Weird Migraine Triggers, Symptoms, and Types

When you think of migraines, head pain likely comes to mind. But migraines can also feel weak, dizzy, or crampy.

Migraines can affect different parts of your nervous system — and they can appear in some surprising ways and from some unusual triggers.

Most migraines are usually divided into two main types: with or without aura.

Those without an aura are the most common. But there are other types as well, and their symptoms may not be what you expect.

Hemiplegic migraine

Does your head pain come with weak arms and legs? You may be dealing with a rare type of migraine called a hemiplegic migraine.

“You don’t feel like your limbs are heavy because they’re numb or clumsy—this is common with migraines. You’re really weak,” says Robert Kaneki, MD, director of the UPMC Headache Center in Pittsburgh.

You may have problems moving one side of your body, or you may have a facial droop.

Although this may make you worry that you will have a stroke, head pain is key. A combination of headache and weakness indicates a hemiplegic migraine.

Vestibular migraine

If you are out of balance and feel like you might vomit when your head is throbbing, you may have a vestibular migraine. You may have these symptoms without a headache.

“Vestibular migraines can be accompanied by persistent (vertigo) episodes or dizziness, which can feel like you’re moving or on a boat,” says Dina Corovilla, MD, medical director at the Westport Headache Institute in Connecticut.

You’re more likely to develop a vestibular migraine if you’ve had car sickness all your life.

Retinal migraine (optical)

Brief vision loss, along with seeing bright lights, can be a symptom of a retinal migraine.

Although vision loss from a migraine can be frightening, it usually only lasts 10 to 20 minutes. It usually affects only one eye.

Retinal migraine is different from migraine with aura, which can make you see flashing lights or zigzag lines in both eyes.

Abdominal migraine

Stomach pain or ache accompanied by nausea and vomiting can indicate a type of migraine that most often appears in children younger than 12 years old.

Although headaches aren’t part of the picture, doctors still put them in the migraine column.

Abdominal migraines in children can turn into true migraines later in life.

“They start with these variants and then that variant goes away and they turn into migraines that are much more common than abdominal pain,” Kaneki says.

Other types of migraine headaches in children that tend to turn into a typical migraine later include cyclic vomiting (a type of migraine that causes — you guessed it — several rounds of vomiting) and paroxysmal torticollis (a rare disorder in infants that causes head tilting).

Common migraine triggers

The most common causes of migraine headaches include:

  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • changes in hormones
  • Changes in the weather
  • Diet (caffeine, alcohol, certain foods, or not getting enough water)
  • a light
  • certain smells
  • Take a lot of headache medicine

But these familiar triggers only scratch the surface. Depending on the type of migraine you get — and the unique makeup of your body — your triggers may look a lot different.

Amazing Migraine Causes

These unusual onsets of migraines could be a cause for you:

sleep in. True, if you don’t get enough sleep, you may get a migraine, but if you fall asleep and sleep in the far day, you may also get a migraine.

“It makes the other dominoes fall,” Kaneki says. “You delay things like calories and caffeine in the morning.”

screen sticking. Spending too much time in front of a computer, TV or smartphone can trigger migraines, and Korovilla says the pandemic has made it more common.

“A lot of people work from home, and as a result, their screen time between work, social media and browsing the web has increased exponentially,” she says.

certain sounds. It doesn’t have to be loud to cause a migraine. Sometimes certain tones — sharp, vibrating or high-pitched noises, for example — can make their way into your brain and trigger an attack.

lack of tension Yes, that’s right – sometimes, calming down after a stress storm makes you ready for a migraine.

“It’s called stress reduction,” Kaneki says. “It’s not a busy week – it’s the weekend. It’s not the final – it’s after the final.”

Vaccines. Any type of injection can cause headaches, but fortunately it doesn’t last. Short-term side effects such as migraines are much less harmful than the illness or disease the vaccine protects against. If you are concerned about getting any vaccine, talk to your doctor.


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