Migraine type determines proper migraine treatment. Arlington Heights headache specialist Dr. Jason Gruss reviews the various types of migraine headaches. Migraine headaches afflict more than 37 million people in the United States. But not all migraines are the same. There are different migraine types. The International Headache Society’s classification system is highly regarded by headache specialists as a critical tool for diagnosing and treating migraines.
When it comes to migraines, not all are created equal. There are distinguishing symptoms that are associated with the different migraine type. The International Headache Society (IHS) has developed one of the most widely recognized headache and migraine classification systems.
MIGRAINE SYMPTOMS AND TRIGGERS
The IHS classification system is based on the symptoms associated with specific types of headache. However, many migraine sufferers also can identify certain triggers that seem to bring on a migraine attack. Triggers do not cause the migraine, rather they are often considered to be a factor in precipitating a migraine. Triggers can include diet, behaviors, and environment.
The IHS’s system, the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD), defines migraines as one of the main types of primary headaches. Specifically, migraines are further categorized into certain types. These include:
- Migraine Without Aura — Patients do not experience any visual or sensory warning signs. Approximately two thirds of migraine sufferers fall into this category which is why this type has been referred to as “common migraine.” However, attacks tend to occur more frequently and are more disabling for migraines without aura.
- Migraine With Aura — Patients experience other symptoms, or warning signs, before the head pain begins. Typically symptoms include vision changes or odd sensations in other parts of the body. This type has also been called “classic migraine.” This category of migraines is further divided into the following sub-types:
- Chronic Migraine — Patients experience a headache on 15 or more days per month for more than three months. In addition, the headaches exhibit features of migraines on at least 8 of the 15 days
Understanding the type of migraine a patient experiences is key in developing a treatment plan that will provide relief from this debilitating condition.
Since 1981, First Health Associates has been providing exceptional health care to residents of Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Elk Grove and Des Plaines. First Health is an integrative medicine practice that offers: Medical Care; Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine; Counseling and Behavioral Therapy; and Chiropractic Care.
Jason Gruss, MD, FAAPM&R, is the director of First Health Associates Physical Medicine Department.
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