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How To Tell If My Headache Is A Migraine

Do Painkillers Make My Headache And Migraine Worse

How Do I Know If My Headache Is a Migraine?

Chronic headaches can seriously impact your quality of living. However, pain-killers will not solve the problem. Headache pain is not fun. However, it can make it difficult to think clearly. Even a mild headache can make it difficult to do your work properly, and even just getting through your day becomes difficult.

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.”

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Make the most of your doctor appointment by preparing a list of questions that you wonât want to forget. Here are some examples:

What could be causing my migraines?

  • Do I need tests?
  • Will my migraines get better?
  • What is the best treatment for me?
  • Are there non-drug options that will help?
  • What if my medication does not work?
  • Will changes to my lifestyle or diet make a difference?
  • Could there be other reasons I have migraine symptoms?

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Is The Pain From Migraine Different From Other Headache Pain

In most instances, migraine pain is different from other headache pain since to classify as a headache as a migraine, the pain must have at least a combination of three of five features. The pain is 1) moderate to severe, 2) is pulsating, and 3) is only on one side of the head , and it is accompanied by either 4) nausea and/or vomiting or 5) photophobia and phonophobia.

Recovery Or Postdrome Stage

Headache or Migraine

This is the final stage of an attack, and it can take hours or days for a drained, fatigued or hangover type feeling to disappear. Symptoms can be similar to those of the first stage . Often, they mirror these symptoms. For example, if you lost your appetite at the beginning of the attack, you might be very hungry now. If you were tired, you might feel full of energy.

Being aware of the different stages of the migraine attack can be helpful. It can help you prepare for an attack, get a diagnosis and decide when to take acute treatment, such as painkillers or adapt your activities.

It is useful to have a rescue treatment plan for when attacks occur. This may include painkillers such as a triptan, a NSAID or paracetamol. It often also includes anti-sickness medication.

For other people, being aware of the stages and symptoms of a migraine attack can help their understanding. It may also help with the frustration and lack of understanding people often face around migraine, especially at work and in education.

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The Headache Or Main Attack Stage

This stage involves moderate to severe head pain. The headache is typically throbbing and is made worse by movement. It is usually on one side of the head, especially at the start of an attack. However, you can get pain on both sides, or all over the head.

Nausea and vomiting can happen at this stage, and you may feel sensitive to light, sound, smell and movement. Painkillers work best when taken early in this stage.

Recognizing Headaches With Dangerous Causes

One clue that a headache is a sign of something serious is when its significantly worse than the headaches you usually get. Another clue is when the headache is accompanied by other symptoms that are new to you.

When the headache is the worst headache of your life, or when it is accompanied by fever, neck stiffness, weakness or numbness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, loss of consciousness, confusion, loss of vision, or any other neurological symptom, its serious, says Alexander Mauskop, MD, the founder and director of the New York Headache Center and a professor of neurology at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.

If in doubt, be safe rather than sorry and call 911 or go to the emergency room, Dr. Mauskop says.

More serious headache causes include the following:

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How Do You Know If You Have A Migraine Or Another Type Of Headache

The only way to be sure what kind of a headache you have is to see a doctor, but you can help your doctor make a diagnosis by keeping tabs on your symptoms with a headache diary.

You should record things like:

  • what your headache feels like
  • what other symptoms come along with it
  • how long your headache pain and other symptoms last
  • how often your headache strikes

A doctor can take a cohesive look at your headache patterns, your family history, and the results of any required tests and examinations to help you figure out what kind of headache you haveâso you can get treatment.

So how can you tell if you have migraine attacks versus a different type of headache? Without the help of a doctor, it can be difficult to tell the difference between, say, chronic migraine, and another serious condition. Thatâs why itâs important to talk about your condition with a doctor.

The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

Eek How Can I Tell If Im Having A Migraine Or Just A Tension Or Sinus Headache

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

Migraine headaches can cause various symptoms before, during, and after the attack. Not all people experience all symptoms, and your migraine may be entirely different than a friends.

Symptoms can come on gradually or suddenly. Sometimes they start overnight, causing people to wake up with a migraine, but not always, the Mayo Clinic notes. Basically, every migraine headache is slightly different, and theres no cut and dry list of symptoms that pertain to everyone.

All that said, there are a number of ways migraines differ from regular headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms, youre likely suffering from a migraine and not something that’ll go away by popping some Advil.

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What Happens In A Brain Aneurysm

Your brain has many small vessels that carry blood. If the walls of one of those vessels is weak, it can bulge out and form a small blood-filled balloon.

This is a brain aneurysm. Many people can have one for years without having problems. If an aneurysm bursts, though, it can cause an extreme headache and other symptoms. You’ll need emergency medical care since it can be life threating.

What Signs And Symptoms Only Occur In Migraines

Usually, but not always, migraine headaches are preceded by an aura that most commonly is a visual band with a shimmering or glittering border that precedes the head pain, and lasts about 5 to 60 minutes. However, migraine auras may consist of many different perceptions and vary from person to person. These signs and symptoms usually are present in migraine headaches:

  • Aura
  • Moderate to intense pain that is throbbing and/or pulsating on one side of the head and/or neck, and are often accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting
  • Physical activity may worsen headache pain

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Migraines Can Interrupt Daily Life

While an intense headache is annoying and disruptive, a migraine can interrupt the sufferer’s daily life, incapacitating them and grinding their usual routines to a halt. “With migraine, sufferers may have difficulty performing their regular daily activities and typically prefer to rest in a dark and quiet area,” said Dr. Grosberg.

“This is in contrast to the most common type of ‘regular’ headache that people experience which is tension-type headache. This type of headache can last from 30 minutes to one week and often affects both sides of the head in a ‘band-like’ distribution. The pain may be a pressure or ache, mild to moderate in intensity, and is not associated with light and sound sensitivity or nausea. With tension-type headache, people can often function during their daily activities.”

Morgan furthered, “Many people with migraines cannot function during an episode whereas with other headaches, you can rally and get through your day.”

What Are Some Ways I Can Prevent Migraine

What Your Headache is Trying to Tell You? #headache # ...

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.

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What Medicines Help Relieve Migraine Pain

For mild to moderate migraines, over-the-counter medicines that may help relieve migraine pain include:

  • aspirin
  • acetaminophen
  • an acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine combination
  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen
  • ketoprofen

People who have more severe migraines may need to try abortive prescription medicines. A medicine called ergotamine can be effective alone or combined with other medicines. Dihydroergotamine is related to ergotamine and can be helpful. Other prescription medicines for migraines include sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, almotriptan, eletriptan, and frovatriptan.

If the pain wont go away, stronger pain medicine may be needed, such as a narcotic, or medicines that contain a barbiturate . These medicines can be habit-forming and should be used cautiously. Your doctor may prescribe these only if they are needed and only for a short period of time.

Aspirus Health Explains Migraines

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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How To Treat Headaches And Migraines

Migraines are common problems for millions of people worldwide. Yet without a proper diagnosis, migraines may go untreated. In this scenario, you may experience migraine attacks that make it tough to work, go to school or perform various everyday tasks.

For those who experience headaches three or more days per week, consulting with a doctor is key. A doctor can then perform a patient evaluation, as well as offer a personalized headache treatment plan.

Sometimes, doctors recommend over-the-counter medications to alleviate headache pain. These medications may provide instant headache pain relief, but they offer no guarantees. In fact, OTC medications may fail to deliver the desired results or cause nausea, vomiting and other unwanted side effects.

If headache pain lingers after an initial treatment, a doctor may provide a migraine diagnosis. The doctor may then prescribe different migraine medications or offer alternative treatments.

Of course, chronic migraines may be problematic, too. If you experience 15 or more headache days per month, you may be dealing with chronic migraines.

A neurologist can provide a chronic migraine diagnosis, as well as prescribe chronic migraine medications. However, if chronic migraine medications are ineffective or cause intolerable side effects, Dr. Jonathan Cabin of The Migraine Institute can help.

You’re Also Experiencing Sensory Or Gastrointestinal Symptoms

How To Give Yourself A Headache | 8 TRIGGERING WAYS!

Though headaches sometimes present as one of the earliest symptoms of coronavirus, there are two other types of symptoms that often follow suit. “COVID-19 related headaches were more closely associated with anosmia/ageusia and gastrointestinal complaints,” the study explains.

If you notice that your headache is paired with even mild iterations of these symptoms, it’s definitely time to get a COVID test. And to decode your gastrointestinal issues, check out This Is How to Tell If Your Upset Stomach Is COVID, Doctors Say.

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Cluster Headache Vs Migraine

Just like migraines, cluster headaches affect one side of the head and are incredibly painful.

But unlike migraines, cluster headaches come on suddenly with a piercing pain that feels like someone stabbed you in the eye or temple with a knitting needle. Cluster headaches can also result in a stuffy nose and teary eyes.

Migraine pain usually starts with some type of signal, such as a flashing light in your visual field or a light aura. While cluster headaches can resolve quickly , migraines can last for days.

So What Exactly Are Migraines And Why Do People Get Them

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a migraine is a brain disease that causes various uncomfortable symptoms that can last anywhere from four hours up to three days.

While the exact cause of migraine headaches is unknown, the Migraine Research Foundation says that both genes and environmental factors likely play a role. We also know that the symptoms are brought on by a change in chemical activity that impacts both the central and peripheral nervous systems, explains Jessica Ailani, M.D., director of the MedStar Georgetown Headache Center in Washington D.C.

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What Makes A Migraine Different

Before we cover some of the many types of headaches out there, letâs talk about what a migraine is. The most well-known migraine symptom is a pounding, severe headache, usually starting on the left side of your head. Some other types of headaches also start on the left side, and a migraine wonât always start there, so how can you know for sure when youâre dealing with an attack?

Well, migraine symptoms typically follow a unique pattern. The scientific term for the period before the headache sets in is the âprodrome. â It can last for a few hours, or even up to a few days. During this period, itâs common to experience symptoms like:

  • difficulty concentrating, speaking, or reading
  • food cravings

Some migraine sufferers also have an aura within the hour before their headache. The aura can include:

  • visual disturbances, like flashing lights, blind spots, geometric shapes, etc.
  • sensory disturbances, like numbness, pins and needles sensations, etc.
  • brainstem-related symptoms, such as vertigo, difficulty speaking, ringing ears, etc.
  • retinal symptoms, usually temporary partial or total blindness in just one eye.

Once the headache strikes, the pain can last 4-72 hours and be debilitating.

Afterward, many people will be stuck recovering from a âmigraine hangover,â or, to get scientific, a âpostdrome.â The hangover can last several days and leave you nauseous, moody, thirsty or craving certain foods, unable to concentrate, and sensitive to lights and sounds.

What Are Rebound Migraines

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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 you’re caught in a rebound cycle.

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When Its Actually A Migraine

If you have a migraine, you may experience:

  • An aura, or light haze, in the minutes before migraine pain appears
  • Blurry vision
  • Pain on one side of your head
  • Light, touch, smell or sound sensitivity
  • Nausea

Occasional migraines can be brought on by:

  • Hormone fluctuations
  • Lack of food or hydration
  • Changes in the weather

In the case of a one-time migraine, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medicines such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief.

Both Caffeine And Caffeine Withdrawal Can Lead To Head Pain

The relationship between caffeine and headaches can be complicated. Some people drink a cup of coffee or take medication with caffeine to help with a headache, but for others, the stimulant can trigger an attack.

Caffeine use is a common trigger for headaches and for caffeine withdrawal headaches, notes Bhatt. These are often severe, continuous headaches that dont improve with heavy-duty pain medications but dramatically respond to reinstitution of caffeine use.

If you are prone to caffeine-withdrawal headaches, talk with your doctor about gradually weaning yourself off caffeine over a month to see whether headache pain decreases.

Additional reporting by Becky Upham.

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