Migraine is a condition that is subjective, which may be why only 50% of physicians accurately diagnose migraines (link).
Don’t blame doctors. Take a quick look at the International Headache Society’s (IHS) criteria for migraine diagnosis and you will understand why no one knows what the heck migraine is (IHS link).
Watch the video for this article above. It is spectacular!
IHS Migraine criteria
- Headache attacks last 4-72 hours
- Headache has at least two of the following characteristics
- Unilateral location
- Pulsating quality
- Moderate or severe pain intensity
- Aggravation by or causing avoidance of routine physical activity
- During headache at least one of the following
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Photophobia and phonophobia
- With at least 5 attacks not attributed to another disorder.
According to this definition, someone who has headaches that last for a few hours, with a moderate pain level that compels them to sit on the couch rather go for a run in the park, and that makes bright light and loud noise annoying, has migraine.
Meanwhile, another migraine sufferer is debilitated for 3 days with the sensation of an ice pick cracking open one side of the skull; a pulsating pain that induces suicidal thoughts; visual impairment, nausea, vomiting; and lights and sound that are transformed into a physical pain that is ten out of ten (the worst pain level imaginable). This migraineur may even experience an aura that warns a migraine is coming with strange symptoms such as zigzag lines obstructing her vision, ringing in the ears, or smelling things that aren’t real.
These are two very different conditions and yet both may hold the loose title of “migraine.” The definition of migraine sucks and it’s no better for headaches.
A “headache,” often referred to as a “tension-type headache”, is the least studied of all headache types despite the fact that the vast majority of people suffer from headaches and they have the largest economical impact. (IHS link)
Take a look at the criteria for tension-type headaches (infrequent): (link)
- At least 10 episodes occurring on <1 day per month on average (<12 days per year) and fulfilling criteria B-D
- Headache lasting from 30 minutes to 7 days
- Headache has at least two of the following characteristics:
- bilateral location
- pressing/tightening (non-pulsating) quality
- mild or moderate intensity
- not aggravated by routine physical activity such as walking or climbing stairs
- Both of the following:
- no nausea or vomiting (anorexia may occur)
- no more than one of photophobia or phonophobia
- Not attributed to another disorder
The clear distinction between headaches and migraines, by these definitions, is that “headache” does not come with nausea or vomiting and may only bring photophobia or phonophobia (but not both). It’s a bullshit definition. A person could feel a little nauseous from a headache and definitely be disturbed by both bright lights and loud noise.
Here are the symptoms that overlap, used by both conditions for diagnosis:
- Attack lasts 4-72 hours
- Moderate intensity
- Not attributed to another disorder
Because you only need two of the following characteristics, both migraine and headache may have:
- Bilateral/unilateral location (one side or both)
- Pulsating quality/non-pulsating
- Mild, moderate, severe intensity
- Causing avoidance of routine physical activity
How can anyone know what type of headache they have when it meets the requirement for both migraine and headache?
The only certain criteria of a migraine diagnosis is that it lasts for 4-72 hours with at least 5 attacks not attributed to another disorder. Let’s be clear, if you have had 4 migraine attacks, you don’t have migraine, but if you have had 5 migraine attacks, you may have migraine. Yes, that is ridiculous. Migraines can terminate prior to four hours if prevention efforts are successful—invalidating a migraine diagnosis—and migraines can last over 72 hours, these are called “status migrainosus”—also invalidating a migraine diagnosis.
We finally come to the last requirement of both conditions: “not attributed to another disorder.” Thus far, we’ve discussed migraine and headache definitions that are useless and now we will dissect why the final requirement for a diagnosis of either condition is a disgrace to modern medicine.
Headache or migraine “cannot be attributed to another disorder.” A disorder is defined as “unordinary human function.” The problem is the headaches and migraines often result from unordinary human function that is triggered by foods, poisons, dehydration, stress, trauma, or numerous other deadly conditions. Headaches and migraines warn us of disorder.
To define migraine or headache as “not attributed to another disorder” is silly, damn silly. Migraine sufferers are 2.7 times more likely to have carpal tunnel syndrome (“Estrogen and Progesterone, a Migraine Cure?” and “Pregnancy, a Migraine Cure?” you will find that hypothyroidism is 3.5 times more likely in migraine patients.
It’s very simple, numerous sources of inflammation are associated with these conditions and migraines warn us before they become deadly. We can define something as fiber muscle pain (fibro-myalgia) and prescribe medications that mask the pain or we can find the source of inflammation and eliminate the inflammatory condition and the migraines or headaches that come with it.
The real problem is finding the source of the inflammation that is causing your headache or migraine. Whether it’s diagnosed as a “headache” or a “migraine,” The 3-Day Headache “Cure” will help you find the source. Finding the triggers of inflammation is proven to reduce or eliminate migraine and headaches in as little as 3 days.