How to Tell a Migraine from a Headache - VIDEO

Patient Expert
Medically Reviewed

Migraine Expert Richard LiptonHow can I tell the difference between a migraine and a headache? That's a very common question, and a very good question.

One of the most confounding issues when answering questions about migraines and headaches is that the symptoms can vary so widely from one person to the next. Not only that, each person's symptoms can vary from one migraine or headache to the next.

It's possible and not unusual for people to have more than one type of migraine or to have another headache disorder in addition to migraine. For example, I have several diagnoses:

When we have a migraine or headache, we need to be able to determine which it is so we can treat it appropriately.

We decided to take this question to an expert, Dr. Richard B. Lipton of the Montefiore Headache Center. Dr. Lipton is a well known UCNS certified migraine and headache specialist, researcher, author, and speaker. I've been fortunate enough to hear Dr. Lipton speak and have learned a great deal from him. Here's a video of Dr. Lipton addressing the question:

If you have trouble telling if you're having a migraine or headache, sit down and discuss the issue with your doctor. He or she can help you know what to look for to make that determination.

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PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1

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