How do headaches differ? Are all bad headaches considered migraines? Is an alcohol related headache the same as a migraine? With 50% of all adults worldwide experiencing a headache disorder, headaches often go undiagnosed. To start the diagnosing processing, we need to hear your headache story. Your headache story will help determine whether your head pain is considered a primary headache or a secondary headache.

Secondary headaches are caused by a medical condition like an infection, alcohol or medication, or by triggers.  Primary headaches, on the other hand, are the migraines, tension headaches, and cluster headaches. To narrow down the options, we ask each patient to detail their family history, medicine use, social habits, as well as each of the following eight factors:

  1. Character – Describe your headache (throbbing, aching, burning, or sharp).
  2. Severity – On a scale of 1-10 how would you describe the severity of your head pain?
  3. Exacerbating or alleviating factors – What makes the pain better or worse?
  4. Radiation – Does the pain radiate?
  5. Onset – Rapid or gradual?
  6. Duration – How long does the pain last and is it constant or intermittent?
  7. Association – Are there other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and/or visual changes?
  8. Location – Where does it hurt?

With this historical information, we can compile your headache story. It is a good idea to think these factors through and have the answers ready to start the diagnosis dialog. Knowing these factors before your headache commences helps you to proactively and methodically evaluate the factors affecting your head pain. To read more on this subject visit

For your personal headache consultation, contact me for the next available appointment. We can often schedule same day appointments for existing patients (408) 866-8820