What are migraine attacks?

Written by rebeccah

We often talk about migraines when we have a strong headache but do we actually know what a migraine is?

Migraine attacks consist of a collection of neurological symptoms, rarely a headache in isolation.

Light purple background and an image in the centre of a pink and red animated brain with green and blue aura around it. White text below reads “Migraine awareness month”.

So what is a migraine?

Migraines are more complex than a typical headache, they are caused by hyper-activity within the brain – basically, your brain overreacts when it feels when it is overstimulated, resulting in a migraine attack.

What are the different types?

Migraines are categorised by the symptoms someone experiences and/or the things that trigger an attack, some of the different types of migraines include:

  • Migraine without aura (also referred to as a typical migraine): headache, nausea, sensitivity to light, smell and sound, with no additional neurological symptoms (referred to as an aura).
  • Migraine with aura: includes aura symptoms that involves changes to our senses such as blurry or loss of vision, sensitivity to light, numbness or tingling, confusion, difficulty speaking, dizziness, vomiting, abdominal pain.
  • Hemiplegic migraine: in addition to typical symptoms, people experience temporary weakness, numbness, tingling, and/or paralysis on one side of the body.
  • Exercise induced migraine: migraines triggered by a workout or sudden movements.
  • Chronic migraine: lasting for over 15 days.

What are the symptoms?

Headaches are just one of the possible symptoms of an attack… not everyone with a headache has migraines and not everyone experiencing a migraine attack has a headache!

Symptoms you may experience during a flare up include:

  • Severe headache
  • Aura (visual disturbances, numbness or tingling prior to the onset of an attack)
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Changes to vision

What can trigger migraine attacks?

Everyone has a unique experience, however, there are a variety of factors that can trigger an attack, such as:

  • Dehydration
  • Too much caffeine
  • Exercise – too much or too little, depending on the person!
  • Changes in routine
  • Stress
  • Poor sleep
  • Specific foods
  • Storms or heat
  • Bright or flickering lights
  • Loud noises
  • Strong smells
  • Hormone changes

Can chiropractic or massage treatments help?

Chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy can relieve some of the symptoms associated with migraine attacks such as neck pain, muscle tension, and jaw stiffness. With regular visits, you may even see a reduction in frequency of symptoms as stress and tension can be triggers for some people!

Book an appointment with us here or call us on 9651 5559.

Find more of our health tips here.


Migraine Australia. 2024. https://www.migraine.org.au

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