Migraine: More Than a Headache

Overview

Headaches are fairly common. In fact, almost everyone will have at least one headache in their lifetime, and many will deal with them intermittently. Some headaches, however, are more severe than others. These might be symptoms of a migraine.

There are various hypotheses on how migraines work. It is a complicated condition produced by the interplay of nerve impulses and the production of chemicals that irritate certain areas of the brain. The cerebral cortex and the trigeminal nerve, the biggest cranial nerve, are among these components.

How to tell the difference between a headache and a migraine is explained here.

Prevalence of migraine

The vast majority of headaches are not caused by migraine. Simply explained, these are pain impulses emanating from your brain. These headaches are frequently connected with, and exacerbated by, exhaustion, sleep loss, certain allergies, or stress. Medications or rest are frequently effective treatments.

Did you know?

Migraine affects 38 million Americans, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. They are less common than tension headaches, although they are still rather common.

 

Migraine sufferers may experience the following symptoms:

  • sensitivity to light or noise
  • dizziness
  • eye pain
  • nausea or vomiting
  • vision blurring
  • visual aura, such as seeing “floaters” or bright spots
  • irritability

In addition to the headache, a migraine sufferer may have one or more of these symptoms at the same time. Each person’s experience is unique, and symptoms may vary from one migraine headache to the next.

Risk factors

Women are more affected by migraines and tension headaches than males. According to the Office on Women’s HealthTrusted Source, three out of every four migraine sufferers are women. This might be due to hormonal variations caused by menstruation or menopause. Current Pain and Headache Reports is a publication that publishes research on pain and headaches. According to Trusted Source, migraine affects 18% of all women. Migraine also runs in families, indicating a genetic component.

Though obesity is not a direct cause of migraine, it does raise the likelihood of a regular headache escalating to a migraine headache.

Symptomatic differences

Assessing your symptoms is one approach to establish whether you have a migraine or a tension headache. Recognize the major distinctions between the two. Keep track of your headaches and discuss them with your doctor.

Pain and sensitivity

Migraine sufferers describe intense throbbing, hammering, and pulsing pain. Tension headache pain can range from a faint aching to a tight tightness around the head or neck.

Migraine might make you sensitive to bright lights, loud noises, and even scents. Tension headaches are seldom the source of such sensitivity.

Location of pain

Another symptom of migraine is pain behind or around the eye on one side of the head. Migraine frequently causes this split pain in the head. A tension headache is typically characterised by pain across the head, across the forehead, or at the base of the neck.

Severity of pain

Migraine headaches may be excruciatingly unpleasant. People who have them report moderate to severe discomfort that often stops them from working or concentrating. Tension headaches are usually relatively mild to moderately uncomfortable.

Length of headache

A migraine headache can begin and intensify over a few hours or days. A stress headache usually starts and disappears significantly faster, usually within a day.

Other symptoms

Nausea, vomiting, and stomach discomfort are all classic symptoms of migraine headaches but seldom occur with tension headaches.

A visual aura (bright, flashing lights or dots in the field of vision) can occur before a migraine attack begins, although it is uncommon, even among migraine sufferers. Auras of other sorts may also arise. These are some examples:

  • loss of language
  • pins-and-needles sensation in arms or legs
  • speech problems
  • vision loss

Warning signs

Your body may send you warning signs a day or two before a migraine attack. Among these modest modifications are:

 

  • constipation
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • hyperactivity
  • irritability
  • neck stiffness

Typically, such symptoms do not develop prior to a tension headache.

Triggers

When it comes to tension headaches, the most typical factors are stress, exhaustion, and a lack of sleep. There are several migraine triggers. The most frequent are:

  • alcohol use
  • bright lights (photophobia)
  • consumption of sweets or processed foods
  • changes in sleep patterns, including lack of sleep
  • exposure to odors, such as strong perfume or cigarette smoke
  • loud noises (phonophobia)
  • skipping meals
  • in females, hormone changes

Other types of headaches

Other forms of headaches exist that are not classed as a migraine or a tension headache. A cluster headache is characterised by one to three painful episodes, or clusters, every day that tend to reoccur at the same time.

Cluster headache sufferers describe the pain as acute and burning, with the core of the discomfort often centred behind one eye. These may be accompanied by red, teary eyes, which are unusual in migraines or tension headaches. Men are more likely than women to get this form of headache.

A sinus headache is not a headache. It is, instead, a painful reaction to nasal congestion or a runny nose. When your sinuses are inflamed or irritated, you may feel discomfort across your forehead and cheeks. This pressure may feel like a headache and create headache symptoms.

Migraine management

Migraine control is critical. Reports on Current Pain and Headaches According to Trusted Source, those who suffer from severe migraines miss an average of five work days during a three-month period. When combined with painful symptoms, this need regular treatment.

Among the therapy possibilities are:

  • antidepressants
  • Prescription medications for both preventative and acute treatment
  • birth control pills (for women)
  • daily exercise
  • dietary changes
  • getting adequate sleep
  • meditation
  • yoga

Consult your doctor. They can assist you in researching migraine treatment and management options.

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