Posts Tagged ‘Types of Migraines’

There’s a site that I’ve been watching in horror for a while now. It’s called “Migraine Symptoms Guide,” and is described as “Information on migraine causes, symptoms and treatments.”

One of the articles on it is “What is an Ocular Migraine?” I think we’ve covered before that the term “ocular Migraine” is used fairly commonly around the Internet, BUT when you see it, you’ll never know just by seeing the term what people are talking about. You see, it’s one of those “types of Migraines” that uninformed people talk about, but it’s not an “official” form of Migraine. For the sake of clarity, the gold standard for diagnosing and classifying the various headache disorders, including Migraine, is the International Headache Society’s International Classification of Headache Disorders, Second Edition (ICHD=II).

I held off on writing about this particular article because Teri Robert had posted a couple of comments, and I wanted to see what the response might be. The first time she commented, Teri explained about the classification system and pointed out another error in their article. They had stated that “there is no treatment for these Migraines. The author posted a reply thanking Teri for the clarification and saying, “We have updated the article accordingly. Indeed, they had NOT. All they had done was add a couple of sentences about preventive treatment, preventive treatment without any research to support it at that.

Teri patiently posted a second comment that not only said that they’d missed her main point about “ocular Migraine,” but went so far as to give them a listing of the types of Migraine outlined in the ICHD-II. As I write this, their article remains unchanged.

Enter Teri’s colleague at MyMigraineConnection.com, Nancy Bonk. On Wednesday, Nancy wrote a fantastic post, “Ocular Migraine” – Not, and Why Not. Nancy wrote quite clearly and unequivocally that there really is no such thing as “ocular Migraine” and why using the term is such a bad idea. Yours truly went to the Migraine Symptoms Guide site/blog and posted a comment with a link to Nancy’s blog post.

Now, here’s the kicker! I just read the comments posted to Nancy’s blog. There’s one from the person who wrote the ocular Migraine article! Because of Nancy’s post, she’s “totally reworking the article.” Yes! Good job, Nancy!!

There is, however, something a bit sad about her comment to Nancy. It’s sad that she didn’t heed the TWO comments Teri left her. It’s sad that she totally ignored those, and she only felt moved to do something after I posted the link to Nancy’s blog post.  Was it ego that made her ignore Teri’s comments? Is it such ignorance of the leaders in the field that she didn’t recognize Teri? Whatever the reason was, it’s sad that this article is still online. I can’t tell when it was first written, only that the first comment on it was posted on January 16. If Scarlett, who wrote the article, were genuinely concerned about its inaccuracies, she’d take it down until it was reworked and corrected. AND, if she’s serious about wanting it to be accurate, she’ll do better research this time. Oh, Scarlett, maybe you should try talking to Teri OR reading her book.

Now, I’ve spent a good bit of time talking about ONE article on Migraine Symptoms Guide. When you go to the main page of the site/blog now, you find the article, “Different Types of Migraine.” I wish I could say that article is better, but it’s not. It lists more types of Migraine that aren’t accurate diagnostic terms:

  • Exertion Migraine: That’s not a type of Migraine. Exertion can trigger ANY form of Migraine.
  • Ophthalmoplegic Migraines: Nope. Check the ICHD-II. It’s not there.
  • Basilar Artery Migraine: Has been called Basilar -Type Migraine for 10 years or so now, and the description is inaccurate.
  • Abdominal Migraine: Description is wrong. Says, “This is the only kind of Migraine that doesn’t involve pain in the head.” Absolutely wrong. You can have lots of different types of Migraine without the headache. When that happens, the DESCRIPTIVE term is “acephalgic” or “silent.”

If the people who write this site/blog were docs, we might call them “quacks.” I don’t think they are, so let’s just say they’re pathetically misinformed and don’t know good research from well… I won’t go there.


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An interesting site and blog I came across are at www.headache-adviser.com. The woman who writes and runs the site is a physician assistant practicing in neurology. She says she has “been specializing in headache medicine for over seven years” and lists other qualifications that make her an “expert.”

After that introduction, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about her and the site and why part of the title of this entry is “When ‘Experts’ Can Confuse.”

The answer is actually pretty darned simple. In “headache medicine,” most specialists follow the gold standard for diagnosing and classifying headache disorders – the International Headache Society’s International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd Edition (ICHD-II).

There are health care professionals who give diagnoses that aren’t part of the ICHD-II, which might not be so confusing but for one detail. They don’t use these diagnoses consistently. One of the most frequently used of these so-called diagnoses is “ocular Migraine.” It’s not part of ICHD-II, and you can find it online used to describe all kinds of different symptoms from a Migraine with a mild visual disturbance to a Migraine that causes full blindness in one eye to any Migraine that has the visual aura, but no pain.

And this is what’s confusing about Migraine-Adviser. I’m not even going to go into the types of headaches she talks about that aren’t in the ICHD-II, but here are some supposed types of Migraines she writes about:

  • Vestibular Migraines (She also says, “the name for this is just another name for vertiginous Migraine.”
  • Cluster Migraine Variant
  • Complex Migraines (She lists weakness on one side of the body as a symptom of “complex Migraine.” A check with a couple of Migraine specialists and researchers verified for me that the only form of Migraine with actual motor weakness as a symptom is hemiplegic Migraine.”
  • Ocular Migraine

Oh, and here’s an interesting side note. This “expert” attended the International Headache Society meeting lass month. OK. Well, maybe  she’s unfamiliar with the IHS diagnostic criteria and classification system.

In any case, the point is that it’s disappointing to see sites that could do so much good possibly adding to all the rest of the online confusion instead.


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Bella-logoI’ve never paid a lot of attention to Bella Online, but some of their articles about Migraines and headaches have been showing up on Google, so I took a look today. It grieves me to say that I was very disappointed. Yes, it truly does grieve me. We so desperately need two things:

  1. More sites about Migraine disease and headaches.
  2. For the sites that exist to be accurate AND well written.

It’s the second point, of course, that makes Bella’s Headaches / Migraines Site so very disappointing. Let’s take a look…

Is the site accurate? No:

  • On the page where editor Healther L. Robertson lists headache types, she lists Eye Strain Headaches and Sugar Headaches. Under types of Migraines, she lists Eye Migraines, Menstrual Migraine Headaches, and Nocturnal Migraines. Yeah, right. I guess Ms. Robertson hasn’t heard of the International Headache Society’s International Classification of Headache Disorders. The second edition of that document (ICHD-II) is the gold standard for classifying headache disorders, and she’s talking about diagnoses that don’t exist there. My impression? Amateur hour.
  • She discusses “Basilar Migraines, also known as Bickerstaff Syndrome.” She’s a couple of iterations behind on the name of this form of Migraine. For many years, it was called Basilar Artery Migraine, and it’s been called Basilar Type Migraine for many years now.
  • She lists “Cheese, wine and some common food additives like nitrates found in processed meats” as potential triggers for Basilar Type Migraines. What about all the other potential triggers?  All in all, her research on this article seems to have been very limited and perhaps flawed. Or did she research it at all?
  • Ms Robertson calls her list of potential Migraine triggers overwheliming when it’s not even very thorough.

Is the site well written? No:

  • The first sentence of Robertson’s Headache Basics article begins, “Allot of people suffer from headaches…” UGH. It should have read, “A lot of people suffer from headaches…” I could go on with the weaknesses in her writing, but it really isn’t worth the time.

Will I be returning to Bella? No. Not I. After looking at their Headaches / Migraines site, I won’t even bother to look at any of the others.

Disappointing. Very disappointing.


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What’s with people anyway? Why don’t they write about what they know about or at least do some recent research?

My gripe today is with a blog called “Skin Care” and today’s blog entry “What Do We Mean When We Talk About A Migraine Headache?” Beyond the fact that “A” in the title shouldn’t be capitalized, the writer hasn’t really done much, if any, research. The material in this blog is old, old, old, much like the one I griped about yesterday.

I’ll keep today’s post shorter. Here are my problems with this blog entry…

Migraines are fairly common and affect about one in ten people in America, or over 28 million Americans.

It’s actualy 12% of Americans, not 10%. AND that 28 million figure is very old. If you use CURRENT statistics from the Census Bureau, the correct number is 36 million American Migraineurs.

There are in fact two types of migraine, the first of which is called ‘classical migraine’, which is characterized by an associated ‘aura’. Here the term ‘aura’ is used to refer to visual light effects which are experienced just before the start of a headache including things like flashing lights and bright light spots. In a few cases a complete loss of vision may be experienced for some minutes before the onset of the headache.

The second type of migraine is a migraine without the prior symptoms of an ‘aura’…

Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. Classic and common Migraine are old terms. The current terms are Migraine with aura and Migraine without aura. Aura can have symptoms other than the visual symptoms. TWO types of Migraines? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Methinks this person doesn’t know about Basilar-Type, Hemiplegic, Retinal, and Abdominal Migraine?

I really think this person should stick to the topic of their blog – skin care. Then too, the blog doesn’t look like it’s really being written for information. It looks like it’s being written as a platform for advertising. But then, I could be mistaken.

Anyway, don’t waste your time on this blog.


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