What Is The Difference Between Headache And Migraine
Migraine is a type of primary headache disorder, as is tension-type headache. The cause of neither is fully understood, but both appear to involve heightened sensitivity to stimuli, whether pain, in the case of tension headache, or environmental changes, in the case of migraine.
While head pain is a symptom of both migraine and tension headache, migraine attacks are often accompanied by nausea and are made worse with routine physical activity, while tension-type headache is not.
In addition, headaches caused by migraine typically occur on one side of the head, while tension headaches typically affect both sides.
And migraine tends to have a pulsating or throbbing quality, while the pain of a tension-type headache is described as pressing or tightening.
Having one type of primary headache disorder doesnt rule out having another. In fact, many people have both migraine and tension-type headache.
How Do I Know Which Type Of Headache I Have
While some headaches have unique features that make them easy to diagnose, most headaches arent that straightforward.
If you regularly get headaches at night and youre not sure why, it may be worth making an appointment with your doctor. They can help you narrow down the type of headache you have or rule out any underlying conditions that might be causing them.
To do this, theyll likely ask you a series of questions. These might be about:
Keeping these questions in mind, prepare a headache diary for your doctor. For about two weeks prior to your appointment, document every headache you have. Make sure to include all the details about pain characteristics, timing, triggers, and so on.
What Happens After I Start Treatment
Once you start a treatment program, keep track of how well itâs working. A headache diary can help you note any patterns or changes in how you feel. Know that it may take some time for you and your doctor to find the best treatment plan, so try to be patient. Be honest with them about what is and isnât working for you.
Even though youâre getting treatment, you should still steer clear of the things you know can trigger your headaches, like foods or smells. And itâs important to stick to healthy habits that will keep you feeling good, like regular exercise, enough sleep, and a healthy diet. Also, make your scheduled follow-up appointments so your doctor can see how youâre doing and make changes in the treatment program if you need them.
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Why Do Women Have More Migraines Than Men
Your head is pounding with a pulsating headache. You feel nauseous, and you may even vomit. Light and sound are unbearable. In fact, any little noise or ray of light creates blinding pain and sends you back to bed to hide away in a dark room where you just want to be left alone. The pain is extremely intense, and it can go on for hours or even days in some cases. Often it repeats itself — sometimes a week later, sometimes a month later. Sounds pretty miserable, doesnt it?
These are the symptoms of a migraine, and if youre a woman, youre nearly three times more likely to have them than a man. According to the Mayo Clinic, 17 percent of women have migraine pain, while only 6 percent of men do. These statistics are the basis for the question — why do women have more migraines than men?
The list may seem long, but everyone is sensitive to different things. In fact, these are just some of the more common triggers. One person might be sensitive to alcohol but have no problem with caffeine, while another might have terrible migraines from caffeine and a higher tolerance for alcohol. People are also responsive to different triggers at different times. For instance, one day, bright light may not affect you at all, while on another day, it could immediately set off a migraine.
Up next, find out if women are more sensitive to migraine triggers than men. Also, do genetics have anything to do with this? Read on to find out.
Can Migraines Be Prevented Or Avoided
Medicine to prevent migraines may be helpful if your headaches happen more than 2 times a month. You may want to consider this medicine if your headaches make it hard for you to work and function. These medicines are taken every day, whether you have a headache or not.
Preventive medications for migraines can include prescription drugs often used to treat other ailments. Anti-seizure medicines, antidepressants, medicines to lower blood pressure, and even Botox injections are some of the preventive medications your doctor may prescribe. Calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibitors can also help prevent migraines. They do so by blocking a gene-related peptide in your sensory nerves. This peptide is known to increase during a migraine attack, so blocking it can help prevent migraines.
There are also a number of non-medical treatments designed to help minimize migraine pain and frequency. One is an electrical stimulation device, which has been approved by the FDA. It is a headband that you wear once a day for 20 minutes to stimulate the nerve linked to migraines. Another non-medical treatment is counseling aimed at helping you feel in more control of your migraines. This counseling works best when paired with medical prevention of migraines, as well.
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What Do Brain Tumour Headaches Feel Like
Headaches associated with brain tumours:
- can be throbbing or a dull ache, depending on where they are in the brain
- occur intermittently starting gradually, but fading over a few hours
- tend to get worse over time
- can resemble common migraine or tension-type headaches.
Other types of headaches
Other types of headaches include:
- tension headaches
For more information about these and other headache types, see the National Headache Foundationâs Complete Headache Chart.
Recovery Or Postdrome Stage
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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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.
Acephalgic Migraine Or Migraine Without Headache
Acephalgic migraine is also known as migraine without headache, aura without headache, silent migraine, and visual migraine without headache. Acephalgic migraines occur when a person has an aura, but doesnt get a headache. This type of migraine isnt uncommon in people who start having migraines after age 40.
Visual aura symptoms are most common. With this type of migraine, the aura may gradually occur with symptoms spreading over several minutes and move from one symptom to another. After visual symptoms, people may have numbness, speech problems, and then feel weak and unable to move a part of their body normally. Read on to get a better understanding of acephalgic or silent migraines.
Also known as menstrual migraines and exogenous estrogen withdrawal headaches, hormonal migraines are linked with the female hormones, commonly estrogen. They include migraines during:
- your period
- the first few days after you start or stop taking medications that have estrogen in them, such as birth control pills or hormone therapy
If youre using hormone therapy and have an increase in headaches, your doctor may talk with you about:
- adjusting your dose
- changing the type of hormones
- stopping hormone therapy
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
- You are experiencing “the worst headache of your life.”
- You have speech, vision, or movement problems or loss of balance, especially if you have not had these symptoms with a migraine before.
- A headache starts suddenly.
Schedule an appointment or call your provider if:
- Your headache pattern or pain changes.
- Treatments that once worked no longer help.
- You have side effects from your medicine.
- You are taking birth control pills and have migraine headaches.
- Your headaches are more severe when lying down.
Finding The Right Treatment
There are many reasons why your migraine medication may not workwhether the side effects make it difficult to adhere to the medication, or if the medication just doesnt work with your lifestyle. If youre taking good care of yourself but still feel like your preventive or acute medication is having little effect, Dr. Hershey recommends speaking with your healthcare provider to see if there is an alternative form of treatment for you.
Treating a migraine doesnt just mean one quick fix. Its a combination of everything, including taking good care of yourself, acute therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and preventive medications, he says. Everything together is what makes the person get better, not just one particular thing.
For more information on migraine diagnosis and treatment, visit our doctor-verified resource library. To find a headache specialist in your area who can diagnose you and create an effective treatment plan, use our find a doctor tool.
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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:
- an acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine combination
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.
Genetic And Environmental Factors
The reason youre getting migraine could be because your parents or close family members have the genes, Dr. Hershey says. However, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your chances of experiencing a migraine attack. We cant change our genes, but we can change the environmental influence on those genes, Dr. Hershey says. Oftentimes, by taking better care of themselves, people can lessen that impact of migraine.
Taking better care of yourself is one way to prevent migraine attacks. To do so, there are four main healthy habits patients with migraine should maintain, Dr. Hershey says:
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What Are The Common Symptoms Of Migraine
How can you tell if your head pain is actually migraine? The symptoms vary from person to person. But if you agree with some or many of the statements below, your head pain may be migraine and you should think about seeing a doctor.
- Your head pain is moderate or severe and often intense. The pain may be hard to endure and may be unbearable.
- The pain may be on one side or the head or both. It could be in the front or in the back. Some patients experience migraine in or around their eyes and behind their cheeks.
- Your head pain causes a throbbing, pounding, or pulsating sensation.
- Your head pain gets worse with physical activity or any movement.
- You experience nausea and/or vomiting
- You are sensitive to light, noise and/or smells.
- Your head pain is severe enough to make you miss school, work or other activities .
- A migraine attack lasts anywhere from four hours to several days.
Some people have migraine with aura. The most common type of aura is visual . Aura can also cause blurred vision or loss of vision. Typically, aura occurs before the head pain of the attack begins, and fully resolves in an hour or less.
Migraine can be classified as episodic or chronic. People with episodic migraine have 14 or fewer headache days per month. People with chronic migraine experience more than 15 headache days per month with at least eight that include migraine features . In some people, episodic migraine can become chronic, which may happen if its not recognized and treated correctly.
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.
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Using Meditation To Control Everyday Headaches
People who suffer from migraines and tension headaches every day are far more likely to use alternative medicine than those who dont. Meditation seems most successful, but theres also not much else that has substantial scientific support.
Meditation can be very effective, Mauskop says. Weve noticed significant improvements in patients who take on meditation as a part of their treatment. If youre getting headaches every day, consider starting meditation.
A 2014 study showed that getting migraines or tension-type headaches every day can lead to feeling stressedwonder why! Whats more, the headache itself can cause stress, which in turn adds to the pain of the headache . Exercise can effectively treat stress, but you probably wont feel like going on a five-mile run while youre nursing a bad headache every day, so try to get your exercise in before the headache strikes.
In addition to treating stress, exercise can reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines,according to the American Migraine Foundation. The key word here is regular, so commit to a certain amount of exercise per day and dont let anything interfere with that time.
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Changes In Or An Irregular Sleep Schedule
The connection between migraine and sleep is undeniable. Sleep renews and repairs all parts of the bodyincluding the brainso it makes sense that when your sleep schedule becomes irregular, you are more prone to migraine attacks. Something else to note when it comes to sleep: Nearly half of all migraine attacks occur between 4:00am and 9:00am, putting people at a greater risk for developing a sleep disorder.
How to cope: Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Eliminate TV, texting, reading, and listening to music while in bed, and try your best not to nap during the day. This article from the AMF Resource Library has great information and tips on how to make a sleep plan that works with your lifestyle.
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What Are The Types Of Headaches What Type Of Headache Is A 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.
I’m Pregnant Can My Migraines Still Be Treated
Some migraine medicines should not be used when you are pregnant because they can cause birth defects and other problems. This includes over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Talk with your doctor if migraine is a problem while you are pregnant or if you are planning to become pregnant. Your doctor might suggest a medicine that will help you and that is safe during pregnancy. Home treatment methods, such as doing relaxation exercises and using cold packs, also might help ease your pain. The good news is that for most women migraines improve or stop from about the third month of the pregnancy.
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