There are a number of differences between a migraine and a regular headache. This article will describe the differences between a migraine and a headache and how to know which one you have. It will also include examples of treatment options for both migraines and headaches.
There are a number of different types of common headaches. Try to pay attention to the location and intensity of your headaches in order to more easily determine what type of headache you are suffering from.
Tension headaches tend to start at the back of your head and slowly move forward, affecting both sides of your head. Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. Tension headaches can be a chronic condition. They are often caused by stress, eye strain, or hunger.
Sinus headaches happen most commonly when you are sick or congested. Sinus headaches are caused by swelling in your nasal passages. This type of headache is usually felt behind your cheeks, nose, and eyes. It usually hurts more when you first wake up or bend forward.
Cluster headaches are known for being very painful, and they happen daily – usually at the same time each day – and sometimes happen more than once per day. Cluster headache attacks can go on for weeks or even months. They can be caused by bright lights, physical exertion, or altitude. Cluster headaches happen when the blood vessels in your brain dilate due to a release of serotonin and histamines.
A migraine headache is more than just a headache. It is an intense headache that comes with other symptoms, too, like nausea, dizziness, and increased sensitivity to external stimuli such as light, sounds, or scents. Migraines can also cause blurred vision and extreme fatigue, and migraines vary in length and severity.
A migraine attack can consist of up to four different phases. However, not everyone experiences every phase.
The prodrome phase, also known as the pre-headache phase, includes painless symptoms that come hours or days before the pain of a migraine. Some prodromal symptoms are mood swings, food cravings, and neck stiffness.
The aura phase is the component of a migraine that causes sensory disturbances before or during a migraine. Auras can include blurred vision, blind spots that grow over the course of the migraine attack, numbness in your arms, or slurred or jumbled speech. Not everyone who gets migraines will experience auras.
Not everyone who gets migraines experiences the headache phase of a migraine. For those whose migraines do include headaches, the pain can range from a mild headache to an intense, debilitating pain that can make tasks of daily life nearly impossible. Physical activity, bright or noisy environments, or strong odors can worsen migraine pain.
The final phase of a migraine is known as the postdrome phase. This phase takes place when the pain of migraine has ended. You may feel exhausted, confused, or generally unwell during the postdrome phase.
There are common triggers that set off migraine attacks, but there is no single cause for migraines. Due to their menstrual cycles and hormonal changes, women are three times more likely to experience migraines than men.
Allergies cause irritation and inflammation, and migraines can be attributed to the inflammation of blood vessels. For this reason, you may be more prone to migraines if you also suffer from allergies.
If you have a family member who gets migraines, you may be more likely to develop migraines yourself. There is a genetic mutation that is common in people who have the most common type of migraine. There is a wide range of environmental triggers that can cause a migraine, including stress, smells, the foods you eat, lack of sleep, and changes in the weather.
Treatments for Headaches and Migraines
Using medication, making lifestyle changes, and undergoing IV vitamin therapy can help relieve your symptoms.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin can be used to effectively treat headaches and mild migraines. For more severe migraines, you may want to try another OTC, Excedrin Migraine.
Melatonin has proved beneficial for preventing migraines and cluster headaches. You should talk to your doctor to determine the right dose for you according to your specific condition.
If OTCs are not strong enough to handle your symptoms, there are a number of prescription medications that may help. These include blood pressure medication, antidepressants, or an anti-seizure medicine. Botox shots have also been found to be helpful against migraines.
IV (intravenous) vitamin therapy works faster than oral medications because it directly delivers ingredients such as vitamin B2 and magnesium into your bloodstream. This allows you to feel better faster.
Now you can better understand the type of headaches you suffer from and can treat them more effectively.
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