Skip to content

Migraines & Headaches Health Center

Font Size

Types of Migraine Headaches - Topic Overview

There are two main types of migraine headache:

  • Migraine without aura (common migraine). Most people with migraines have common migraines. This type of migraine causes a throbbing pain on one side of the head. The pain is moderate to severe and gets worse with normal physical activity. You also may have nausea and vomiting and may feel worse around light and sound. The headache lasts 4 to 72 hours if it is not treated. A common migraine doesn't begin with an aura.
  • Migraine with aura (classic migraine). Some people with migraines get an aura up to 30 minutes before they have a migraine. Symptoms of the aura include seeing wavy lines, flashing lights, or objects that look distorted. Other symptoms include tingling or a "pins-and-needles" feeling.

Other types of migraine headache include:

Recommended Related to Migraines/Headaches

Understanding Migraine -- the Basics

Migraines are a type of headache that cause severe, throbbing pain, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light (photophobia) or sound (phonophobia). Migraine headaches generally last between four and 72 hours. Many people experience certain symptoms prior to the onset of the head pain. Symptoms that precede and herald an upcoming headache are referred to as an "aura," and usually last under an hour. Symptoms of an aura include: Changes in your vision (even brief blindness) ...

Read the Understanding Migraine -- the Basics article > >

  • Menstrual migraine. Many women have migraines around their menstrual cycle. These occur a few days before, during, or right after their period. The symptoms are the same as those of common or classic migraines.
  • Migraine equivalent. Migraine equivalent is a migraine aura that is not followed by a headache. This form of migraine often happens after age 50 if you had migraines with aura when you were younger. The symptoms may include streaks or points of light moving across your field of vision.
  • Complicated migraine. These are migraines that cause symptoms such as numbness and tingling, trouble speaking or understanding speech, or not being able to move an arm or leg. These symptoms go on after the headache goes away.
  • Abdominal migraine. These migraines usually occur in children. The symptoms include vomiting or dizziness, without a throbbing headache. The symptoms may occur about once a month.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Types of Migraine Headaches Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Business woman with hand on face and eyes closed
    What aura looks like, triggers, and more.
    woman with migraine
    Get the truth about migraines.
    headache in the bedroom
    Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
    woman with hands on head
    Test your knowledge of triggers, types, and more.
    woman with migraine
    drinking coffee
    Migraines Headaches Basics
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Tired young man
    spraying perfume
    man with a headache
    headache in the bedroom