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Migraine headaches are commonly misunderstood by patients -- and also by many physicians. Dr. Brian Loftus has written this section to the level of the intelligent Internet reader. This site is geared for those who desire to learn more about migraine headaches than most typical web sites offer. The information presented here is felt to be true and accurate by Dr. Loftus however some physicians may debate some of the information presented.  The purpose of this section is to cover both the method of diagnosis of migraine headaches as well as migraine headache treatments - both acute headache treatment and preventive headache treatments. Dr. Loftus strongly believes the treatment of migraine is a "team sport." Read here to find what Dr. Loftus' pateints think about his practice.

What are migraine headaches?iHeadache Electronic Headache Diary

Headache is a symptom and migraine headache is a diagnosis. There is no specific test to diagnose migraine headaches. The Internal Classification of Headache Disorders - 2nd edition {Cephalgia 2004;24 (Suppl 1)}, currently defines the disease migraine. Patients who see their physician and state they have migraine headaches are correct 99% of the time. Therefore, if you know you have migraine headaches you can go straight to the pages discussing optimum migraine care, migraine prevention, and migraine treatments.

If you are unsure if you have migraine headaches then please read the pages on the definition of common migraine, classic migraine, and probable migraine. This should help you to determine an accurate diagnosis. Alternatively, you can use iHeadache to track your symptoms in realtime and determine the proper classification of each headache.

Common Migraine Headache Symptoms

Most patients with migraine do not have all or even most of the following symptoms. The most common symptoms od migraine headaches include throbbing or pulsating pain, one sided or unilateral headache pain, nausea, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, smell sensitivity, runny nose or sinus stuffiness, changes in vision, and neck pain.

Think you have multiple types of headaches?

Some patients can have multiple types of headaches. If this is the case, life is actually simpler than you and many of your physician’s may think. A very well done study called the Spectrum study determined that migraine patients suffer from multiple headache types including tension headaches, probable migraines and “full blown migraines.” All of these headaches respond to the usual migraine medications and are consequently a manifestation of the primary migraine disease. Therefore for the sake of treatment prevention decisions, presume they are all migraine headaches and head to the pages discussing optimum migraine care, migraine prevention, and migraine treatment.

How Can I Help My Doctor Help Me?

Collecing real time data on your headaches so that your physician has the proper classification, understands your medication usage, and understands your degree of disability will enhance your headache care. Dr. Loftus designed iHeadache (an iPhone and iPod Touch App) to perform these functions for you.