There are two main kinds of migraine: Common migraine which is also called migraine without aura,
and classic migraine or migraine with aura.

Common migraine or migraine without aura

70-90% of people with migraine experience this type of migraine. Aura is a term used to describe a
neurological symptom of migraine, most commonly visual disturbances which are not associated
with the common migraine

Classic migraine or migraine with aura

Aura is a term used to describe a neurological symptom of migraine, most commonly visual
disturbances which are experienced in classic migraine.
10-30% of people with migraine experience this type of migraine.

Common migraine or migraine without aura

Common symptoms include:

Attacks lasting between 4 and 72 hours when untreated or unsuccessfully treated.

The headache is usually on one side of the head with a throbbing or pulsating pain which affects your normal daily life, which worsens when you take every day exercise such as walking or climbing stairs.

During this type of migraine, you will be likely to feel sick and may vomit.

You may also become sensitive to light (photophobia) and/or sound (phonophobia).

They may occur anything from once a year to several times per week.

People who experience migraine with aura will have many or all the symptoms of a migraine without aura and additional neurological symptoms which develop over a 5 to 20 minute period and last less than an hour.

Visual disturbances can include:

  • blind spots in the field of eyesight
  • coloured spots
  • sparkles or stars
  • flashing lights before the eyes/li>
  • tunnel vision
  • zig zag lines
  • temporary blindness

Other aura symptoms can include:

  • numbness or tingling
  • pins and needles in the arms and legs
  • weakness on one side of the body
  • dizziness
  • a feeling of spinning (vertigo)

They can occur from once a year to several times per year.

Can these migraines be treated?

Yes, chiropractors and osteopaths typically use a combination of hands on treatments including manipulation, mobilisation, trigger point therapy and soft tissue techniques.

Is manipulation of the neck safe?

Yes, and a question many patients have when they come to see a chiropractor or osteopath. The research evidence indicated a rare risk of stroke noted at 0.001% and is the same risk factor seem in patients who attend a GP for their headaches.

If we feel that there may be some other cause for the head pain, then of course, we will refer you appropriately.

Is the treatment supported by evidence?

Yes, chiropractic and osteopathic treatment has been shown to be effective in the treatment and prevention of migraines and this is supported by data taken from control trials and case reports and by the Advertising Standards Authority.


Bronfort G, Nilsson N, Hass M, Evans R, Goldsmith CH, Assendelft WJ, et al; Non-invasive physical treatments for chronic/ recurrent headache. Cochrane database Systematic Review 2004, CD001878 Nelson CF, Bronfort G, Evans R, Boline P, Goldsmith C, Anderson AV: The efficacy of spinal manipulation, amytriptiline and the combination of both therapies for the prophylaxis of migraine headaches. Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapies. 200, 23:91-95

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