How Do I Know if My Headache is a Migraine?

By Annette GallagherDecember 2, 2016September 30th, 2021No Comments

Migraines and chronic headaches can both produce intense headache pain. The fact is, though, that they are two totally different conditions. People often refer to their headaches as migraines, but in most cases, all they are experiencing is an extremely intense headache brought on by an illness or tension.

A trip to the headache specialists at the Miami Headache Institute can provide you with the answers you need when it comes to effectively understanding the causes of and treating your headache pain.

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is unlike other headaches. It is more severe and can last for several days at a time. While a regular headache can be severe, a migraine can cause pain so intense, the person has difficulty functioning. Performing the simplest tasks may be impossible.

Migraines have no known cause but are known to have specific triggers like strong odors, bright lights, and certain sounds. Migraines with auras include the visual appearance of an “aura” or glow that surrounds objects or appears as wavy lines in the visual field of the sufferer.

Common Migraine Symptoms

Doctors must look at several factors before making a migraine diagnosis. Migraines occur more frequently than tension headaches, sometimes three or more a month and lasting days at a time.

With a migraine, the pain is often so severe it can render a person helpless. Piercing pain, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, the inability to tolerate even soft sounds, and a pulsing sensation that often is felt on only one side of the head are common migraine symptoms doctors look for when making a diagnosis.


People who seek migraine help often do so because of certain misconceptions. They may believe they are having migraines when in reality they are only having localized pain in one area that is extremely intense. The key is uncovering what is really happening. The first thing to realize is that a true migraine does not respond readily to medication.

A regular headache normally will only affect the head, while a migraine may cause systemic reactions including severe nausea and vomiting. Unlike a regular headache, the only way to get the upper hand on a migraine is to start treatment before the pain becomes severe.Lastly, both men and women can get migraines and, in most cases, they are not easy to avoid. Triggers can be extremely common occurrences that are a part of everyday life.

Miami Headache Institute

If you or a loved one experiences headaches on a regular basis that are severe enough to affect quality of life, contact the Miami Headache Institute. South Florida residents can visit our Miami location to find answers to the questions they have concerning headache pain and the possibility of a migraine diagnosis. Multiple treatment options are available and will help you to reduce the amount of time you spend in pain.