Misdiagnosis of Migraine
Migraine is an inherently difficult diagnosis. There are many other possible conditions to consider, and migraine is a diagnosis by exclusion.
Diagnosing Other Causes of Headache: There are many, many possible causes of headache. Fortunately, there are not as many conditions that cause a chronic headache, or recurring headache episodes. Some of the conditions needing consideration include:
- Stroke. This medical emergency results from a brain bleed or a brain clot, and can have symptoms similar to a migraine. Headache is typical. Other symptoms such as one-sided weakness, numbness, and sensations (tingling) can occur with both stroke and migraine. Seek emergency medical care immediately if stroke is suspected.
- Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA). These are recurring mini-strokes, and are extremely dangerous as they can progress to a full-blown stroke event. Seek immediate emergency medical care if a TIA diagnosis is suspected.
- Tension Headaches
- Cluster Headaches
- Sexual Headaches
- Temporal Arteritis. A blood flow disorder causing pain and a severe headache in most cases.
Read more about: Headache (there are many other causes).
Diagnosing the Correct Type of Migraine: There are various subtypes of migraine that need to be considered:
- Migraine with aura (“classical migraine”)
- Migraine without aura (“common migraine”). This is also sometimes called a “weekend migraine” when the attack occurs at the weekend or the start of a holiday.
- Amigrainous migraine. Literally means “migraine without the migraine” and refers to a migraine without a headache, but with other migraine-like symptoms.
Other Neurological Conditions: There are some other conditions of the brain and neurological system that can need to be distinguished from migraine.
- Epilepsy. This can occur with or without headache. Many of the sensory or visual symptoms of some kinds of seizures, or preceding seizures, can be similar to an “aura” in a migraine. There is a definite link between migraine and epilepsy. They often occur together.
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Related Misdiagnosis Articles
- Amigrainous Migraine Misdiagnosis
- Stroke Misdiagnosis
- Transient Ischemic Attack Misdiagnosis
- Temporal Arteritis Misdiagnosis
Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.