Thursday, June 16, 2022
HomeFactsHow To Tell If Your Headache Is A Migraine

How To Tell If Your Headache Is A Migraine

The Influence Of Migraines

How to tell if your headache is actually a migraine

While you may consider migraines to be a type of headache, theyâre differentiated by their symptoms and how theyâre treated. Migraines also tend to be studied and researched more heavily than your typical headache with some interesting findings. More than 38 million Americans suffer from migraines. Two to three million sufferers experience them on a chronic basis. Sixty-three percent of people experience at least one migraine per month and 24% head to the emergency room due to severe pain.

Migraines can be completely debilitating due to intense pain and accompanying symptoms. They prevent some people from going to work, driving a car, or even getting out of bed. So, if a migraine is just a really bad headache, how can you tell the difference between the two? How should migraines be treated? Itâs important to note what happens when your headache isnât just a headache and learn how to improve your quality of life while dealing with this condition.

Both Migraine And Cluster Headache Can Get Better With Age

Puberty is often the time when girls first have migraine attacks, and theyre most common between ages 18 and 44, according to Migraine Research Foundation.

About 2 out of 3 women with migraine will have significant improvement in their migraine attack frequency when they go through natural menopause, especially for women who have migraine with aura, according to American Migraine Foundation.

The average age of onset of cluster headache is between 20 and 40, according to American Migraine Foundation. People may not age out of cluster headaches entirely, but the amount of time between bouts of cluster headaches usually increases, leading to fewer headaches, according to the Migraine Trust.

What Is A Migraine Attack And How Do You Manage It

Migraine is the leading cause of disability in people aged 15 to 49, yet this brain disease is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Heres what you need to know.

I was a teenager when I had my first migraine attack. I was sitting in my sunny living room and I started to see spots. Bright and iridescent, they gradually morphed into a swirling pattern that spread across the left side of my vision. I couldnt see past it, and I had no idea what was happening to me.

The episode soon passed, but it was followed by a throbbing headache. My mom instantly recognized the signs of migrainesomething she was all too familiar with.

Over the years, I had the odd migraine attack, but nothing I couldnt manage with a nap and some ibuprofen. But after I had kids, my attacks increased, and I developed some concerningand confusingsymptoms.

I became painfully sensitive to noise and had bouts of tinnitus , but ear exams showed nothing. I had dizzy spells and thought my thyroid medication needed adjusting, but my bloodwork was normal. I was often exhausted, but I blamed it on parenting. Ditto for my anxiety and depression, which were at an all-time high.

Then I started getting pins and needles in the side of my face, along with tingling in my arm, tightness in my chest, and heart palpitations. After two visits to the ER and a full cardiology workup, I was assured that my heart was healthy. I was relieved, but mystified. What was going on with me?

You May Like: How Much Is Excedrin Migraine At Walmart

Headache And Migraine Signs You Need To Be Aware Of

Headaches and migraines plague more than 38 million people, with some studies suggesting that 13 percent of adults in the U.S. have periodic migraines and two to three million people suffer from chronic migraines. June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, a good a time as any to discuss the signs you should be aware of, particularly if you have a loved one in hospice. Thats because many chronic and terminal illnesses and diseases are punctuated by severe headaches and migraines. Even the medication San Francisco hospice patients are put on can contribute to them. This year for 2018s Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, the theme is You Are Not Alone. Indeed. The more we know about these debilitating conditions, the stronger we can be.

Headache Versus Migraine: Whats The Difference

Migraine and Sinus Headache: How to Tell the Difference

Okay, so you feel that workday headache coming on. Should you take ibuprofen and a quick nap to treat your symptoms or turn to migraine medicine? Most medical professionals study multiple sets of criteria to determine if someone is plagued with a regular headache or if a migraine is at play. While it might be tempting to self-diagnose based upon your symptoms, your primary care physician is your best bet for migraine relief.

The pain associated with headaches and migraines can be somewhat similar as both can strike with different levels of intensity and affect varying parts of the head. But how the pain feels will determine whether you have a headache or migraine. Headache pain usually involves constant tightness in certain parts of the head, while a migraine takes on a more throbbing quality. Sometimes, physical movement can intensify the pain associated with a migraine.

Aside from the pain, youâve probably noticed that each time your head hurts, an array of additional symptoms tend to plague you. Headaches can include soreness in the neck or shoulders as well as tenderness in your head. Other than that, your symptoms donât really change much over its duration. Migraines, on the other hand, are more fluid and can be affected by light, sounds, and smells. They can also be accompanied by nausea or vomiting, making it far more difficult to get through your work day.

Don’t Miss: Migraine Pain Medication List

Treatment For Migraine Headaches

Find out what your triggers are and avoid them. Keep a headache diary so you can track things like what youve eaten and had to drink, how much youve slept, activities youve taken part in, weather, and other factors. After youve had a few migraine headaches, you can see what things they have in common.

You may be able to catch a migraine on the front-end. Abortive medications, which you take as soon as you feel one coming on, can often stop the process. Drugstores carry over-the-counter ibuprofen medications specifically for migraine headaches. If they arent enough to help, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications.

If you dont respond to other treatments and you have more than 4 migraine headache days a month, your doctor may suggest preventive medicines. You can take these regularly to reduce the severity or frequency of the headaches. These include seizure medicines, blood pressure medicines , and some antidepressants.

Its also possible you will be prescribed use of external medical devices for relief. They include a hand-held called gammaCore which is a noninvasive vagus nerve stimulator . I, it can be placed on the vagus nerve in the neck to interrupt verve signals for migraine relief. Another device called a SpringTMS can be used for treatment or prevention or migraines. It is placed on the back of the head and gives off a pulse of magnetic energy into part of the brain to stop or ease

How Are Migraines Diagnosed

To diagnose a migraine, your healthcare provider will get a thorough medical history, not just your history of headaches but your familys, too. Also, they’ll want to establish a history of your migraine-related symptoms, likely asking you to:

  • Describe your headache symptoms. How severe are they?
  • Remember when you get them. During your period, for example?
  • Describe the type and location of your pain. Is the pain pounding? Pulsing? Throbbing?
  • Remember if anything makes your headache better or worse.
  • Tell how often you get migraine headaches.
  • Talk about the activities, foods, stressors or the situations that may have brought on the migraine.
  • Discuss what medications you take to relieve the pain and how often you take them.
  • Tell how you felt before, during and after the headache.
  • Remember if anyone in your family gets migraine headaches.

Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests and imaging tests to make sure there are no other causes for your headache. An electroencephalogram may be ordered to rule out seizures.

Read Also: Can You Get A Fever With A Migraine

Who Gets Migraines What Are The Risk Factors

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.

How To Tell If You Have A Headache Sinus Pain Or A Migraine

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

Headaches in any form can be disruptive to our lives, but not all of them are the same.

According to experts, most people dont know the difference between various types of headaches, like sinus headaches and migraines. That can make a painful situation so much worse.

Knowing which issue youre dealing with is vital to treating it. So HuffPost reached out to the experts to help walk you through the differences, dispel some myths and help you learn more about what you may be experiencing. Here are the different types and what you can do about each of them:

Also Check: Can You Get A Fever With A Migraine

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.

MORE FROM MICHIGAN: Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

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?

SEE ALSO: Why Your Tight Ponytail Causes a Painful Headache

What Should I Do When A Migraine Begins

Work with your doctor to come up with a plan for managing your migraines. Keeping a list of home treatment methods that have worked for you in the past also can help. When symptoms begin:

  • If you take migraine medicine, take it right away.
  • Drink fluids, if you don’t have nausea during your migraine.
  • Lie down and rest in a dark, quiet room, if that is practical.

Some people find the following useful:

  • A cold cloth on your head
  • Rubbing or applying pressure to the spot where you feel pain
  • Massage or other relaxation exercises

You May Like: Medication For Migraines List

Seven Signs Your Headache Is A Migraine

    While 39 million Americans have migraines, most people dont understand the condition or know how it’s different from a headache. Many people think theyre having a migraine, but just have a severe headache, while others have migraines but dont make the connection between their symptoms.;

    A migraine is a neurological disorder that causes a variety of debilitating symptoms, including severe headaches. Attacks last anywhere from 4-72 hours and often lead to missed work, school, and social activities.;

    Our anesthesiologist and pain management expert Syed Nasir, MD, here at Skilled Pain Care Clinic, PA, in Houston and Katy, Texas, diagnoses migraines and offers customized treatment including Botox® injections.;

    How can you tell if your headache is a migraine? Look for these seven signs.;

    What Are The Different Types Of Migraines

    What Your Headache Location Tells You: How To Tell What ...

    There are various migraine types. One of the categorizations is a distinction between two of the most common types migraine with aura and migraine without aura.

    Migraine without aura is the more common type of migraine. Migraine with aura, which occurs typically in 25% 30% of people with migraine, is defined when, for at least two attacks, individuals experience an aura that is completely reversible, including at least one of the following symptoms: visual disturbances , sensory problems , speech or language problems, eye problems, such as flashes of light, blind spots and other symptoms such as vertigo, tinnitus , and more. Typically, no aura symptom lasts more than an hour and it typically occurs with the headache, or an hour before the headache begins.

    Migraine can also be classified based on the frequency and severity of headaches, into two main types: chronic and episodic. People with chronic migraines generally have a migraine headache for 15 or more days per month, for 3 or more months. Chronic migraine is an especially disabling disorder associated with severe headaches and can have significant effects on ones quality of life, leading to difficulty in performing daily activities. Episodic migraine refers to those not diagnosed as chronic, characterized by those with migraine headaches up to 14 days a month.

    For breaking news and live news updates, like us on or follow us on and . Read more on Latest Health News on


    You May Like: Remedy For Migraine While Pregnant

    How To Tell You’re Having A Migraine

    Migraines are severely disabling, with symptoms ranging from intense head pain to nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. If you suffer from migraines, it’s helpful to know some common warning signs, so you can prepare for or try to prevent one. Watch this video for signs that a migraine might be around the corner.

    You Also Have A Stiff Neck Or High Fever

    If you have a headache and a fever, you may think its the flu. But add in the telltale symptom of a stiff neck, and you may have meningitis.

    The infection, which can be bacterial or viral, affects the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. The swelling of these membranes is what can trigger a headache and stiff neck. You may also have nausea, vomiting or even seizures if you have meningitis. Although meningitis is hard to diagnose because it can mimic other infections, if you have a headache along with these other symptoms, its best to get checked by your doctor.

    You May Like: Can Amitriptyline Be Used For Migraines

    What Is The Treatment

    Migraine is complex and there are different treatments available. The right treatment for you will depend on the type of migraine, your symptoms, how often you have attacks and how bad they are. It will also depend on your medical history.

    Migraine treatment usually includes acute treatment such as painkillers and anti-sickness medication to stop or shorten an attack. If you are having more than four attacks a month you can ask your GP about preventive treatment. This is usually taken every day to reduce how often you have attacks and how bad they are.

    Reviewing any lifestyle factors or triggers that may contribute to the attacks, such as stress, change in routine and sleep patterns, can help. There is currently no cure for migraine.

    Is It A Headache Or A Migraine

    How to Identify Your Migraine Triggers

    Headaches. We all get them and you know the feeling. Sharp, throbbing pain or a dull ache. Headaches are the most common form of pain, but if theyre making you miss out on work or school, it might be time to see a doctor. Not all headaches need a doctors attention, but when they start to affect your daily activities or quality of life, its time to talk to an expert.

    Alli Hock from Salt Lake City started out with migraines a few times a year that turned into debilitating chronic migraines several times a week. She stopped traveling, activities and going out with friends.

    I was miserable, she recalls.

    Alli now takes a combination of medications and Botox which has changed her life. I dont think you could put into words. Before, I had given up what my life used to be and wasnt sure I could get back. Thats changed, she said.

    Also Check: Aspartame Causes Headaches

    Also Check: Migraines And Alzheimers

    What Is Migraine Exactly

    A billion people worldwide suffer from migraine, a neurological disease that has no cure and defies treatment. People dont get migraines, they have migraine: a genetic condition that makes the brain hypersensitive to various stimuli, which can in turn trigger an attack. Common triggers are stress, a lack of sleep, hormones, and a drop in barometric pressure. People can also be triggered by red wine, chocolate, and too much caffeine.

    Migraine is characterized by recurrent attacks, which can last for days. An attack can cause various symptoms, including nausea, visual disturbances, mood changes, and fatigue. It often involves a throbbing headache, typically on one side of the head. Some episodes are manageable with rest and over-the-counter medications, while others are so severe they send people to the emergency room.

    Migraine is categorized by the frequency of attacks: episodic migraine , or chronic migraine . A person can fluctuate between these categories throughout their life.


    Popular Articles