Migraine headaches are a neurological disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. These headaches can be debilitating, causing severe pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available for different types of migraines. If you’re experiencing migraine symptoms, the experienced specialists at CURA Medical Specialists in Sydney can provide comprehensive care tailored to your needs.
The exact cause of migraine headaches is not entirely clear, but research suggests that they are the result of abnormal brain activity that affects the way nerves and blood vessels interact. Certain triggers, such as stress, changes in weather, hormonal changes, and certain foods, can trigger migraines in susceptible individuals. Genetics also play a role in migraine headaches, as the condition often runs in families. To learn more about other neurological conditions treated at CURA Specialists, visit our Conditions page.
- Vestibular migraine: This type of migraine is characterised by dizziness and balance problems, along with the usual symptoms of a migraine headache.
- Migraine aura: Some people experience an aura, a visual disturbance that occurs before the onset of the headache. The aura may cause temporary vision loss, blind spots, or flashing lights.
- Ocular migraine: This type of migraine involves visual disturbances in one eye, such as temporary blindness or seeing flashing lights.
- Hemiplegic migraine: This type of migraine is rare but can be more severe, with symptoms that include temporary paralysis on one side of the body, vision changes, and difficulty speaking.
- Take over-the-counter pain relief medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Apply a cold compress to the affected area to help relieve the pain.
- Rest in a dark, quiet room to help reduce light and sound sensitivity.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, which can help reduce the severity of a migraine.
- Try relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to help reduce stress and tension.
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with migraine headaches. Prescription medications, such as triptans or ergotamines, can also be used to treat migraines.
- Lifestyle Changes: Certain lifestyle changes, such as getting regular exercise, practising stress-reduction techniques, and avoiding triggers, can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medicine technique that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body, has been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines.
- Botox Injections: Botox injections, which are typically used for cosmetic purposes, can also be used to treat chronic migraines. The injections help relax the muscles in the head and neck, reducing the frequency and severity of the headaches.
- Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be recommended to treat migraines. This may involve removing the muscles or nerves that are triggering the
Migraine TypesMigraine headaches can be further classified into different types based on their symptoms and characteristics. Some of the most common types of migraines include:
- Vestibular migraine: This type of migraine is characterized by vertigo or dizziness and may also include hearing loss or tinnitus.
- Migraine Aura: This type of migraine is characterised by visual disturbances such as flashes of light, blind spots, or zigzag lines before the onset of the headache.
- Ocular Migraine: Also known as retinal migraine, this type of migraine is characterised by temporary vision loss or blindness in one eye.
- Hemiplegic Migraine: This type of migraine is characterised by temporary paralysis or weakness on one side of the body, like stroke-like symptoms.
- Chronic Migraine: This type of migraine is characterised by 15 or more days of migraine pain, with the migraine episodes lasting 4 hours or longer.
Vestibular migraine is a type of migraine that is often misdiagnosed due to its atypical symptoms, which can include vertigo, dizziness, and balance problems. According to a recent study published in the journal Neurology, vestibular migraine is more prevalent than previously thought and is often misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed .
The study found that vestibular migraine accounts for approximately 9% of all migraine cases and affects both men and women equally . Symptoms of vestibular migraine can be disabling and may interfere with daily activities such as driving, working, and even simple tasks like walking.
If you are experiencing symptoms of vestibular migraine, it is important to seek medical attention from a specialist with experience diagnosing and treating this condition. A neurologist or headache specialist may be able to diagnose vestibular migraine based on your symptoms and medical history.
Treatment for vestibular migraine may include medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-seizure medications, and antidepressants . Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress reduction techniques may also be helpful in managing symptoms . In addition, vestibular rehabilitation therapy, a type of physical therapy that focuses on improving balance and reducing vertigo, may be recommended .
Vestibular migraine is a common but often misdiagnosed type of migraine that can have a significant impact on quality of life. If you are experiencing symptoms of vestibular migraine, it is important to seek medical attention from a specialist with experience diagnosing and treating this condition. With proper diagnosis and treatment, many people with vestibular migraine can effectively manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Individuals who suffer from migraines frequently experience migraine aura. The aura typically occurs before the onset of the headache and can include a range of visual, sensory, or motor disturbances. According to a study by Goadsby et al. (2017), approximately one-third of migraine sufferers experience an aura.
The visual aura is the most common form of aura, with approximately 90% of aura sufferers experiencing some form of visual disturbance. These disturbances can include the perception of flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots. In some cases, visual aura can also cause temporary blindness or hemianopia, a condition where half of the visual field is lost (Goadsby et al., 2017).
Sensory aura is the second most common form of aura and can include tingling or numbness in the face or hands. Other sensory disturbances can include difficulty speaking or hearing or a feeling of weakness in the limbs (Goadsby et al., 2017).
Motor aura is less common and can include temporary paralysis or weakness in one side of the body. This type of aura is more commonly associated with hemiplegic migraines, a rare subtype of migraine that is often genetic in nature (Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society (IHS), 2018).
It is not entirely clear what causes migraine auras. Research suggests that it may be related to abnormal electrical activity in the brain that spreads across the cortex and affects different regions of the brain (Goadsby et al., 2017). However, the exact mechanism behind migraine auras is still not fully understood.
While migraine aura is generally considered harmless, it can be very distressing for those who experience it. In some cases, aura can be an indicator of an increased risk of stroke, particularly in individuals who smoke or have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease (Kruit et al., 2004).
In conclusion, people who suffer from migraines frequently experience migraine aura, with visual disturbances being the most prevalent type. While the exact cause of an aura is not fully understood, research suggests that it may be related to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. While migraine aura is generally considered harmless, it can be a cause for concern for some individuals who may be at an increased risk of stroke.
- Apply a Cold Compress: Placing a cold compress or ice pack on the forehead or neck can help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with migraines.
- Try acupressure: Applying pressure to specific points on the body, such as the fleshy area between the thumb and index finger, can help relieve migraine pain.
- Practise Relaxation Techniques: Stress and tension can trigger migraines, so practising relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.
- Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can trigger migraines, so it’s essential to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
- Avoid Trigger Foods: Certain foods, such as processed foods, aged cheese, and alcohol, can trigger migraines in susceptible individuals. Keeping a headache diary can help identify trigger foods and allow individuals to take steps to avoid them.
Migraine headaches can be a debilitating condition that can interfere with daily activities and reduce the quality of life for those who experience them. While there is no known cure for migraines, several treatment options are available to help manage the symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.
It’s important to work with a healthcare provider to identify triggers and develop a personalised treatment plan that meets the individual’s needs and symptoms. By making lifestyle modifications, such as practising stress-reduction techniques, getting regular exercise, and avoiding trigger foods, individuals can help prevent migraines from occurring and improve their quality of life.
At CURA Medical Specialists in Sydney, we offer comprehensive headache and migraine treatment to help individuals find relief from chronic pain and discomfort. Our team of experienced specialists provides personalised care that is tailored to everyone’s needs and symptoms.
Contact us today to book a consultation and learn more about our migraine treatment options.
The consultation cost will vary depending on the service enquired, appointment duration, medicare availability and other factors. Please use this calculator to get an estimate of your cost on the day of your consultation.
At CURA Medical Specialists, we believe in providing compassionate and specialised care tailored to meet patients’ individual needs. Our team of healthcare experts includes experienced neurologists in Sydney with expertise in treating headaches, migraines and other disorders of the nervous system.
Our friendly care staff will walk with you from diagnosis to treatment to ensure you get the health outcome you desire.
You can learn more about migraine and headache treatment
in Sydney in the answers to frequently asked questions below.
A neurologist will diagnose the type and possible causes of your headache or frequent migraine to understand the best course of treatment for your condition. Our neurologist consultations will include a verbal consultation with you, a neurological physical examination and a review of any brain scans you may have had.
Neurological conditions that causes headaches include:
- Head injuries
- Disorders of the arteries and veins of the brain
- Sleep disorders
- Infection (many viral infections, including the common cold can cause a headache)
- Stress, anxiety and mood disorders
- Disorders of inflammation
- Raised intracranial (inside the skull) pressure
- Brain tumour (note: this is extremely rare)
The most effective treatment for headaches depends on the diagnosis, hence it is important to be seen by your general practitioner or specialist neurologist. Once a diagnosis is made, we can allocate the best strategy for your headache treatment.
The best therapy for migraine pain can be different for each individual patient.Typically prescription medicines. These medicines prevent migraines from occurring and can take the form of tablets, wafers or injections. However, treatment requires proper assessment to determine the best course of action.
Migraine is a condition that cannot be ‘cured’ in the true sense of the word. However, it is possible to significantly benefit from a comprehensive strategy to prevent migraine from occurring by staying hydrated, sleeping well and using a selected preventative medicine prescribed by one of our neurologists. If a migraine still occurs, other separate medicines can be used to prevent the migraine from gaining momentum and causing severe symptoms. In many (but not all) instances it may be possible to reduce the impact of migraines so that patients have very migraines and if any occur at all they are mild at best.
A similar strategy applies to other headache syndromes depending on the diagnosis. We may choose to either offer you an acute treatment (only when the headache occurs) or offer preventative therapy only or both. The goal always being to improve your quality of life.