Migraine Is Commonly Misdiagnosed or Undiagnosed

Between 36 million and 40 million Americans experience migraines. Many of these migraine sufferers never receive an accurate diagnosis or proper treatment. This is mainly the result of migraine being such a widely misunderstood disorder. Many migraine suffers think they are just experiencing a headache, or think they are doing something to cause them (such as not drinking enough water). Migraine is even often misdiagnosed by medical professionals who aren’t headache specialists. Many migraine sufferers are told they just have “tension headache”, “sinus headache”, or allergies.
Migraine is not just a headache, it is a complex neurological disorder that can’t always be prevented by avoiding certain triggers. Physicians who are specially trained in treating migraine and other headache disorders can provide an accurate diagnosis, and a comprehensive treatment plan that can make living with migraine more manageable. Here at the Manhattan Center for Headache and Neurology we are all headache specialist who have expertise in the diagnosing and treating head pain disorders.
Here are a few signs and symptoms that differentiate a migraine from a headache or other disorders:
· Moderate to severe head pain that is often described as throbbing
· Pain is commonly unilateral (on one side of the head)
· Head pain can lasts anywhere from four hours to several days
· Associated nausea and even vomiting with your head pain. Even if the nausea is mild, it is more likely to be associated with a migraine than with other headache types
· A headache that worsens with any routine activity, physical activity or movement
· Headache severe enough to make you miss work or other activities
· Photophobia also known as sensitivity to light. Light sensitivity is very common in migraine, but very uncommon in other headaches. Sufferers often report that light, especially outdoor light and non-incandescent light, is very bothersome during an attack. Many sufferers report that light sensitivity can even trigger an attack
· Phonophobia, also known as sensitivity to sound. Even the sound of the TV or music can be irritating during an attack
· Sensitivity to certain odors. Certain smells can even trigger a migraine.
· Difficulty concentrating and processing information due to the headache
· Head pain associated with dizziness or vertigo.
· Temporary vision or language problems, or tingling and numbness, in addition to headache
· A family history of recurrent moderate-to-severe headaches.
· A history of being carsick or motion sick as a child is common in migraine suffers.
· Aura, also known as a visual warning sign before the migraine head pain. Auras can be flashing lights or zigzag lines.
– Caroline Pruski, NP