How do you know if your headaches are migraines?

migraines headachesYou probably think of migraines as just really bad headaches. And while the sharp, throbbing pain on the sides of the head is an intense symptom, migraine sufferers often experience a host of other less obvious symptoms that they may not immediately link to their migraines. Medical research has linked these symptoms to migraines.

1. Depression and Irritability

Data presented at an American Academy of Neurology meeting revealed a link between depression and migraines. Also, some doctors report that migraine sufferers often complain about irritability and mood swings. However, it is not yet determined whether the migraines cause depression or depression causes migraines. A certain amount of sadness and irritability is understandable when excruciating head pounding is keeping you from getting things done.

2. Lack of Sleep

This tends to be a vicious cycle as the migraines make it harder to sleep, and the lack of sleep makes migraine episodes more frequent.

3. Eye Pain

Migraine pain is often concentrated behind the eye masquerading as eye strain. These types of migraines are often difficult to diagnose as sufferers will often visit an eye doctor thinking that something is wrong with their eyes.

4. Neck Pain

In a National Headache Foundation survey, nearly 70% of the migraine sufferers interviewed said that they always or frequently suffered from neck pain in conjunction with migraines.

5. Muscle Weakness

If you have muscle weakness on one side of the body in conjunction with your headaches, there’s a good chance that you are suffering from a migraine. However, this symptom can be a sign of other serious neurological problems or even a stroke. If you experience this, consult a doctor immediately.

Find out what’s causing your headaches

Everyone gets headaches, but migraine sufferers are afflicted in many areas of their life. Out-of-control migraines can wreak havoc on your quality of life. Fortunately, there are treatment options that have helped many migraine sufferers find relief. Often, the difficulty lies in getting a proper diagnosis.

If you suspect that you may be suffering from migraines, you can download the migraine diary from to help you keep track of your symptoms.

A common migraine cause that I deal with at my practice in TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). If you’d like to check that cause off your list (or put it on), take my TMJ questionnaire and I’ll reply with a free, no obligations diagnostic recommendation.