What makes a migraine different from a headache?

Janet Geddis

Migraine Patient Leader

Patient Leader, Janet Geddis, explains the difference between a migraine and a headache.

Reviewed by WEGO Health Medical Review Board on
Full Transcript

Janet:  It’s said often, among us migraine patients, but it’s worth repeating the phrase: migraine is not just a headache. Chronic migraines are a neurological disease with no known cure. In fact, many of my fellow health advocates and I refer to the illness itself as “migraine disease" and the episodes where the disease flares as “migraine episodes” or “migraine attacks.” Unlike a tension headache, a migraine attack comes with a host of symptoms. To make matters more confusing, those symptoms are different for each person and can even change from attack to attack in one person!

For instance, I have shifts in mood. My senses get out of whack. I am hypersensitive to light. Sometimes I even smell things that aren’t there. If a patient’s migraine episodes (or headaches) are impacting their ability to live their daily lives, it’s time to seek the help of a healthcare professional.


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