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Where Is The Pain In A Migraine Headache

Doctor’s Notes On Headache Vs Migraine: How To Tell The Difference

Headache Relief & Diagnosis : How to Diagnose Migraine Headache Symptoms

A headache is a general term that is defined as pain located in any area of the head. A migraine is a type of headache that is defined as a severe throbbing pain or pulsing sensation, most often on one side of the head, which is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine pain signs and symptoms are different from other headache pains. To classify 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 whereas a headache is simply pain located in any area of the head. If a patient is having the worst headache of my life, the person should have 911 called and be transported to an emergency department.

There are many causes for headaches and/or migraine headaches some are known and some are not known. For example, trauma to the head and/or bleeding into the brain can cause severe headaches but the cause of occasional headaches that comes and goes is not clear. Although many different triggers for migraine headaches are known , others are not. The underlying causes are not well understood and seem unique to each individual.

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What Causes Eye Pain During Migraines

Changes in hormone levels, such as serotonin and estrogen, may trigger migraine pain by causing contractions in blood vessels. Changes in estrogen levels may also make facial nerves like the nerves around the eye more sensitive. Women experience fluctuating estrogen levels, and they are more likely than men to experience migraines.

People who experience chronic migraines may also have differences in their trigeminal system, which controls many facial movements, including eye movement. These differences cause nerve overactivity, with nerve becoming hypersensitive and creating migraine eye pain. The eyes may be especially sensitive to nerve differences because they are more exposed than other body parts. The cornea contains trigeminal nerve endings, but it is only five cells apart from the surface of the body. Even small amounts of pressure or tiny irritants can cause tremendous eye pain during a migraine attack.

Q What Is The Difference Between A Headache And A Migraine

A. Migraine headache versus headaches might seem like a similar condition but their medical diagnosis and treatment is completely different. Headaches do have their own severity depending on how long they last or what type of headache it is. Headaches cause pain in the head, face, sides of the head, or upper neck. It often varies in frequency and intensity. Whereas migraine is an extremely painful primary headache disorder, often accompanied by nausea or light sensitivity. Before a migraine begins, the patient might feel some aura like they can see flashes of light or experience tingling sensations in the limbs.

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Q What Causes Migraine Headache

A. The exact causes for migraine are yet to be medically recognized. Migraine headache is the most common symptom of the condition migraine. Migraine results due to the changes in blood flow in the brain which affects the way nerves communicate as well as the blood vessels and the chemicals in the brain. Though the causes of migraine are unknown, there are triggers which are found to stimulate the condition.

  • Hormonal changes in women during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause might cause migraine headaches.
  • Shock, stress, depression, excitement, or anxiety.
  • Insufficient sleep or tiredness, neck or shoulder pain, poor posture while sleeping etc.
  • Consumption of some kind of medicines like oral contraceptives etc.
  • Foods like aged cheese, alcohol, Monosodium Glutamate etc might trigger migraine headaches.
  • Too much caffeine or withdrawing from it.
  • Changes in the weather or altitude induce changes in the barometric pressure which can trigger a migraine headache.

Identify And Treat Early

Migraine Headache

Headaches can range from being a mild inconvenience to being severe and debilitating. Identifying and treating headaches as early as possible can help a person engage in preventive treatments to minimize the chance of another headache. Distinguishing migraine from other types of headaches can be tricky. Pay particular attention to the time before the headache starts for signs of an aura and tell your doctor.

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Can Stress Cause Migraines

Yes. Stress can trigger both migraine and tension-type headache. Events like getting married, moving to a new home, or having a baby can cause stress. But studies show that everyday stresses not major life changes cause most headaches. Juggling many roles, such as being a mother and wife, having a career, and financial pressures, can be daily stresses for women.

Making time for yourself and finding healthy ways to deal with stress are important. Some things you can do to help prevent or reduce stress include:

  • Eating healthy foods
  • Being active
  • Doing relaxation exercises
  • Getting enough sleep

Try to figure out what causes you to feel stressed. You may be able to cut out some of these stressors. For example, if driving to work is stressful, try taking the bus or subway. You can take this time to read or listen to music, rather than deal with traffic. For stressors you can’t avoid, keeping organized and doing as much as you can ahead of time will help you to feel in control.

So What Are The Types Of Migraine And Chronic Headache Disorders

When seeking a diagnosis, your doctor will first try to determine if the type of headache you are experiencing is itself a disease or a symptom of another disease .

A primary headache is caused by overactivity of or structural issues with the brains processing and sensitivity centers. Various structures may play a role including your brains chemical activity, the nerves or blood vessels around your skull, your head and neck muscles, or a combination of all of these. Genetics can also play a role.3

Common primary headaches include:4

  • Tension/stress headache: occurs in 75% of the US population. Also known as muscle contraction headache, psychomyogenic headache, ordinary headache, essential headache, idiopathic headache, and psychogenic headache
  • Migraine with aura: occurs in 25% of people who experience migraine
  • Traditional migraine: occurs in 12% of US population
  • Cluster headache: occurs in 0.1% of the US population.

If you are told you have a secondary headache, that means there is an underlying condition that may be causing your headaches. Several conditions may be responsible for secondary headaches as described below.

Read more about what each headache type feels like below.

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Preventative Medication And Therapies

If you experience frequent migraines, your GP might discuss preventative medication options with you.

It is important to note that preventatives for migraines are not pain medication, but help to reduce the number of migraines. They take time to work, so the minimum time period required may be three to six months. Contact your GP or specialist for further information. All of these treatments have their advantages and disadvantages and some of the medications might not be suitable for everybody.

You might find that this medication reduces the frequency and severity of your attacks but does not stop them completely. You will need to continue your other migraine treatments when you experience an attack.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that GPs and specialists should consider the following drugs and therapies if they think you might benefit from preventative treatment:

Beta blocking drugs

These drugs are traditionally used to treat angina and high blood pressure. It has been found that certain beta-blockers prevent migraine attacks. Beta-blockers are unsuitable for people with certain conditions.


This drug is typically prescribed for the treatment of epilepsy but has also been found to help reduce the frequency of migraines. Again, it is not suitable for everyone. In particular, women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant should be advised of the associated side effects.



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What Are Rebound Migraines

Migraine and Aura-Mayo Clinic

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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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.

How Are Cluster Headaches Treated

    Cluster headaches may be very difficult to treat, and it may take trial and error to find the specific treatment regimen that will work for each patient. Since the headache recurs daily, there are two treatment needs. The pain of the first episode needs to be controlled, and the headaches that follow need to be prevented.

    Initial treatment options may include one or more of the following:

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    Symptoms Of Migraines To Watch Out For

    There are four stages in which you might experience the migraine and the symptoms for each vary. However, just because you have a migraine does not mean that you necessarily will go through all the stages and exhibit all the migraine symptoms. You might experience some of the symptoms and not others. Here are some of the common headache migraine symptoms particular to each migraine stage.

    What Is A ‘migraine With Aura’

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    There are 2 types of migraine: migraine with aura, and without aura.

    It might sound a bit paranormal, but migraine with aura is very real. Some people see flashing lights or a change in their vision some having trouble speaking, and some feel ‘pins and needles’ in their arms and legs. This can happen before or during a migraine attack.

    Even if you get auras, you may not experience one with every migraine. The aura itself usually lasts less than an hour. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why it happens.

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    Are These Your Symptoms

    From those patients confirmed with a migraine diagnosis in the study:

    • 83% noticed the weather affected their headaches
    • 73% noticed seasonal variations in their headaches
    • 62% said their headaches were triggered by allergies
    • 56% had nasal congestion
    • 25% had a runny nose
    • 22% had red eyes
    • 19% had watery eyes

    You could be forgiven for thinking these symptoms are sinus related. They look a lot like the symptoms you might expect from a sinus infection so its no surprise that there is a significant amount of confusion between sinus headache and migraine.

    Results found that 9 out of 10 patients in the study had migraine, not sinus headache.

    Furthermore, the 100 patients from the study had seen an average of 4 physicians each and had gone on average 25 years without the correct diagnosis or significant relief.

    Thats 25 years without significant relief and 4 physicians who had gotten the diagnosis wrong!

    The lead investigator of the SAMS study Dr. Eross says It was hard to convince some of them that they actually suffered from migraine headaches, said Dr. Eross. Many were shocked.

    One in ten people from the study knew they had migraine, but thought they had sinus headaches in addition. In reality they actually suffered two different types of migraine, one with sinus symptoms and one without, Dr. Eross noted.

    Much of the pain or pressure is in the face, on both sides, so it doesnt occur to them that this might be a migraine. Dr Eross

    Q What Should I Eat For Migraine

    • Orange, yellow, and green vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach
    • Cereals
    • Carbonated, spring, or tap water
    • Fresh chicken, fish, or lamb
    • Seeds like Poppy, Pumpkin, Sesame and Sunflower
    • Rice, especially brown rice
    • Dried or cooked fruits, particularly non-citrus kinds such as cherries and cranberries
    • Natural sweeteners or flavours, such as maple syrup and vanilla extract

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    What Does A Vestibular Migraine Feel Like

    Someone experiencing a vestibular migraine that is, vertigo may not have head pain but may have symptoms affecting their ears, vision, and balance. Symptoms can include dizziness, imbalance, pressure in their head and ear, neck pain, and pain with certain movements like bending down or turning their head. Some people may also have headaches with hazy, blurry, or blotchy vision.

    I Get Migraines Right Before My Period Could They Be Related To My Menstrual Cycle

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    More than half of migraines in women occur right before, during, or after a woman has her period. This often is called “menstrual migraine.” But, just a small fraction of women who have migraine around their period only have migraine at this time. Most have migraine headaches at other times of the month as well.

    How the menstrual cycle and migraine are linked is still unclear. We know that just before the cycle begins, levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, go down sharply. This drop in hormones may trigger a migraine, because estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that affect a woman’s pain sensation.

    Talk with your doctor if you think you have menstrual migraine. You may find that medicines, making lifestyle changes, and home treatment methods can prevent or reduce the pain.

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    Migraine And Headache Causes

    Migraine and tension headaches usually have a genetic link just as some inherit asthma or another illness, you likely inherited a tendency to get these headaches from your family. Once inherited, several factors can trigger an attack.

    The top FOUR migraine triggers are:

  • stress
  • weatherchanges such as when there is a drop in barometric pressure from a front coming in, high heat, high humidity, or other weather changes
  • hormonechanges
  • undersleeping, lack of sleep
  • Less common migraine triggers are alcohol and MSG.

    Tension Headache Common Triggers

    • tiredness

    Cluster Headache Common Triggers

    Unlike migraine and tension headaches, cluster headaches tend to occur because of abnormalities in a region of the brain that connects the nervous system to the endocrine system . Once a person has clusters, alcohol or MSG may trigger an attack.

    Ways To Prevent Headaches

    Many prevention strategies for other kinds of headaches are the same as those youd use for migraines. These include:

    • Figuring out ways to ease stress and tension
    • Keeping a regular sleep and eating schedule
    • Using good posture, especially if seated
    • Being careful of taking headache medications long term

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    What Is A Migraine Headache

    Migraine is generally confused with a normal headache, however the severity of the two are incomparable. Migraine presents with a host of other debilitating symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to loud sounds and lights and general discomfort. A migraine is typically characterized as a one sided throbbing headache that doesnt go away quickly.

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

    Migraine Headache. Causes, symptoms, treatment 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.

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    Learn More About Each Stage Of A Migraine:

    1. Prodrome

    One or two days before a migraine, you might notice subtle changes that warn of an upcoming migraine, including constipation, mood changes from depression to euphoria, food cravings, neck stiffness, increased thirst and urination or frequent yawning.

    2. Aura

    For some people, aura might occur before or during migraines. Auras are reversible symptoms of the nervous system. They’re usually visual, but they also can include other disturbances. Each symptom usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes and lasts 20 minutes to one hour.

    Examples of auras include:
    • Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
    • Vision loss
    • “Pins-and-needles” sensations in an arm or leg
    • Weakness or numbness in the face, or one side of the body
    • Difficulty speaking
    • Uncontrollable jerking or other movements

    3. Attack

    A migraine usually lasts from four to 72 hours if untreated, and the frequency varies by the person. Migraines might occur rarely or strike several times a month.

    During a migraine, you might have:
    • Pain, usually on one side of your head, but often on both sides
    • Pain that throbs or pulses
    • Sensitivity to light, sound, and sometimes smell and touch
    • Nausea and vomiting

    4. Post-drome

    After a migraine attack, you might feel drained, confused and washed out for up to a day. Some people report feeling elated. Sudden head movement might bring on pain again briefly.

    Learn more about headaches:

    Neck Pain And Migraine Headache

    Migraine headache, or migraine is a common disabling episodic headache characterized by throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of the head. More than half of the migraine population experience neck pain before and/or during a migraine attack.12 While in most cases neck pain in migraine is limited to the upper neck region, sometimes the pain may radiate to the lower neck and/or shoulder.

    A migraine is a recurring headache that causes moderate to severe throbbing and pulsating pain on one side of the head. Other symptoms may include nausea and sensitivity to light and/or sound.

    Migraine is believed to be caused due to genetically modified hypersensitive neurons in the brain. These neurons are triggered by environmental changes , hormones, food, or smell and in turn trigger adjacent neurons to induce pain pathways and cause migraine symptoms.

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