Types of migraine and headache

Find out more about the various types of migraine and other headache – and how you could manage them better

Migraine is a brain disorder but it can affect the body in ways that go far beyond the typical headache. There are a number of distinct types of migraine, each with symptoms that can vary significantly. We’ve gathered together links to our information and resources on the various forms of migraine and primary headache below.

The experience of migraine varies greatly from one person to the next. Migraine is episodic in around 90 per cent of cases, and chronic (with 15 or more days each month) for around 10 per cent.

About one in five people will experience aura – which might include vision disturbances, or weaknesses in certain parts of the body. Most of those who do experience aura will do so before the headache, but some won’t go on to develop a headache at all.

In fact, although headache is a very common feature of migraine, it’s by no means universal – for some people, and children in particular, migraine can affect the stomach especially. Because abdominal migraine may be present without headache, it’s often misdiagnosed.

Migraine often occurs alongside other issues. Alcohol hangover headache, travel sickness, and vertigo are all more often suffered by people with migraine.

People who have attacks of migraine are more prone to headache than people without migraine, but not all these headaches will be typical migraine attacks.

There are also very many people affected by headache who don’t experience migraine. At the National Migraine Centre, we help people with these other forms of primary headache too, including tension-type headaches and cluster headaches, which cause very severe and disabling pain.

Our full range of factsheets, produced with leading headache doctors, covers many common forms of migraine and other headache. Find out more about specific headache types such as:

Our factsheets include so much more on different types of headache, including treatment options, helpful tips and expert information – check out the full range of factsheets here.

And don’t miss our award-winning podcast Heads Up, which covers all types of headache and migraine – you can browse the extensive back catalogue of episodes here.

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If you’d like personalised advice and treatment, book an appointment with the experts: review the best treatment options for you with a leading headache specialist. Beat the misery of migraine and get back to living. Book your consultation through the National Migraine Centre now.

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Heads Up podcast

Stay up to date on treatment options with Heads Up, our award-winning podcast series. Get the latest news and headache information on the go. Don't miss out!

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