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Headaches vs Migraines

Jun 19, 2017, 12:00 PM by Anna Irwin
How do you know if you are having a migraine or just a regular headache?  Although migraines are a type of headache, there are very specific differences between the two.  Migraines are often misdiagnosed as sinus headaches or tension headaches. Let’s review the signs of a migraine.

Signs that you are having a migraine:

  • Moderate to severe headache lasting 4-72 hours
  • Pulsating pain on one or both sides of the head
  • Pain is worsened by sound and light (phonophobia and photophobia)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating or cold hands
  • Tender scalp
  • Paleness
Migraine pain can occur with different frequencies, duration, and severity.  It is very common for migraine sufferers to experience pain in the neck, jaw, behind the eye, and sinuses.  Some people also experience changes in their vision or tingling sensations before a migraine begins.  

An examination by a neurologist is needed to diagnose migraine headaches. When Dr. Guyuron evaluates candidates for migraine surgery, he starts by listening to the patient describe the migraines.  The precise detection of the trigger site depends largely on where the headaches start and how the patients describe the symptoms.

Questions that Dr. Guyuron will ask:

  • How many hours per day does the migraine last?
  • How many days per month do you have migraines?
  • What is the intensity, on a 1-10 scale (10 is the worst)?
  • Where does the migraine begin (be specific – can you point to a location)?
  • What symptoms occur before, during, or after a migraine?
  • What helps the migraine go away? What does not help?
  • Are there any environmental or dietary triggers for your migraines?
  • Is there a family history of migraines?
There is no “cure” for migraines, but they can be treated. If you experience at least 2 severe migraine episodes a month that do not respond to over-the-counter or prescription medications or if you cannot tolerate medication then it may be time to explore surgical treatment of migraine headaches.

To learn more about migraines, check out the American Migraine Center ( or call 1-800-442-6804.

You can also visit the National Headache Foundation website ( for more information. 

To learn more about migraine surgery, contact Dr. Guyuron to make an appointment. Call 440-461-7999

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