5 reasons a migraine isn

5 Reasons a Migraine isn’t “Just a Headache”

Migraine.com infographic

Those of us with migraines know they are more than “just a headache” — but we often find ourselves explaining the differences to others.

This infographic points out the most obvious differences between migraines and other headache types. Use the Pinterest or Facebook buttons at the top of the page to share this information with others.

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Comments

View Comments (34)
  • QueenB
    5 years ago

    My morning started at 6:00 a.m.with a migraine accompanied with severe neck
    pain. It is now 6:15 p.m. The pain in my head has dissipated, but the neck pain is very present and uncomfortable. I have taken 3 Fiorinol during the course of this particular episode. I could not leave the house today without my heatpad. The heatpad on low does provide some comfort.

    I have an appointment with the North Carolina Headache Institute on April 1st. I can hardly wait. I have been a migraine sufferer since I was 15 years old. I took Topamax for years. It caused some short term memory issues.

    My grandmother SUFFERED with migraines in a dark room while tears rolled down her cheeks. My mom never had a headache. My daughter has migraines with vertigo. She is a health care provider who is trying to interest me in Botox. I will wait and see what the Headache institute suggests. Meanwhile the two of us just coast along with the millions of others in the same boat. By the way, grandmother”s headaches would just start without any apparent trigger. My daughter does not recognize any particular trigger, nor do I. Sometimes I feel it may be the sun and therefore where sunglasses all year long if the sun is extremely bright. Also is a room is extremely bright.

    QueenB

  • MaggieG
    6 years ago

    Julie,
    I sympathize. I had this situation in my late teens and twenties when in college. Every Sunday at 2pm I got a migraine, regardless of attempts to avoid all know triggers. My neurologist prescrbed a low dosage of an old seizure med ( white capsule with an orange strip) for several months. It broke the cluster and I would be able to stop taking it. I found that if I was sabataged with food triggers several times in a week the cluster might return and I would need the daily med for several weeks. My experienced guess is that you are getting regularly sabataged by something that you think is safe like a sugar substitute or a med that contains a preserative that induces the headaches. Even a vitamin with extra ingredients. Look for something like this. Good luck.
    Maggie G

  • Julie
    6 years ago

    My Neurologist who specializes in Migraines (he suffers from them too so I get the empathy that was lacking in the other Neuro’s and Headache Sepcialists) said I have Intractible Migraines, not from medication rebound but he believes I also have Cluster in the mix also as some of mine are so severe and intense and occur on the LH side only, the eye waters and eyelid droops, the stabbing pain is so intense I call it jackhammer because there is no way an ice pick is that intense and at it’s most severe I cannot be still, I’m either rocking, pacing or wanting to ram my head into the wall. I’ll do the Abortive nasal spray and oxygen for 15 min, then I might heave ho in the toilet thinking my eye will pop out, but after about an hour or so the very intense stabbing pain will die down some to where I can lie down and try ice packs and meditation. Have you heard of this combo type headache before? I’ve tried looking it up and I got stumped because there is no info on it. But my eye will actually ache for a day or two fron the intensity of it.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    Ingurita,

    Cluster headaches are some of the most painful type of headaches out there. I’m real sorry to hear you have them. Unfortunately it is possible to have more than one type of migraine and/or headache disorder. Let me give you a site that has tons of support only for cluster headaches http://clusterbustorg.com/.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk moderator
    6 years ago

    And please let us know if there is anything we can do for you on your new journey into cluster headache (and of course migraine) education and support.

  • Ingurita
    6 years ago

    Thank you for the link Nancy, I do appreciate it as now I will need to learn about cluster headaches too.

  • Ingurita
    6 years ago

    Well I have something worse than chronic migraines with aura… yesterday I went to my neurologist again because “the pain of death” as I used to call it when I was a child came back (and I used to have them very often by then). I have chronic migraines with aura “and” cluster headaches… I didn’t even know that was possible, but it is. Now it should be time to win the lottery! I can’t be this lucky only with painful thing, good things should come too.

  • Amy
    7 years ago

    Having migraines for over 20 years and still suffering, I still get that small smile on my face when someone says they have “such a migraine and need some Advil or Tylenol”.

  • Julie
    6 years ago

    That’s like taking an M&M, Pleaze!

  • chipdooley
    6 years ago

    sorry sdivil and tylenol fix thier migraines it was not a migraine or if they work for you your luckey

  • Kim Wilson
    7 years ago

    20+ years and still hoping for a cure…..

  • chipdooley
    6 years ago

    i am with you on that my first was april 5 1992 and i never even had a headache before that besides 2 hangovers

  • Jennifer Cunningham Reid
    7 years ago

    People don’t realize – “Migraine symptoms last minimum 4 hours, but can last for months.”

  • Angie Bell
    7 years ago

    I have only just been diagnosed with migrane and pescribed beta blockers! mine are mostly right sided with the aura and can last for anything from a few hours to a week or more. I have found that caffine and cheese are food triggers. I would love to her from anyone else who has found this as I’m sick of people looking at me like I’m strange, because they don’t understand how crippling the pain can be.

  • Fiona Fletcher
    7 years ago

    You missed out the MOST important one – excruciating pain :O

  • Michael Niedzielski
    7 years ago

    thanks. very helpful

  • Christi Nielsen
    7 years ago

    What is MIDAS test? I have had migraine’s since I was 18 and they only get worse now that I am approaching 50? Imitrex works, but I thought they would decrease with age?

  • Christi Nielsen
    7 years ago

    Wow, you have had them as long as me. I was told they go away after you’ve had kids? I don’t so…… They still are here? After Menopause that could be 14 years???? I am trying something called Transitions? Seems ok! I heard about bio-identical hormones? My main problem now is SLEEP? I cannot sleep. Heard about Deep Sleep from someone? So tired of dropping $$$$$$$ on stuff that may or may not work. My doc will not put me on HRT because of breast cancer myths!

  • Sarah Estep Preo
    7 years ago

    When they first started for me at 19… a doc had said some children grow out of it after puberty… obviously too late to grow out of it…. then someone told me it got better after menopause, I was thinking Oh Crap, I have to wait for THAT? Although…. the brain being such a gray area (not black and white), nothing is set in stone… no one sure thing, etc.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    7 years ago

    Hi @Christi Nielsen – Unfortunately, they do not always decrease with age. For some lucky individuals they do seem to work that way, but we are finding that Migraine is a progressive disease. For many of us, the challenges seem to keep increasing.

  • Christi Nielsen
    7 years ago

    Thank you for the info! 😉

  • Migraine.com
    7 years ago

    Hi Christi – The MIDAS test is a questionnaire utilized to assess migraine related disability. You can learn more here: http://migraine.com/blog/expert-featured-article/communicating-pain-and-disability/

  • Sarah Estep Preo
    7 years ago

    i sent you a friend request bc I wanted to ask you more about your migraines. If you don’t want to I understand …I

  • Barbetta Reedy
    7 years ago

    you can have a migraine without aura, you can have nausea before the migraine, I hate my migraines because I have lost out on family memories and job advancements. I have been diagnosed with these “headaches” now for 38yrs now they have a diagnosis for mine chronic migraine but before I was told it didn’t exist. sumatriptan shots and toradol and caffenine is my prescription for migraines also a dark room with a bed. Stayed in bed sometimes for at least 12 to 16 hrs with a migraine have at least 6 in a row still. Had one today took a shot and then 4 hrs later could get up but still had to have caffenine so it would go away.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    7 years ago

    Sarah Estep Preo *Love* this comment, lol. so true…

  • Barbetta Reedy
    7 years ago

    I keep a diary of my migraines so that I can show how many I have on right side versus left side and how long I am down-have been doing this for 38 yrs to show disability

  • Sarah Estep Preo
    7 years ago

    Gracious, I don’t know what I would say to a person who told me chronic migraines don’t exist! Try taking a month vacation in my head!

  • Laura E. Phillips
    7 years ago

    That’s why I don’t understand why tests like MIDAS and HIT ask about only about headaches. Often, the reason I miss a family/social event or work is because of other symptoms such as motor weakness, lightheadedness, vertigo, and difficulty concentrating. Why don’t these tests ask about “symptoms of migraine” rather than “headache” only?

  • Teri Robert
    7 years ago

    Laura, when my doctor has used MIDAS with me, he had me answer based on all the symptoms of my Migraines, not just the headaches. I think it’s poor phrasing. Unfortunately, in headache medicine, the words “Migraine” and “headache” are too often used interchangeably.

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