of nowhere, can strike anywhere on the head, literally feel as if an ice pick is being stuck into your head.

A Migraine?

Migraine has now been shown to be a genetic neurological disease characterized by flare-ups often called "migraine attacks."

New Daily Persistent Headache?

New daily persistent headache (NDPH) is characterized by continuous daily head pain, varying in intensity, and sometimes accompanied by migrainous symptoms.

Pseudotumor Cerebri, aka Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension?

Pseudotumor Cerebri is a condition in which the body either produces too much cerebrospinal fluid pressure or doesn't absorb it well, resulting in increased cerebrospinal fluid pressure.

Retinal Migraine?

Retinal migraine is poorly understood, partly because the term is often misused.

Status Migrainous

Status migrainous (migrainousus) is a debilitating migraine attack lasting for more than 72 hours. If moderate to severe migraine pain lasts more than 72 hours, with less than a solid four-hour pain-free period, while awake, it should be considered an emergency.

Tension-Type Headache

Tension-type headache is the most common form of headache, affecting nearly 80% of people. It is often described as "a band around the head."

Transformed Migraine?

Transformed migraine (TM) is migraine disease which began manifesting in episodic migraine attacks, increasing in frequency and changing characteristics, and resulting in almost daily less severe headaches punctuated by severe and debilitating migraine attacks.

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