How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or Just A Bad Tension
Compared with migraine, tension-type headache is generally less severe and rarely disabling. Compare your symptoms with those in this chart to see what type of headache you might be having.
|Aura before onset of headache||;||x|
Note: Rebound headache may have features of tension and/or migraine headache. Adapted from a table produced by the American Council for Headache Education.
Although fatigue and stress can bring on both tension and migraine headaches, migraines can be triggered by certain foods, changes in the body’s hormone levels, and even changes in the weather.
There also are differences in how types of headaches respond to treatment with medicines. Although some over-the-counter drugs used to treat tension-type headaches sometimes help migraine headaches, the drugs used to treat migraine attacks do not work for tension-type headaches for most people.
You can’t tell the difference between a migraine and a tension-type headache by how often they occur. Both can occur at irregular intervals. Also, in rare cases, both can occur daily or almost daily.
Whats A Migraine What Does A Migraine Feel Like
A migraine is a common neurological disease that causes a variety of symptoms, most notably a throbbing, pulsing headache on one side of your head. Your migraine will likely get worse with physical activity, lights, sounds or smells. It may last at least four hours or even days. About 12% of Americans have this genetic disorder. Research shows that its the sixth most disabling disease in the world.
Key Points About Migraine Disease
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What They Are Used For
Preventive medicines for migraine are taken to prevent migraine attacks. They are taken every day and are aimed at preventing migraine attacks altogether or at least reducing their frequency and severity.
If you are having at least four migraine attacks per month you may wish to discuss preventive medication with your doctor. There are a range of different preventive migraine medicines that can be taken, including several that are just becoming available in the UK.
What Tests Are Used To Find Out If I Have Migraine
If you think you get migraine headaches, talk with your doctor. Before your appointment, write down:
Your doctor may also do an exam and ask more questions about your health history. This could include past head injury and sinus or dental problems. Your doctor may be able to diagnose migraine just from the information you provide.
You may get a blood test or other tests, such as CT scan or MRI, if your doctor thinks that something else is causing your headaches. Work with your doctor to decide on the best tests for you.
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How Do We Understand A Migraine Aura
Migraine, just like many pains that we experience in our body are used by our body as a reflex.
This reflex is there to signal to us that we are creating tissue damage and to make us bring our awareness in onto our selves and stop what we are doing. Whether what we are doing right now is part of the cause or not.
Just like if we stub our toe on the corner of some furniture, the pain is there to make us stop doing it and teach us to not repeat the action.
Its a very primal reflex, but it has worked for us for millions of years.
What Is An Aura
An aura is a group of sensory, motor and speech symptoms that usually act like warning signals that a migraine headache is about to begin. Commonly misinterpreted as a seizure or stroke, it typically happens before the headache pain, but can sometimes appear during or even after. An aura can last from 10 to 60 minutes. About 15% to 20% of people who experience migraines have auras.
Aura symptoms are reversible, meaning that they can be stopped/healed. An aura produces symptoms that may include:
- Seeing bright flashing dots, sparkles, or lights.
- Blind spots in your vision.
- Numb or tingling skin.
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How Do You Treat Migraine Aura
Fortunately, most aura symptoms last for a short period of time. Triptans are not usually effective during the aura phase but some people find Aspirin can be helpful. It is important to avoid any activities that you feel may be dangerous whilst your senses are somewhat impaired.
If the aura symptoms are frequent and disturb your life significantly, there are several preventive medications that can be used to reduce the frequency and the duration of the aura attacks.
What Are Rebound Migraines
Women who use acute pain-relief medicine more than two or three times a week or more than 10 days out of the month can set off a cycle called rebound. As each dose of medicine wears off, the pain comes back, leading the patient to take even more. This overuse causes your medicine to stop helping your pain and actually start causing headaches. Rebound headaches can occur with both over-the-counter and prescription pain-relief medicines. They can also occur whether you take them for headache or for another type of pain. Talk to your doctor if youre caught in a rebound cycle.
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Are Migraine Headaches More Common In Women Than Men
Yes. About three out of four people who have migraines are women. Migraines are most common in women between the ages of 20 and 45. At this time of life women often have more job, family, and social duties. Women tend to report more painful and longer lasting headaches and more symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. All these factors make it hard for a woman to fulfill her roles at work and at home when migraine strikes.
Get Your Beauty Sleep
Catching enough zzzs is critical for keeping migraines at bay. A sleep-deprived week followed by a Saturday spent sleeping-in could have the potential to ruin your weekend with a headache. Dr. McCawley recommends staying in a routine by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning.
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How To Prevent Migraines With Aura
A majority of migraine patients report having triggers that precede the onset of a migraine attack. This means that knowing which migraine triggers;lead to attacks has the potential to help prevent migraines with aura. One of the best ways to identify and avoid triggers that are specific to your experience is by using a migraine diary: a running journal of attacks, symptoms, pre-headache symptoms, severity, and more.
Some of the most common triggers include:
- Too much or too little sleep
- Skipping Meals
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What Are The Symptoms Of Migraine
Some people;notice a migraine aura before the headache starts, and this can alert them;that a migraine attack is coming. The symptoms of an aura may be different for everyone. Examples include:
- feeling tired, fatigue
- sensitivity to light or sound
- problems with vision
- tingling or numbing feelings in your body.
When the headache starts, it is a strong pain, usually on one side of your head. You may feel sick or vomit , get tingling around your mouth, have trouble talking or feel dizzy or weak.
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Stopping The Vicious Cycle Of Rebound Headaches
- By Sait Ashina, MD, Contributor
Rebound headaches, also known as medication overuse headaches, are caused by the frequent or excessive use of pain-relieving and/or antimigraine drugs to treat headache attacks that are already in progress. In other words, the same medications that initially relieve headache pain can themselves trigger subsequent headaches if they are used too often. Medication overuse headaches can be disabling, forcing people with this condition to take sick leave and to be less productive at work and home.
To be diagnosed with medication overuse headaches, a person must experience headaches on more than 15 days per month for at least three months while taking pain relieving and/or antimigraine drugs. In addition to headache, other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, irritability, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, restlessness, and constipation.
Medication overuse headache is a common headache disorder. Approximately one to two out of every 100 people has experienced medication overuse headache in the past year. This headache is more common in women, and in people with chronic pain conditions and who have depression and anxiety.
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Whats A Migraine Journal
- Keeping a migraine journal is not only beneficial to you, but it helps your healthcare provider with the diagnosis process. Your journal should be detailed and updated as much as possible before, during and after a migraine attack. Consider keeping track of the following:
- The date and time of when the migraine began specifically when the prodrome started, if youre able to tell its happening. Track time passing. When did the aura phase begin? The headache? The postdrome? Do your best to tell what stage youre in and how long it lasts. If theres a pattern, that may help you anticipate what will happen in the future.
- What are your symptoms? Be specific.
- Note how many hours of sleep you got the night before it happened and your stress level. Whats causing your stress?
- Note the weather.
- Log your food and water intake. Did you eat something that triggered the migraine? Did you miss a meal?
- Describe the type of pain and rate it on a one to 10 scale with 10 being the worst pain youve ever experienced.
- Where is the pain located? One side of your head? Your jaw? Your eye?
- List all of the medications you took. This includes any daily prescriptions, any supplements and any pain medication you took.
- How did you try to treat your migraine, and did it work? What medicine did you take, at what dosage, at what time?
- Consider other triggers. Maybe you played basketball in the sunlight? Maybe you watched a movie that had flashing lights? If youre a woman, are you on your period?
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Watch Your Overall Health
Burst / Pexels
When you have a particular health problem such as headaches or migraines, its easy to concentrate on that problem and ignore your overall health. Dont fall into this trap.
Good overall health is essential when you’re struggling with any more specific health problem. If you stay generally healthy, you may even help yourself contain your head pain.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or A Sinus Headache
Many people confuse a sinus headache with a migraine because pain and pressure in the sinuses, nasal congestion, and watery eyes often occur with migraine. To find out if your headache is sinus or migraine, ask yourself these questions:
In addition to my sinus symptoms, do I have:
If you answer yes to two or three of these questions, then most likely you have migraine with sinus symptoms. A true sinus headache is rare and usually occurs due to sinus infection. In a sinus infection, you would also likely have a fever and thick nasal secretions that are yellow, green, or blood-tinged. A sinus headache should go away with treatment of the sinus infection.
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What Is Causing This Damage To Occur That Our Body Has To Respond With An Aura And Pain
This review explains that
Oxidative stress is a plausible unifying principle behind the types of migraine triggers encountered in clinical practice.
This review is saying that in every case except pericranial pain, all migraine triggers are a source of oxidative stress.
And that oxidative stress is the main factor that goes into the creation of all migraines.
This is big because it changes the way we think about migraines from something that needs to be beat , numbed and avoided To something that needs to be understood and healed.
This means that we can pinpoint 1 single area to focus on instead of the random drugs that have been used for migraines over the years off-label.
Give it more support
Learn how to avoid it
Heal it when its happening
But this is easier said than done and in these 7 essential skills
Avoiding The Emergency Room
If you do not have a rescue treatment available for home use when abortives fail, then please talk to your doctor. This is an essential part of migraine management that is often overlooked.; For decades, I would ask my doctor what to do if my triptan failed. His only response was to visit the ER. It wasnt until I pushed back, insisting that a visit to the ER for a cocktail shot of Toradol, Benadryl, and Phenergan was unnecessarily expensive and wasteful did he agree to prescribe these medicines to me for home use.
Starting in 2013, I began using IM injections of Toradol with a Phenergan suppository as my rescue treatment. Thanks to this, I have been able to avoid the ER ever since. Instead, a few times each year, I am able to treat unresponsive attacks at home, saving me thousands of dollars and avoiding the unnecessary use of the ER.
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Light Noise Or Smells Trigger Or Worsen Pain
In the throes of a migraine attack, the migraine sufferer tends to seek refuge in a dark, quiet place. Bright lights and loud noises can trigger a migraine or intensify the pain. The same is true of certain odors.
“Once you’ve already got a migraine, smells can seem more intense and make it worse,” Dr. Calhoun says. “But a smell can also trigger a migraine in someone who didn’t have one before walked past the perfume counter.”
A Prolonged Migraine Attack
Unfortunately, all of this good advice doesnt help you stop a prolonged attack in progress. If youve already exhausted all of your home treatments, and the attack is still going strong after 72 hours, you do need to call your doctor.;; In most cases he or she will recommend you go to the emergency room for evaluation and treatment. Most likely, the problem is Status Migrainosus which can be stopped in the ER or with a brief inpatient stay.
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What Are Some Ways I Can Prevent Migraine
The best way to prevent migraine is to find out what triggers your attacks and avoid or limit these triggers. Since migraine headaches are more common during times of stress, finding healthy ways to cut down on and cope with stress might help. Talk with your doctor about starting a fitness program or taking a class to learn relaxation skills.
Talk with your doctor if you need to take your pain-relief medicine more than twice a week. Doing so can lead to rebound headaches. If your doctor has prescribed medicine for you to help prevent migraine, take them exactly as prescribed. Ask what you should do if you miss a dose and how long you should take the medicine. Talk with your doctor if the amount of medicine you are prescribed is not helping your headaches.
How Is Migraine Diagnosed
The following are common with migraine attacks and don’t usually happen during a tension headache:
- high sensitivity to light and noise
- nausea or vomiting .
These symptoms are very particular to migraine disorder.;Your doctor may do other tests if they are concerned your headaches may have another cause. However, a migraine attack are not a sign of a stroke or a tumour, and your doctor will reassure you of this.
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Helpful Supplements For Preventing Migraines
10) Try Butterbur experts suggest that this herb may help to prevent migraines as it helps blood flow healthily around the body including to the brain.
11) Take Feverfew supplementation this is a remedy that may help to stop migraines before they occur. In studies, feverfew has resulted in a lower number of headaches and minimized pain when taking the supplement.
12) Magnesium often works as a migraine prevention remedy magnesium is an essential nutrient in the body and is available in high levels in certain spices, cereals, nuts, leafy vegetables, tea, and coffee. Experts say that during a migraine attack the brain suffers from low levels of magnesium, therefore, they say that taking magnesium is effective to prevent migraines from occurring as it lowers the risk of magnesium deficiency. In most cases it is recommended to take magnesium at high doses over a relatively long period of time.
13) Use Coenzyme Q10 this is like a vitamin and is available in supplement form. It is an antioxidant and can also help to reduce the number of days with a migraine by up to 50 percent, according to some studies. It may also help to reduce the severity of migraine headaches.
14) Try riboflavin this is also known as vitamin B2. It is also useful as an antioxidant. You can get riboflavin from eggs and lean meat, nuts, dairy, and legumes. It has been studied, and participants in trials have experienced fewer migraines and less severe migraines when taking riboflavin.