Migraines are a huge health condition affecting Australia, with approximately 4.9 million Migraine sufferers nationwide! Despite being so common, most people are unaware of what a migraine involves, with many just assuming it’s a bad headache. Migraine conditions are considered a “Primary Headache” by the International Classification of Headache, this means that there is no identified cause of them. Under this classification, many different migraine variations are included, form; classic migraines to vestibular migraines and abdominal migraines. We have tried to provide some clarity of what these horrible conditions may involve.
Classic migraine is the most common migraine type. It typically involves a one-sided or alternating headache that’s is normally moderate-severe in intensity. Other symptoms, like; light/sound/smell sensitivity, nausea or vomiting, visual disturbances, brain-fog, or mood change are also commonly seen. It is normal for a migraine to last between a few hours and 3 days, although some may be quite short and some can last a lot longer.
Aura is another symptom that is described during a migraine. This is often a sensory disturbance that is noticed prior to, or at the onset of, a migraine. It may last up to 30 minutes and often acts as a pre-warning that a full migraine is about to occur.
Vestibular Migraine is often misdiagnosed as BPPV or other peripheral vestibular impairment. Because it isn’t frequently diagnosed, sufferers very rarely seek appropriate treatment. Vestibular migraines may include a headache; however, this isn’t often the most prevalent symptom. The main associated symptoms include; dizziness, lightheadedness, and vertigo. Accompanying these symptoms is often, tinnitus, pressure in the ears, visual disturbances, loss of equilibrium, and brain fog.
Vestibular Migraines can either be short episodes of a few hours, or longer events that can take weeks to settle. Given how debilitating the symptoms can be, quality of life is often hugely impacted for these people.
Similar to Vestibular Migraines, headache isn’t the most noticeable symptom of Abdominal Migraines. They typically affect children more than adults, with the typical age being between 3 and 10 years. They are experienced as bouts of the stomach or umbilical pain, that may or may not include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. As these symptoms are common in children, they are often left undiagnosed or explained as food intolerance or IBS.
Children typically grow out of their abdominal migraines; however, research has shown that they are likely to go on to experience regular migraines as an adult.
Another variation of migraine is ‘Silent Migraine’. As opposed to your typical migraine, where the pain is a predominant symptom, Silent migraines are a close to painless condition. The symptoms tend to include; light/sound/smell sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, and brain fog. Sufferers may also experience an aura or visual disturbances prior to or during their migraines. As the misconception is that migraines will always involve pain, a lot of sufferers have no clue that they have actually been experiencing migraines!
Given how varied and difficult to diagnose migraines can be, it can be really hard to find the right treatment. Fortunately, modern research is starting to show that sensitivity at your brainstem could be the underlying cause for all of these migraine conditions. Getting the correct diagnosis is critical, so seeing a trained headache professional regarding your symptoms could be the first step towards living a life free from migraines!
If you feel like we can help, give us a call on 1800 HEADACHE (43 23 22) or book online at https://brisbanemigraine.com.au/ today.