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Is My Headache a Migraine, or Is it Something Else?

Migraine headaches are very common, and definitely among the most debilitating headaches, but there are other types, as well. Understanding the symptoms present in migraine, tension, and cluster headaches will help you begin to understand your condition. This understanding will also help you learn how to share the symptoms you are having with your physician.

Complications of Migraines
According to the International Headache Society’s classification of headaches, there are five separate complications of migraines: Chronic Migraine, Status Migrainosus, Persistent Aura without Infarction, Migrainous Infarction, and Migraine-triggered Seizures. Many times each of these causes worry and distress beyond the pain itself.

Retinal Migraines
It is important to understand all about retinal migraines since the symptoms can be quite worrisome. In the past, some people have called them “ocular migraines,” but this is not an official headache type according to the International Headache Society. If you seem to develop visual problems with your migraines, be sure to discuss your symptoms with your health care provider to ensure you r…

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders and Headaches
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and headaches are a common pairing. Head pain arising from TMJ disorders is another source of secondary headache and can be life altering. Treatments for TMJ disorders can differ from treatments for other headaches, so distinguishing headaches due to TMJ disorders from other headaches can be quite useful.

Temporal Arteritis and Headaches
Temporal arteritis and headaches go together quite commonly, but the two conditions are also very different. While headache can be a symptom of temporal arteritis, being able to distinguish between the two is very important in finding the most appropriate and effective treatments.

Cluster Headaches
It is worthwhile to understand about cluster headaches since they are one of the primary headache types. They can be so painful that cluster headaches are sometimes referred to as “suicide headaches.” Any head pain with a nickname that severe deserves our attention.

Secondary Headaches
Secondary headaches are headaches caused by some other underlying condition. Primary headaches, such as migraines, tension headaches, and cluster headaches, exist independently from other medical conditions, although they can certainly be affected by them. Here is a list of some medical conditions and issues that can cause secondary headaches.

Concussions and Headaches
Concussions occur when there is minor injury to the brain. It is a short loss of brain function, usually following some sort of injury. Concussions are common in sports such as football, in which players are likely to be struck in the head. Headache is a common early symptom of a concussion, and should be considered along with other symptoms to determine the nature of an accident or trauma.

Headaches and Strokes
The relationship between headaches and strokes is a fairly complex one, but a connection that is worth exploring. Experiencing the worst headache of your life is one reason a patient should call his or her physician right away. Why can a severe headache be dangerous? What does it signify? To answer some of these questions it may be useful to learn briefly about strokes themselves.

Cerebral Aneurysms
A cerebral aneurysm is a “weak spot” in an artery in the brain. This weakness allows the vessel to balloon outward and fill with blood, possibly leading to pressure on a nerve or brain tissue near the aneurysm. Aneurysms can also leak or rupture, causing blood to spill into the surrounding tissue (hemorrhage). What causes them and how do they relate to headaches? c

Headache Symptoms - Migraine and Other Headache Symptoms
Headaches symptoms can vary greatly, being as unique as the headache sufferer. There are a number of very common symptoms, though that can help you determine which type of headache you are experiencing.

Migraine Auras - What Are Migraine Auras?
Many times, migraine headaches are preceded by some sort of visual disturbance known as an aura. They usually occur anywhere minutes to hours before the pain of a migraine starts. These symptoms typically last for anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes. The aura may occur without actual pain, and in these cases it is known as a migraine equivalent.

Symptoms of Migraine Headaches
Headaches come with symptoms as unique as the headache sufferer. There are a number of very common symptoms, though that can help you determine which type of headache you are experiencing.

Persistent Daily Headaches
New persistent daily headaches (NPDH) can be a scary and difficult condition to develop. It is a form of chronic daily headache (CDH) that begins very abruptly. CDH refers to a number of headache types that occur more than 15 days in any given month. In the case of NPDH, these daily headaches develop over no more than a three-day period.

New Daily Persistent Headaches
New daily persistent headaches may not be the most painful type of chronic daily headache, but they can be one of the most debilitating. As their name suggests, these episodes are a new experience for patients with no history of headaches; they occur frequently and then linger.

Sinus Headaches
Many people have what they call “sinus headaches,” but it turns out the majority of them may actually have migraine headaches instead. True sinus headaches are more uncommon, and result from an underlying condition such as sinusitis or allergies. The lining of the sinuses get inflamed and painful, and eventually they may become clogged. This blockage adds to the pressure and pain felt in the sinus.

All About Sinus Headaches
Sinus headaches are definitely something to sneeze at. This is because the headache symptoms rarely occur alone.

Sinus Headaches - From Penn State University
Headaches can sometimes be an indicator of infection or chronic allergies. Get the basics about sinus headaches.

All About Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are among the most common of headaches for men and women. What are they and what triggers them? How can you best treat them? Learn more about tension headaches and the many ways you can cope with them.

Tension Headaches
Many people suffer from tension headaches. Find out more about these types of headaches here.

A Brief Overview of Tension Headaches
Find out what your family doctor may tell you about your tension headache.

Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches are so named due to their frequent occurrence in clustered time periods lasting weeks or months, often striking with such regularity that they can be predicted with pinpoint accuracy by those who endure them.

Ice Pick Headaches
Ice pick headaches are as terrible as the name implies. Learn more about these sharp, stabbing headaches and what you can do about them.

Hemicrania Continua Headaches
According to the International Classification of Headache Disorders, a hemicrania continua headache is a subtype of chronic headache. Most patients with hemicrania continua headaches report pain more than 5 times in a 24-hour period and at least 15 times a month.

Basilar-Type Headaches
Basilar headaches can present with so many unique symptoms that even some medical professionals may need help diagnosing them. Read more about these more rare and complicated headaches.

Headache as a Warning Sign for Stroke
Migraine headaches and stroke sometime have common symptoms. Learning to recognize the true "warning signs" could save you from disaster.

Medication Overuse Headaches (MOH)
In the world of headache medicines, too much of a good thing is definitely too much, which brings in medication overuse headaches (MOH). The right kinds of medications, used appropriately, can offer significant benefits for people who have chronic headaches. But taking too much of these medicines can actually backfire, resulting in pain that is more frequent and severe.

Cervical Radiculopathy and Headache

Pituitary Apoplexy
Learn about a dangerous headache known as pituitary apoplexy.

Alcohol and Headaches
Alcohol and headaches have gone together for as long as can be remembered. Headaches are usually associated with “hangovers” and the effects of heavy drinking the day before. There are also so-called “soon-after headaches” that can appear shortly after your first drink as well.

Sinus Headaches - From Penn State University
Headaches can sometimes be an indicator of infection or chronic allergies. Get the basics about sinus headaches.

Tension Headaches
Many people suffer from tension headaches. Find out more about these types of headaches here.

A Brief Overview of Tension Headaches
Find out what your family doctor may tell you about your tension headache.

Headache as a Warning Sign for Stroke
Migraine headaches and stroke sometime have common symptoms. Learning to recognize the true "warning signs" could save you from disaster.

Primary Cough Headache
Learn more about what a primary cough headache is and how it is different from a migraine or tension headache.

Headaches After Pregnancy
Headaches after Pregnancy

Does My Headache Signal Something Else?
Secondary headaches are headaches caused by an underlying medical condition. This is in contrast to primary headaches, like migraines and tension-type headaches, which exist on their own. A headache is sometimes the first signal or one of many symptoms of various health conditions across a range of body systems, especially the nervous system where the brain and spinal cord are origins of pain. Here we will examine some disorders of the nervous system that can be associated with a secondary headache.<

Cervicogenic Headache: A Pain in the Neck
A cervicogenic headache is a disorder in which head pain is referred from the neck. This type of headache is typically one-sided or unilateral like a migraine but unlike a migraine has features involving the neck such as a reduced range of motion of the neck and precipitation of the headache by certain neck movements.

Clap of Thunder

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
Learn more about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a serious cause of of headaches.

What is a Concussion Headache?
Learn more about what a concussion is and the headache and associated symptoms that may occur as a result.

What is this Stabbing Headache?
Learn more about a primary stabbing headache, also known as an ice-pick headache.

Pain in My Temple
Learn about the basics of giant cell arteritis and whether your headache warrants an investigation into this diagnosis.


Learn about the basics of a cold stimulus headache, a headache disorder that occurs after exposure to a cold stimulus like ice cream or cold weather.

"My Face Hurts!"
Learn the basics of a facial pain disorder called trigeminal neuralgia, which causes severe, stabbing-like pain on one side of an individual's face.

What You Need to Know About Rhinosinusitis: A Common Cause of Facial Pain
Learn about the basics on rhinosinusitis, a common cause of facial pain and a medical condition that can commonly be mistaken for a migraine.

Rhinosinusitis or Migraine?
Learn about whether your "sinus symptoms" are really a migraine.

Can Exercise Cause Headaches?
Exercise is a regular activity for many of us. Whatever the form of physical activity you enjoy, the last thing you need is a headache after that surge of endorphins from your workout. Primary exertional headache is a rare type of headache that causes a throbbing head pain, during or after any form of sustained exertion. Learn more about this unusual type of headache.

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