Do You Know the Difference Between a Migraine and a Headache? {Interview}

Do You Know the Difference Between a Migraine and a Headache? {Interview}

Have you ever experienced a headache so intense that it didn’t seem to answer to simple pain relievers? Do you know the difference between a headache and migraine? Migraine is a disabling, neurologic disease that impacts approximately 1 billion people across the globe and is the second leading cause of disability in the world.[1] And while migraine doesn’t discriminate, it does seem to play favorites. A migraine is three times more likely to occur in women than in men and of the more than 30 million Americans[2] living with migraine, 22.5 million are women.[3]

Migraine is a debilitating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of severe headache accompanied by other symptoms including:

  • Severe or throbbing pain, a pulsing sensation on one side or both sides of the head
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light, sounds and sometimes smells and touch
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness, sometimes followed by fainting

Warning symptoms known as aura may also occur with migraine. These can include flashes of light, blind spots, or a tingling on one side of the face, arm or leg.  In some cases, a migraine attack can last up to three days.[4] Despite the devastating impact, migraine remains under-recognized and under-treated, with only about 10% of people living with the disease are currently taking a preventive treatment.

Studies using validated health-related quality of life instruments show that migraine also has a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, including the physical and emotional aspects of daily living, as well as effects on family, work and social relationships.[5],[6] People living with migraine often hide their pain and the effects of the disease. In fact, research shows that more than 60 percent of people diagnosed with migraine try to hide the true impact of migraine from those at work or school and 55 percent believe the disease has affected their career goals.[7]

June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to learn more about migraine and the importance of speaking with your doctor about new treatment options. Summertime means you’ll want to maximize your time spent outdoors with friends and family, from picnics and barbecues to time spent at the beach and traveling. But if you suffer from migraine, you may worry about being able to enjoy all that summer has to offer.

The good news is that, despite a longstanding drought of innovation in migraine, emerging science has demonstrated the need for a personalized approach to migraine treatment. The FDA recently approved a new migraine treatment that has been proven to give some patients up to 4.7 more migraine-free days on average per month in any given month.

Join me in a recent interview with Dr. Wade Cooper, a headache neurologist at the University of Michigan and Cherisse Estes, a Michigan Mama migraine patient.

Dr Cooper discussed the latest preventive treatment for migraine and various migraine symptoms and new treatment options for patients like Cherisse.

Cherisse is a patient in her 40s who experienced migraine every single day for 3 years while raising and homeschooling her two daughters and working full-time. She discussed her experience with migraine attacks and how she can now live a fuller life with fewer migraine attacks.  

See the entire interview below:

About Dr. Wade Cooper

Dr. Wade Cooper is the Director of Headache & Neuropathic Pain at the University of Michigan where he is also a Clinical Associate Professor in Neurology and Clinical Associate Professor in Anesthesiology. Dr. Cooper graduated from Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine where he obtained his medical degree in 2000. He completed his residency in neurology at the Sparrow Hospital Health System in Michigan in 2004. He also completed a fellowship in headache medicine at the Michigan Head Pain & Neurological Institute in 2005. Dr. Cooper holds a United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties (UCNS) board certification in Headache Medicine. What drew Dr. Cooper into the field of headache medicine was the immense unmet need and lack of patient access to high quality care.

About Cherisse Estes

Cherisse Estes is 46 years old, lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has been living with migraine for the past 19 years. Cherisse is married with two daughters, ages 15 and 27. Cherisse started taking a new preventive treatment in 2018.* Since then, she is experiencing significantly less migraine days per month. She is a technology analyst for a large regional bank that is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. She also writes and speaks to educate others about the chronic illness that is migraine. 


[1] GBD 2016 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 328 diseases and injuries for 95 countries, 1990-2016. (2017). Lancet, 390 (10100), pp.1211-59.

[2] US Census Bureau. Quick Facts. Updated September 23, 2018.

[3] American Headache Society. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[4] The International Classification of Headache Disorders, 3rd edition. (2018). Cephalalgia, 38(1), pp. 1-211

[5] Abu Baker N et al. (2016) Cephalalgia, 36(1), pp. 67-91.

[6] Chaushev N, Milanov I. (2009). Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2(3), pp.26-31.

[7] Eli Lilly – The Migraine Impact Report. (2018). Retrieved from

Interview is courtesy: Eli Lilly and Co.

Cynthia Tait

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: