Migraine Headaches: Frequently Misdiagnosed

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Migraine Headaches: Frequently Misdiagnosed

Migraine headaches are very common and affect about 18% of women and 9% of men at some point in their lives. 10660234_283144548559282_6427140708830751137_nHowever, this common illness is often misdiagnosed as “tension headache”, “sinus headache”, or allergy. Here are some of the characteristics of migraines that help differentiate them from other headache syndromes:

  1. Unilateral headache. A headache that is primarily on one side only, or “unilateral”, is very typical of migraine, but not typical of other headache types.
  2. Throbbing. Headaches that throb, or pulse with the heartbeat are more often migraine.
  3. Photophobia. Light sensitivity is very common in migraine, but very uncommon in other headaches. Patients often report that light, especially outdoor light, is very bothersome during a headache. FL-41 tint was specifically engineered for migraine patients with light sensitivity.
  4. Photophobia. Sound sensitivity is also common during a migraine. Even the regular sound of the TV can be irritating during a headache.
  5. Nausea and Vomiting. Nausea, even if mild, is more likely to be associated with a migraine than with other headache types.
  6. Car Sickness. Adults with migraine often have a history of being carsick or motion sick as children.

Note that headache severity is not one of the criteria! Although migraines can be severe, they run on a spectrum – Some people have mild migraines – they might not even take an aspirin for it. Others have severe headaches that land them in the local emergency room. Most migraines are somewhere in-between.

If you think you have migraines, you should discuss it with your primary care physician. He/she can help make the correct diagnosis and guide you toward appropriate medical and non-medical therapy.

Sources:
*Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society. Classification and diagnostic criteria for headache disorders, cranial neuralgia and facial pain. Cephalgia 1988; 8(Suppl. 7): 1-96.
*Headache in Clinical Practice. S D Silberstein, R B Lipton, P J Goadsby (eds). Mosby-Year Book Inc., St Louis, MO. 1998.
*Cuomo-Granston A, Drummond PD. Migraine and motion sickness: Prog Neurobiol 2010. 91:300-12.

 

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3 thoughts on “Migraine Headaches: Frequently Misdiagnosed

  1. Headacheslayer says:

    The diagnosis of migraine is difficult since there aren’t any tests to differentiate between different types of headaches and migraines. I probably have a handful of migraine types that are vastly different.

    There are so many misconceptions about migraine as well–it is not a headache, it is a disease process, which makes it even more difficult to treat.

    I have had to go to the ER before for severe and status migraines (migraines that last longer than the typical 72 hrs). My longest migraine was 16 days. I was lucky to have found good doctors–many migraineurs get treated as “drug seeking”.

  2. Mike Lebek says:

    I have all these symptoms, I got Lasik done at LASIKMD and it has been a nightmare, I warn you not to go get this done. But, since then Ive tried to cure myself since no doctors have been able to do anythign so they have all brushed me aside. Im thankful for finding these lenses. I tried Therespecs, which seemed way to dark. My ideal lens would be one where an outsider couldnt tell they were tinted. I got lasik because i was trying to imporve my look, well now I always wear a hat and tinted glasses.

    Anyways my throbbing and nausea have decreased a lot, and I chose the wrap 7c and help retain moisture and block overhead and side lights which always seem to sneak up and cause pain.

    • Lori Glover says:

      Thank you for sharing and participating in the conversation. Our indoor lenses are not too dark and are safe for inside activities without causing dark adaptation. We are so glad our product is effective for you.

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