What symptoms other than headache are part of migraine?


While headache is a major symptom of migraine for many living with the disease, numerous other symptoms can accompany it. Some of those symptoms can mimic other diseases and they can change considerably over time.


“I think people have to recognize the headache is what people go to the doctor for, generally. The manifestations of migraine, from the prodrome of the attack to the postdrome, to all the other neurological things I told you about which can be very peculiar, odd, and interesting. It's all a total experience. It's not just the pain. Some people present with partial attacks. If you're older you might get zigzag lines without the headache. I get those. I drew them.

“I don't get the headache with it, but you know, I'm glad it moved from side to side because strokes and brain tumors don't move one side of the brain to the other. I think it’s migraine, but people can also present with nausea alone, and that could be migraine. You could present with tingling in an arm and somebody might think, ‘Oh you got trouble with a nerve road, or you've got carpal tunnel.’ That may be migraine. People can present with vertigo, which could be migraine. They could present with double vision, which is migraine. In other words, migraine is very good at mimicking other disorders, and it's a tremendous chameleon. In other words, it can present looking like some bad disease, or it can present looking like migraine when it's a bad disease. We're never going to win the war on this; we're just going to try to understand it, and get along with it.”

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Allan Purdy, MD

Professor of Neurology
Dalhousie University, Canada

Dr. Allan Purdy is a neurologist and a professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Dr. Purdy is currently President of the American Headache Society. He has also served as president of the Canadian Headache Society and on the Board of Directors for the International Headache Society.

Dr. Purdy is regarded as one of the most gifted teachers in the field, developing educational programs for physicians around the world who care for patients with headache diseases. In addition to his research and education work, Dr. Purdy continues to see headache patients in his Canadian clinic on a part-time basis.