Know The Difference Between Migraine And Headache
Almost all of us experience headaches at some point, and recurring headaches can be annoying, painful and exhausting. Not all headaches are the same, and they can differ by cause, frequency, and severity. Understanding the difference between migraine and headache can lead to faster and more effective treatment. Read more to get clarity on the common types of headaches, and how migraine differs from other headaches.
What Is The Headache?
Unpleasant pain in the head is one of the most common pain people experience, and there are more than 150 types of headaches. All headaches can be grouped into two major categories: Primary headache disorders and secondary headache disorders. Primary headache disorders occur independently in the absence of diseases.
The common types in this category include tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches. In secondary headache disorders, headaches occur as a symptom of tumors, seizures, strokes, sleep disorders, colds, and other disease conditions.
What Are Common Types Of Headaches?
1. Tension headaches: This headache type is the most common type of headache. It can be caused by stress, hunger, lack of sleep, eyestrain, and alcohol. The symptoms include mild to moderate headaches in the forehead or back of the head. It can affect both sides of the head, and people usually describe that they feel like having a tight band around the head.
2. Cluster headaches: They are severe headaches that occur on one side of the head. They occur in clusters meaning that there are periods of pain and rest and can last up to six to twelve weeks. The symptoms include a stabbing headache and pain behind or near the eye. It can be caused by bright lights, high altitudes, or overexertion and occur as a result of dilation in the blood vessels of the head.
3. Sinus headaches: Sinus headaches occur when there is increased sinus pressure caused by cold or congestion. The symptoms include pain in the forehead, nose, and cheeks. Swelling in the face, bad taste in the mouth, stuffy nose, and fever are other symptoms.
What Is A Migraine?
Migraine is a primary headache disorder that causes severe or intense pain in the head. The pain can sometimes be severe enough to require an emergency room visit. Performing daily tasks can be difficult due to migraine. It is a common health condition, and women are three times more likely to develop migraines than men. The symptoms that can occur along with headache include:
- Pain in the temples
- Pain near an eye or ear
- Nausea, vomiting
- Temporary vision problems
- Seeing flashes of light or spots
- Sensitivity to light and or sound
This headache typically occurs on one side of the head, but it can also occur on both sides of the head. Physicians still do not know what is causing the migraine, but there are some triggers that bring an attack. Some of the migraine triggers are:
- Hormonal factors (menstruation or menopause)
- Drinking certain drinks (alcohol, coffee, red wine, etc.,)
- Foods (such as pickled foods, dark chocolate)
- Overuse of pain medications
The migraine pain can last for a few hours to several days. Migraine can occur in four phases, though not everyone experiences all phases of symptoms.
The Prodrome phase is the phase in which painless symptoms such as sleepiness, food cravings, and mood swings can occur a few days before the attack.
The aura phase is the phase that occurs right before the attack or during the attack and affects the person’s touch, speech, or vision. The symptoms such as blurred vision, tingling or numbness, and flashing lights can occur.
The headache phase is the phase where the pain starts occurring in the head. Physical activity and exposure to light or sound can worsen the pain.
The last phase is a postdrome phase. After the pain has gone, people may feel depressed, have difficulties in concentration, and have tiredness.
Migraine Vs Headache: How Does Migraine Differ From Other Headaches?
- A migraine typically happens on one side of the head. Over time the pain can shift to the other side.
- Pain from migraine is usually severe or intense, making it hard to perform various tasks.
- Migraine attacks usually have additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sensory disturbances, and ear pain.
- While many types of headaches have clear causes, researchers still do not know the proper cause of migraine. Still, there are a number of triggers that lead to attacks in most people.
Resting Is Not Laziness Its Medicine
Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications are available to treat and prevent migraines and other headaches. Having adequate sleep and physical activity can help prevent headaches. Keep stress under your control.
If you have frequent headaches or headaches that affect your daily activities, particularly present with other symptoms such as vomiting and vision problems, you need to visit a physician. Finding out the proper cause and type at the earliest can help have an effective treatment, since migraine isn’t a headache it is medieval torture.