How to Know When It’s a Migraine

How do you know if you have a migraine

Do you experience moderate to severe headaches on a regular basis? Have you ever wondered if your headaches may actually be migraines? We’re going to take a closer look at some symptoms that may help you to identify your problem as a neurological condition, rather than just run of the mill headaches. Please, keep in mind that this article is for information purposes and that you should still seek a diagnosis from a healthcare professional. At the same time, we’re going to help you to identify a natural therapy that has been helping both headache and migraine patients, so be sure to read all the way to the end of the article for some genuine relief.

Migraine Symptoms You Need to Know

Since migraines are a neurological condition, there are numerous symptoms that occur besides the headache. The headache will also have specific characteristics that identify a migraine. Let’s look at those first.

Diagnosis Criteria for Migraines

In order to get a migraine diagnosis, your headaches will need to meet at least two of the following four criteria:

  • Throbbing or pulsing pain – This is a very specific sensation of pain that washes over a person in waves.
  • Made worse with exertion – Most migraines get worse if you are involved in strenuous physical activity during an attack.
  • One-sided – This is only true about 60% of the time, but that still means the majority of migraines present with pain on just one side, which is rare with other headache types.
  • Moderate to severe pain – 90% of migraineurs see what they can accomplish diminished during an attack.

Besides the headache, there are numerous other symptoms – too many to mention them all here. However, these are some of the more common symptoms of migraines.

Sensory sensitivity

You may experience sensitivity to lights, sounds, smells, or a combination of the three.

Neck pain

This is one of the most common migraine symptoms. However, it is rarely listed as a symptom because it is common to experience neck pain before or during just about any type of headache. According to one study, 38% of migraineurs always have neck pain with their migraines. Another 31% said they frequently experienced neck pain with their migraines. That means a headache and sensory sensitivities are the only symptoms that are more common. We’ll get back to the connection between neck pain and migraines in just a few moments.

Visual symptoms

For some patients there is pain behind one eye. Others experience temporary blurred vision or loss of vision. You may also see spots, bright lights, zig-zag lines, and other visual hallucinations.


Many of the visual symptoms are part of the aura phase. However, aura itself only occurs for 20-25% of patients. If you experience migraines with aura, be sure to have your doctor keep an eye on your mental health. Migraine patients who also experience aura are at significantly increased risk for depression and suicide.


About 40% of migraines fall into the category of vestibular migraines. That means there is at least one vestibular symptom (dealing with the body’s balance system) such as vertigo.

Stuffy nose

According to researchers, a large percentage of people who think they suffer from sinus headaches are actually experiencing migraines. Since migraines can present with a stuffy nose, you need to consider the presence of other migraine symptoms before writing a headache off as being related to sinus pressure.


This is a symptom that occurs in the prodrome phase. In other words, many patients seem to yawn more frequently when a migraine is coming on. In fact, more than one-third of the responders of a particular survey checked the box for this symptom.

Nausea and vomiting

Fortunately, only the nausea is a common symptom with nearly three-quarters of patients experiencing nausea during an attack. Fewer than one-third of patients experience vomiting, but it is still frequent enough to be a notable symptom.

With the vast array of symptoms that patients may experience, you can understand why medications might work wonders for one person and do nothing for the next. If you a have been disappointed with the migraine treatments you have tried, we would like to introduce you to a natural way to get help – upper cervical chiropractic care.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Migraines

Now we’ll address the connection between migraines and the neck. The top bone in the neck, the atlas, balances the head. If there is even a slight misalignment, this can have far-reaching effects on the body. For example, an atlas misalignment can affect brainstem function. It can also keep cerebrospinal fluid from draining properly. If this fluid pools in the head, that can increase intracranial pressure. The cervical spine is also responsible for facilitating blood flow to the brain, so a misalignment can keep the brain from getting all of the oxygen it needs. All these factors can lead to the onset of migraines.

As you can see, the position of the atlas plays a vital role in the function of the central nervous system. So it is no wonder that this can be an underlying factor when it comes to migraines. Upper cervical chiropractors specialize in identifying, precisely measuring, and gently correcting atlas misalignments. If you suffer from migraines, this may be just the natural care you have been searching for. Schedule a consultation with a practitioner near you to learn more about this safe and cost-effect subspecialty of chiropractic care.

Find An Upper Cervical Doctor in Your Areato schedule a consultation today.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.