Migraines can be mistaken for a variety of conditions, and even when they are part of another condition, doctors sometimes fail to treat them as a separate concern. According to one study, only 1 in 20 patients in New York and across the U.S. gets an accurate headache or migraine diagnosis. Below are seven conditions that migraines are commonly misdiagnosed as.
First are panic and anxiety attacks, characterized by nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness and head pain. Patients may develop anxiety from the stress of dealing with migraines, which only compounds the problem. Another condition is Meniere's disease. A disorder of the inner ear, it causes dizziness, vertigo and other symptoms associated with some forms of migraines.
A rare form of migraine, hemiplegic migraine, can be mistaken as stroke because both lead to loss of sensation on one side of the body. Some migraines cause visual and sensory changes, tingling, numbness and an inability to speak clearly, which are symptoms shared with epilepsy.
A fifth condition is sinus headache although in reality this is rare. Head trauma can lead to migraines along with dizziness, blurry vision and a ringing in the ears, so doctors may not separate the migraine from post-concussion syndrome. Lastly, doctors may see migraines simply as side effects to the various medications that their patients take.
Those who believe they have grounds for a personal injury case against a doctor may want to consult with a lawyer. Malpractice claims might end in large settlements, but the other side will likely work hard to deny payment or make victims settle for a low-ball offer. The lawyer may be able to hire investigators to show that the doctor's negligence was to blame for the misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or other error. Victims may have their lawyer negotiate for the settlement or, as a last resort, prepare the case for court.