Migraine Types: Migraine without Aura
Migraine without aura, or “common” migraine, consists of a moderate to severe headache with a gradual onset that causes some degree of disability with associated symptoms.
The symptoms may include:
Unilateral vs Bilateral
Many patients report that the migraine headache is typically on one side of the head or the other (unilateral). However, migraine headaches can be bilateral or all over the head (generalized).
Varying Sensations of Pain
Some patients may experience a migraine headache as a pounding, throbbing, or pulsating pain, whereas others may describe the pain as pressure. The headache may cause a sharp, stabbing pain or a dull ache that often becomes worse with routine activity. Some patients have trouble describing the quality of the pain. It is important to note that migraine is a constellation of symptoms and that migraine symptoms vary not only from person to person, but also within each individual.
For some patients, various events or “triggers” can bring on a migraine attack. For example, 70% of women with migraine report a menstrual association with their migraine headaches. (Migraines associated with menstruation are called menstrually associated migraine, or menstrual migraine for short.) Other patients report weather changes, food sensitivities, loud noises, and a wide variety of other migraine triggers. Remember, every individual migraine patient may experience different migraine symptoms and triggers.
Without an Aura
In migraine without aura, there are no significant visual disturbances, sensory symptoms, motor deficits, speech/language deficits, or decreased level of consciousness.
Established Pattern of Attacks
In order to be officially diagnosed with migraine without aura, a person must have a history of at least 5 attacks. If seeking a diagnosis with a healthcare professional, and there have been less than 5 attacks in the past, the individual can be diagnosed with probable migraine if they meet the criteria and there is no other underlying cause for the headaches.