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Are Migraines The Same As Headaches

What Are The Treatments For Migraine

Migraines Vs. Headaches

There is no absolute cure for migraine. However, lots of treatments are available to help ease the symptoms of a migraine attack.

When a migraine attack occurs, most people find that lying down in a quiet, dark room is helpful. Sleeping can also help. Some people find that their symptoms die down after they have vomited .

Most people affected by migraine will already have tried paracetamol, aspirin and perhaps anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen before they seek advice from their doctor. If ordinary painkillers alone are not relieving your symptoms, your GP might prescribe you a triptan to be taken in addition to over-the-counter painkillers . Triptans are available in different forms to suit individuals , although it is important to note that some people develop short-term side effects when taking triptans. Your doctor may also prescribe you anti-sickness medication. If your situation does not improve after treatment, you might be referred to a specialist migraine clinic.

It is important to avoid taking painkillers on more than two days per week or more than 10 days per month as this can in fact make things worse by triggering medication overuse headaches.

When To Contact A Medical Professional

  • You are experiencing “the worst headache of your life.”
  • You have speech, vision, or movement problems or loss of balance, especially if you have not had these symptoms with a migraine before.
  • A headache starts suddenly.

Schedule an appointment or call your provider if:

  • Your headache pattern or pain changes.
  • Treatments that once worked no longer help.
  • You have side effects from your medicine.
  • You are taking birth control pills and have migraine headaches.
  • Your headaches are more severe when lying down.

Symptoms And Causes Of A Tension Headache

Tension headaches may spread a dull and aching pain in your head which may occur in episodic instances or become chronic that could last for months. This pain may also feel like there is pressure around your forehead or the sides and back of your head.

While tension headaches may be uncomfortable and painful, it won’t usually affect your activities or disrupt whatever you need to do for the day. This is the main difference between a headache and a migraine.

Tension headache develops from a number of reasons. The most common causes are the onset of a cold, flu or sinus congestion. It may also develop if you have skipped a meal, did not get enough sleep, or slept in an awkward position, causing the muscles around the neck to be strained.

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How Do You Treat A Migraine Or Cluster Headache

Unfortunately, those medications don’t provide the same kind of relief for migraines. Most of the treatments for migraines need to be prescribed by a doctor.

For an episodic migraine, defined as 0 to 14 headache days per month, a doctor may prescribe an acute treatment like a triptan, which treats the attack as they’re happening. As for a chronic migraines a patient would be prescribed a preventive medication like the anti-depressant Amitriptyline.

A physician can also suggest procedures such as calcitonin gene-related peptide nerve blocks and Botox to help with the neurological condition.

In an ideal world I would go to Botox and the CGRP therapy first, but a lot of times without coverage , Ansari tells Yahoo Canada. If you were to do a year of injections at around $3,000 – $4,000, its not really affordable paying out of pocket.

A more affordable course of action is adding certain supplements to your daily routine such as vitamin B2, coenzyme Q10 and magnesium to prevent migraines.

When it comes to treating cluster headaches, Ansari says its a completely different treatment paradigm because the medication needs to act quicker than with tension headaches and migraines.

A first line of therapy is an injectable medication like Sumatriptan, which takes effect within 15 to 30 minutes or Zomig, a nasal spray that works just as fast. Recent studies have shown that high-flow oxygen therapy can also be used to abort a cluster headache within 15 minutes.

Old Headaches Are Usually Ok But Not New Headaches

Headache or Migraine

Q: Should people be worried about old or new headaches?

A: Old headaches are usually benign. By old headaches, I mean headaches of long standing duration. Most of those tend to be migraine or tension-type, cervicogenic headache or more rarely, cluster headache which is less common. It’s really in the new headache category that we have to pay most attention because the potential for serious cause of headache is much higher in somebody with a new headache. If you want a comprehensive list of causes, after reading the content below, also check out “28 Reasons for a Sudden or Throbbing Headache and Nausea”.

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Symptoms Of A Migraine

Migraines can vary from person to person and even from attack to attack. There are a wide range of migraine symptoms, but the most common include:

  • Head pain, often over one eye or on one or both sides
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Ear pain
  • Coughing

To further compound the confusion between these two conditions, even treatment options are similar. Many people are very surprised to discover that sinus medications and treatments relieve their migraine pain. Dr. Ailani explains:

Migraine can improve when using products like Sudafed or Advil cold/sinus. These medications work to reduce some of the chemicals that are elevated during a migraine, so dont be fooled into thinking that if you feel better with Sudafed, it is a sinus issue. Overuse of these medications can lead to more headaches, so if you find yourself using these medications more than 2-3 days a week, seek medical attention for an appropriate diagnosis.

A diagnosis of either a migraine or a sinus headache is the first step in finding treatment that works.

When To Get Medical Advice

You should see a GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms.

Simple painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can be effective for migraine.

Try not to use the maximum dosage of painkillers on a regular or frequent basis as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time.

You should also make an appointment to see a GP if you have frequent migraines , even if they can be controlled with medicines, as you may benefit from preventative treatment.

You should call 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone you’re with experiences:

  • paralysis or weakness in 1 or both arms or 1 side of the face
  • slurred or garbled speech
  • a sudden agonising headache resulting in a severe pain unlike anything experienced before
  • headache along with a high temperature , stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision and a rash

These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a stroke or meningitis, and should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.

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Are Headaches And Migraines The Same

Headaches and migraines are both common conditions experienced by people of all age groups. Headaches, while at times can be very severe,may sometimes be so severe that it can be mistaken for a migraine, but there are specific differences between a headache and migraine. It is important to distinguish these differences to ensure that you get the proper and faster pain relief.

A headache that feels like a migraine is called a tension headache. It might feel like there’s a clamp squeezing your skull if you experience this pain, but tension headaches are, in fact, the most common type of headache.

What Migraines And Other Headaches Share

Migraines vs Headaches

Migraines are one of a number of headache disorders, and they do share some similarities with these other disorder types.

The ways in which migraine attacks can resemble other types include:

  • Throbbing pain:Associated with migraine, throbbing or pulsing pain can also arise in cases of cluster headaches.
  • Long effect:Migraines, lasting anywhere from four to 72 hours, can have a similar duration as other types of headaches. For example, some tension and sinus headaches can also last for several days.
  • Common triggers:Cluster headaches can also be triggered by bright lights and certain stimuli. In addition, emotional stress and anxiety can lead to both migraines and tension headaches. Dehydration is another trigger shared by several types.

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What Are The Types Of Headaches What Type Of Headache Is A Migraine

There are over 150 types of headaches, divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. A migraine is a primary headache, meaning that it isnt caused by a different medical condition. Primary headache disorders are clinical diagnoses, meaning theres no blood test or imaging study to diagnose it. A secondary headache is a symptom of another health issue.

Headache On Top Of The Head And The Forehead

Q: How should sinus headaches be dealt with?

A: For sinus headache, many patients will misinterpret their headache as tension headaches. Sinus headaches are typically in the forehead, cheeks and sometimes radiating to the top of the head and those sinuses are involved.

Sometimes they are made worse by bending forward. In many cases sinus headaches will have other sinus symptoms such as nasal congestion, chronic nasal discharge, the seasonal component makes it worse during pollen allergy season in the spring or fall. Treatments for sinus headaches depend on the underlying cause that are often allergic, treating the allergic component with cortisone, inflammatory sprays, antihistamines available over the counter, and sometimes sinus rinses can be helpful. A number of these products are available over-the-counter as well for sinus headaches. Some patients have tried these treatments before coming to the doctor. Its rare that sinus headaches are disabling like migraines can be. They tend to be more annoying than disruptive or disabling.

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The Lifecycle Of A Migraine:

A migraine usually cycles through four stages: prodrome, aura, headache or attack, and postdrome.

1. Prodrome: This is the preliminary stage of a migraine attack, which usually occurs two or three days before the pain begins. It is typically subtle but ample warning for an oncoming attack. Things that commonly occur during prodrome are:

  • Food cravings
  • Mood changes: depression, irritability, etc.
  • Muscle stiffness, especially in the neck
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to light, sounds, or smells
  • Feeling cold

Between 30% and 40% of people living with migraine experience the prodrome, and it serves as a warning that a migraine is going to attack.

2. Aura: The aura phase of the migraine is experienced by about 20% of migraine sufferers and lasts for about an hour. The symptoms one goes through during the aura phase can be downright scary, and include:

  • Flashing lights, wavy lines across your vision, spots dancing in front of you, partial loss of vision, blind spots, blurry vision
  • Tingling or numbness of the face or upper extremities usually on the side of the body where a headache develops
  • Vertigo or extreme dizziness
  • one-sided motor weakness
  • Olfactory hallucinations
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • A decrease in or loss of hearing
  • Reduced sensation

There are documented cases where no migraine attack follows the aura phase. In such cases, the affliction is called silent migraine or sans migraine.

  • Hemicranial pain that can shift to the other side or become bilateral
  • Phonophobia

Who Gets Migraines What Are The Risk Factors

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Its difficult to predict who may get a migraine and who may not, but there are risk factors that may make you more vulnerable. These risk factors include:

  • Genetics: Up to 80% of people who get migraine headaches have a first-degree relative with the disease.
  • Gender. Migraine headaches happen to women more than men, especially women between the ages of 15 and 55. Its likely more common in women because of the influence of hormones.
  • Stress level. You may get migraines more often if youre high-stress. Stress can trigger a migraine.
  • Smoking.

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When To See A Doctor For Your Headache Or Migraine

It can be difficult to determine if you’re experiencing a headache or a migraine. If you’re confused about what could be happening, you can visit Indigo Urgent Care and receive a professional diagnosis. Our providers can give you a clear answer and path forward to manage your pain effectively.

Indigo Urgent Care is open every day, 8 am to 8 pm for in-person appointments. You can also be seen from the comfort of your phone with , 24/7.

What Else Can I Do To Prevent Migraines

While there are no sure ways to keep from having migraine headaches, here are some things that may help:

Eat regularly and do not skip meals.

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule.
  • Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise can help reduce tension as well as keep your weight in check. Obesity can contribute to migraines.
  • Keep a migraine journal to help you learn what triggers your migraines and what treatments are most helpful.

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When And How Often Do You Get Headaches

Cluster headaches tend to happen around the same time every day for weeks or months, usually in spring or fall. During a cluster, you could have a headache every other day or up to eight in 1 day. Some may wake you up at night. But then you can have pain-free periods for weeks or years.

Migraine pain may go up and down throughout the day. But itâs rare to have more than one headache a day. And unlike cluster headaches, migraines are more likely to happen during the day and donât seem to follow a seasonal pattern.

Migraine Vs Headache Diagnosis

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Although there are no specific tests for migraine headaches, your doctor may order tests to exclude other conditions or problems that are triggering your headaches. This may include blood work or different brain imaging, such as CAT scan or MRI. In rare cases, your doctor may order a spinal tap to exclude causes of more serious, severe headaches.

A doctor who is experienced in treating various headaches can help differentiate the type of headaches that you have. A sinus headache often mimics some signs and symptoms of migraines.

Monitoring the duration of your headache can provide important information that can help diagnosis the type of headache you are experiencing. Migraine headaches may last a few hours to three days, while tension headaches may last only 30 minutes or linger for up to a week.

  • Keep a headache diary to help identify triggers that lead up to the onset of the headache, for example, menstrual cycles for women, hormone treatments, and alcohol intake.
  • Keep track of when a headache begins, the severity of the pain, any associated symptoms, how long the headache lasts, and any medications that you have taken.
  • If there does not seem to be any clearly identifiable cause for your headaches, maintain a diet diary, and keep track of any foods or drinks that you may have consumed the day before a headache to identify possible triggers.

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Migraine Without Head Pain

Also called a Silent or Acephalgic Migraine, this type of migraine can be very alarming as you experience dizzying aura and other visual disturbances, nausea, and other phases of migraine, but no head pain. It can be triggered by any of a persons regular triggers, and those who get them are likely to experience other types of migraine, too. The International Headache Society classifies this type as typical aura without headache.

Can A Sinus Headache Cause A Migraine

A common misconception is that sinusitis triggers migraines , but that isnt likely to happen. Sinusitis originates in a different region of the body than migraine and they are not necessarily connected However, the two conditions do share the same nerves that can be stimulated, and they do both produce many of the same chemicals in the body during an attack. There are certain signs that can help distinguish between the two and knowing this can help facilitate appropriate treatment of the condition that is present.

Dr. Ailani explains how easy it can be to mistake a migraine for a sinus headache:

With a sinus infection, you will often have a fever, bright colored mucus from the nose in large amounts, and pain that is worse when you lay down . You may notice the pain is worse in the morning after sleeping for several hours. Occasionally, someone may have a chronic sinus infection, something that has been going on for several months. In this case, a person may not have any symptoms, and may not have a headache either.

If you have a severe headache with sinus type symptoms and also have light or sound sensitivity, upset stomach, lack of appetite, and no fever, and you notice the pain resolves in 4-36 hours- this may be a migraine. If you notice the pain improves when laying in a dark, quiet room, or when taking over the counter pain medication, this again goes along with migraine.

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Location Of Headache Pain Vs Migraine Pain

Migraines and headaches can also have different areas where the pain is centralized.

If you have a headache, you’ll likely feel pain and pressure in the forehead and scalp, and sometimes even toward the area where the spine and skull connect.

If you have a migraine, you’ll likely feel pain on only one side of your head. You may occasionally feel pain on both sides of the head when you have a migraine, but the pain will likely feel more intense on one side.

If you can clearly identify that the pain is on one side of your head instead of across your forehead or across your entire head, you’re likely dealing with a migraine. Each case is different, though, so make sure you monitor for other symptoms.

Allergy Sinusitis And Sinus Headache Resources

These 5 Factors May Be Causing Your Migraines

There are a number of very good resources available for people suffering from allergies, sinusitis, and sinus headaches:

  • Al-Hashel, J. Y., Ahmed, S. F., Alroughani, R., & Goadsby, P. J. . Migraine misdiagnosis as a sinusitis, a delay that can last for many years. Retrieved from
  • Bono, F., Messina, D., Giliberto, C., Cristiano, D., Broussard, G., Fera, F., . . . Quattrone, A. . Bilateral transverse sinus stenosis predicts IIH without papilledema in patients with migraine. Retrieved from
  • Cady, R. K., & Schreiber, C. P. . Sinus headache or migraine? Retrieved from
  • Chronic sinusitis. . Retrieved from
  • C. . Sinus Headaches. Retrieved from
  • December 62:752-754, J. F., & Author: Christopher Boisselle, MD Richard Guthmann, MD, MPH Kathy Cable, MLS. . What clinical clues differentiate migraine from sinus headaches? Retrieved from
  • ENT Health. . Sinus Headaches.
  • Migraine Symptoms. . Retrieved from
  • Recommended Reading: Migraine Mayo Clinic

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