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How To Tell If A Headache Is A Migraine

What Else Can I Do To Prevent Migraines

How to tell if your headache is actually a migraine

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.

How Can Parents Tell If Their Children Are Having A Migraine Headache

Unlike adults who can describe their symptoms most young children are limited in their ability to describe their headache given their developmental stage.

Important clues that can alert parents that their child is having a migraine headache is where their child suddenly appears:

  • Unwell or pale
  • Bangs or holds his or her head
  • Complains of a stomach-ache and/or vomits
  • Stops play
  • Wants to go lay down to rest in a dark, quiet room
  • After a period of rest/sleep, they go back to their activity

What Distinguishes Migraine From A Sinus

The initial presentation of sinus infection is so similar to migraine that it is often mistakenly diagnosed and treated like just another headache. However, despite overlapping symptoms, differences between the two entities can be distinguished through a careful evaluation.

Migraine is a familiar event, with or without warning symptoms . It may be gradual or abrupt in onset, moderate or severe in intensity, is often accompanied by a sensitivity to light and sound, and by nausea and vomiting. The pain may be one-sided or diffuse, limited to the front, top, or back of the head, and may often reach into the neck. It may hurt in the face area as well. Migraine may be provoked by other illnesses that affect the head or neck, such as a dental problem or respiratory or sinus infection. Migraine often subsides after several hours with the assistance of an effective rescue medication . For most, migraine is a distinct and familiar event with a predictable duration and resolution.

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Throbbing Pain On One Or Both Sides Of The Head

Pulsating pain is a classic sign of migraines. The throbbing is often felt on one side of the head.

In an online survey of patients with migraines, the National Headache Foundation found that 50% “always” have throbbing on one side, while 34% say they “frequently” have this symptom.

Migraine pain often burrows behind the eye.

People will blame it on eye strain and many will get their eyes checked, but that won’t make their headaches any better, Dr. Messina says.

How Do I Know If Its A Tension Headache Sinus Headache Or Migraine

How To Tell If You Have A Headache Or A Migraine

One clear way to designate migraine from a regular old tension headache is that during an attack, youll want to take cover in a dark, quiet room. In addition to the above-mentioned symptoms, stimuli like light, sound, and movement worsen pain and symptoms, further distinguishing migraine from tension headache. One key here is disability: Migraine makes it challenging to function as you would normally.

Sinusitis and migraine are often confused with each other because pain location can be similar, and overlapping symptoms like eye tearing, eye redness, and nasal congestion can appear during a migraine episode. However, if a practitioner asks the right questions, the distinction should be straightforward, as many migraine symptoms do not fall in line with a sinusitis diagnosis.

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What Are The Most Common Types Of Headaches

The most common type of headache is considered by the International Headache Society to be a tension headache . There are over 22 types of headaches that have been described. Many are common . However, this article will be limited to migraine, tension, cluster, sinus, and hormonal headaches as these are common types.

  • Tension headaches: A tension headache is characterized by mild to moderate chronic headache pain, often with a band-like tightness discomfort or pain on both sides of the head.
  • Cluster headaches: A cluster headache produces pain on only one side of the head . The pain is excruciating with stabbing pain in the head and eye. It has been described as feeling as if the eyes are being pushed out. Cluster headaches are not preceded by an aura, and usually do not have symptoms of nausea, vomiting or aversion to light and sound.
  • Sinus headaches: A sinus headache is a type of headache usually is caused by an infection of the facial sinuses and/or sinus congestion. A sinus headache is mild to moderate head pain, and has symptoms of throbbing head pain, and/or pain produced around the facial sinuses, eyes, cheeks, and forehead, usually occurring with an infection of a facial sinus and/or sinus congestion.
  • Hormonal headaches: Hormonal headaches are headaches that can resemble either migraines or tension headaches, but occur during hormonal changes in women during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and/or menopause.
  • What Are Sinus Headaches

    Real sinus headaches are almost always from a sinus infection. Sinus infections are common with 10% to 30% of the population experiencing at least one sinus infection each year.

    Sinus infections are also known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis. This occurs when the sinus becomes inflamed. Common symptoms include thick nasal mucous, blocked nose and facial pain. Sinus infections may be caused by an infection, allergy or air pollution. Most cases are due to viral infection. Infections are often transmitted through coughing, sneezing, kissing, contact with contaminated surfaces, food or water or contact with infected animals or pets.

    To understand how sinus headaches are confused with migraine its important to know what migraine is.

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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.

    Aspirus Health Explains Migraines

    Headache Treatments : How to Tell if You Have a Sinus Headache

    Submitted to OnFocus By some estimates, about 12 percent of Americans experience migraines. Could you be one of them?

    Migraines arent the same for all people. But that pounding in your head could be a migraine if the pain begins in your forehead, on the side of your head or around your eyes and then gradually gets worse.

    Headaches are frequent, almost everyone will experience one in their lifetime, said Aspirus Health Nurse Practitioner Tiffany Miller. Those who suffer from migraines know they have a significant impact on your everyday life. They can hit you while at work, out with you friends or spending time with your family.

    Almost any movement, activity, bright lights or loud noise might make your head hurt even more.

    More tipoffs it might be a migraine: You might feel nauseated and vomit. And as happens for about 1 out of 4 people with migraines, yours might begin with a warning sign called an aura, which may include vision changessuch as flashing lights or zig-zag linesor tingling in the lips, tongue, lower face or the fingers of one hand.

    Cause still a mystery

    Doctors still dont know just what happens in the brain to start a migraine. But it is clear people who experience them are susceptible to certain triggers. Among them:

    • Loud noises, bright lights or strong smells.
    • Skipped meals, alcohol or certain foodssuch as aged cheeses and cured meats.
    • Not enough sleep.
    • Hormonal changes related to menstrual periods and birth control pills.
    Tame your headaches

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    What Is A Headache

    Headaches are unpleasant pains in your head that can cause pressure and aching. The pain can range from mild to severe, and they usually occur on both sides of your head. Some specific areas where headaches can occur include the forehead, temples, and back of the neck. A headache can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a week. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common headache type is a tension headache. Triggers for this headache type include stress, muscle strain, and anxiety.

    Tension headaches arent the only type of headache other headache types include:

    Key Facts To Know About Migraine

    What is a migraine and what are the symptoms?

    Cooper: A migraine is a reflex in our nervous system that we all have, and we understand the biology now better than we ever did. We know the immune system gets activated, the nervous system gets activated, and theres a consequence of a hypersensitized brain with light and sound sensitivity and pain.

    Everyone in the world can have a migraine. Those who say theyve never had a migraine but have had a hangover headache have probably had a migraine that was induced by alcohol.

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    For someone who has severe migraine, they cant just be fine in an hour or two when it occurs. They expand to having severe light and sound sensitivity or severe nausea sometimes having to throw up, lie down and actually sleep or rest for a day or two at a time.

    They have no way to predict when thats going to happen. It may occur while a person is at work or maybe while they have something important going on, such as a wedding. Theres really no way to control that.

    What causes migraine?

    Cooper: Anything that irritates that nervous system experience can cause migraine. For some people, thats not getting enough sleep. For others, its because theyve been under undue amounts of stress.

    Red wine can also bring out migraine, as can eating foods high in sugars and overusing caffeine.

    How do I know if I have a headache or a migraine?

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    How Long Should A Headache Last After Being Sick With Covid

    The evidence varies on how long a COVID-related headache can last. Sometimes headache symptoms can last days to months. If you are having a persistent headache and you are unsure if it is related to COVID, it is important to speak with your health care provider, especially if it is making you uncomfortable or you are not someone who usually experiences headaches.

    Where To Seek Help

    Headache or Migraine? How You Know the Difference (With ...
    • Always see your doctor if you’re worried about migraines or headaches. Seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing any other sudden or unusual symptoms.
    • If you’re not sure whether you’re having a migraine, try the healthdirect Symptom Checker tool for advice on what to do next.
    • If you’re not sure whether you need to see a doctor or go to hospital, you can call healthdirect for advice on 1800 022 222 .
    • To find a doctor or health service near you, use the healthdirect service finder.
    • Visit the Headache Australia website for information and support. There, you can also join Headache Australia’s national register to stay informed of any new treatments, developments and research into migraine and headache.

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    Migraines Are Accompanied By Visual Disturbances

    One of the key indicators of a migraine is the additional symptoms besides the debilitating pain, like visual disturbances also known as auras.

    Migraines can come with a variety of other symptoms including aura, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual distortions, said Dr. Khorsandi. Dr. Williams further detailed the auras as troubles including blurriness, bright/flashing dots, wavy or jagged lines. I am plagued by auras before the migraine arrives. Its the disturbance in the force, the calm before the storm, and serves a warning so I can attempt to deal with whats to come.

    Sally Morgan, a holistic physical therapist and certified craniosacral therapist who also suffered from migraines, reminded me of another side effect of migraines that we dont think of often bumps and bruises. She said, Visual acuity lessens during migraine attacks and people report walking into a wall or knocking things over accidentally during a headache. Been there, done that.

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    What’s A Migraine And How Is It Different

    A migraine is also a type of headache, but it’s also much more than that. Migraine is actually a neurological disorder, with severe headaches being only one symptom.

    Other symptoms of migraine include:

    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting

    Migraine headaches involve extreme pain with a throbbing or pulsing sensation. The pain usually occurs on just one side of the head, lasting from a few hours to several days a time. In fact, it is not uncommon for migraines to sideline your everyday activities, such as work, school or anything else that involves leaving a dark room. Migraine is considered “chronic” when headaches occur for 15 or more days per month.

    A migraine occurs in four stages, although not all migraine sufferers experience each one.

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    How Can The Doctor Tell What Type Of Headache I Have

    You can help your doctor to diagnose your headache type by keeping a headache diary in the weeks leading up to your appointment. Your diary should record the number of days you have a headache, how severe your headache is and any other symptoms associated with your headache, such as nausea. A headache diary can also help your doctor look for patterns and triggers, which can help with your treatment.

    It is important that you let your doctor know how your headache affects your day-to-day life and the impact it has on your partner, children, employer, work colleagues and friends.

    Important Facts About Asthma And Migraine

    How To Tell If Your Headache Is A Migraine?

    The relationship between migraine and asthma is equally confusing. Clearly, there is some overlap in the risk or triggering factors for asthma and migrainefor example, stress and certain environmental triggers or allergens. Often migraine sufferers with asthma report that both asthma and migraine can worsen at the same time, and occasionally one seems to lead to the other. In one study, patients with asthma were 1.5 times more likely to also have migraine.

      Asthma may be triggered by a number of different allergens or environmental triggers that also may lead to other airway conditions such as allergic rhinitis.

    • Airway conditions including asthma, allergic rhinitis, or sinusitis all may be associated with headache.
    • Diagnosing the specific headaches associated with airway conditions is important to ensure that treatment is successful. For example, some over-the-counter allergy medicines may also lead to a worsening of headache in some patients, especially if taken frequently.
    • Asthma may be associated or comorbid with migraine, and a full diagnosis of each condition is needed.
    • Identifying potential triggers for asthma is important for reducing the risk of an attack and the risk of triggering a migraine.

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    How Can I Tell If I Have A Headache Or A Migraine

    A headache is usually felt as a tight pressure on both sides of the head and is usually not severe. A migraine includes other symptoms as well as headache. Migraine pain is usually throbbing in nature and is often worse on one side of the head than the other. If you are experiencing nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and/or sound or seeing bright shimmering lights, you are most likely having a migraine. Treatments for migraine and other headaches are different and so it is important that you see your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis of your headache type.

    How Is Migraine Diagnosed

    Theres no blood test or scan that will tell your doctor if your head pain is migraine. The only real way for your doctor to know is to talk to you. They need to get information about the specifics of your head pain, your response to current and previous treatments, your family history, and how your head pain affects your daily functioning and quality of life. A thorough assessment will also include a general medical and neurological physical exam.

    Here are some questions your doctor might ask, but be prepared for many questions:

    • When did they first begin?
    • How many times in a week/month do these attacks occur?
    • How severe are they ?
    • What else accompanies the pain ?
    • How long do they last?
    • How much do these attacks keep you from doing activities or keep you from being at your best when doing activities?
    • Have you ever had a brain CT or MRI?
    • What medications or other therapies have you tried?
    • Have you ever heard that or do you know of a close relative that had bad head pain?

    Ready to make an appointment? Learn more about talking to your doctor.

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    What Are Some Migraine Risk Factors And Triggers

    Some things make you more likely to get migraine headaches . Other things may bring on a migraine .

    Common migraine risk factors include the following:

    • Family history: You are much more likely to have migraines if one or both of your parents had migraines.
    • Sex: Women are more likely than men to have migraines.
    • Age: Most people have their first migraine during adolescence, but migraines can start at any age, usually before age 40.

    Common migraine triggers include the following:

    • Food and drink: Certain food and drink may cause migraines. Dehydration and dieting or skipping meals may also trigger migraines.
    • Hormone changes: Women may experience migraines related to their menstrual cycles, to menopause, or to using hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy.
    • Stress: Stress may trigger migraines. Stress includes feeling overwhelmed at home or work, but your body can also be stressed if you exercise too much or dont get enough sleep.
    • Senses: Loud sounds, bright lights , or strong smells may trigger migraines.
    • Medicines: Certain medicines may trigger migraines. If you think your migraines might be related to your medicine, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a different medicine.
    • Illness: Infections, such as the cold or the flu, may trigger migraines, especially in children.

    Foods that may trigger migraines:

    • aged, canned, cured, or processed meat
    • aged cheese
    • soy sauce


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