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.
More Helpful Information:
- Types of Migraines and Headaches
- INFOGRAPHIC: Understanding the Anatomy of a Migraine
- The Phases of a Migraine Attack and Their Symptoms - Podcast
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Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.