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Difference Between Migraine And Headache

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Sensory And Speech Changes

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Sometimes, migraine temporarily affects your speech and senses before, after, or while you have the headache. Doctors call this aura. Electrical activity moves over the brain and results in these symptoms. They can start slowly and last up to 60 minutes. A cluster headache might begin with aura as well, but a tension headache doesnât.

Are The Causes Of Headache Vs Migraine The Same

Researchers have suggested that the cause of migraines has a strong genetic component since approximately 70% of people with this type of headache have a relative with the history of migraines. Some researchers suggest that migraines are related to or caused, or partially caused by blood flow changes in the brain.

Although some doctors suggest that tension in muscles cause other types of headaches, most now think that the specific cause of headaches is unknown, and likely due to several factors, for example:

  • Muscle tension in the scalp and/or neck
  • Infection and/or sinus congestion
  • Other undefined factors
  • Some headaches, for example, headaches caused by hormones, are likely related to changes in hormonal levels.

What Are The Most Common Types Of Headaches

The most common type of headache is considered by the International Headache Society to be a tension headache . There are over 22 types of headaches that have been described. Many are common . However, this article will be limited to migraine, tension, cluster, sinus, and hormonal headaches as these are common types.

  • Tension headaches: A tension headache is characterized by mild to moderate chronic headache pain, often with a band-like tightness discomfort or pain on both sides of the head.
  • Cluster headaches: A cluster headache produces pain on only one side of the head . The pain is excruciating with stabbing pain in the head and eye. It has been described as feeling as if the eyes are being pushed out. Cluster headaches are not preceded by an aura, and usually do not have symptoms of nausea, vomiting or aversion to light and sound.
  • Sinus headaches: A sinus headache is a type of headache usually is caused by an infection of the facial sinuses and/or sinus congestion. A sinus headache is mild to moderate head pain, and has symptoms of throbbing head pain, and/or pain produced around the facial sinuses, eyes, cheeks, and forehead, usually occurring with an infection of a facial sinus and/or sinus congestion.
  • Hormonal headaches: Hormonal headaches are headaches that can resemble either migraines or tension headaches, but occur during hormonal changes in women during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and/or menopause.
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    Migraines Or Cluster Headaches 3 Ways To Tell The Difference

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    Its possible to have multiple headache disorders, and doctors often misdiagnose even those with just one form of head pain. Cluster headaches were once thought to be a man’s disease with a 9 to 1 ratio of men to women with the condition. We know now that’s this statistic was utterly wrong. Many women were misdiagnosed with migraine disease because of it. Today, the ratio is closer to 2 or 3 to 1, but not all medical professionals got the memo.

    I’ve experienced this firsthand with the ER doctors who told me I had migraine attacks, despite having an episodic cluster headache diagnosis. Even the nurses at my neurologist’s office refused to accept that I had cluster headaches until my doctor confirmed it. Children have an even harder time getting people to listen to their headaches.

    Headaches: Who And When To Refer

    Headaches Vs. Migraine: Differences Worth Knowing

    Chronic migraine, medication overuse and TAC account for the vast majority of disabling headaches that are misdiagnosed and mismanaged and should be referred to physicians with an interest and experience in headaches. These together constitute fewer than 5% of all headache disorders. Migraine and tension-type headaches account for the vast majority of remaining headaches presenting to primary or secondary care.

    Steiner et al 41 propose a three-tier model of care with 90% of headaches being looked after by the primary care physicians with minimal training on headache disorders through educational lectures delivered at a local setting. This should enable them to recognise the red flags and refer some of the difficult cases to GPs with a specialist interest , who should be able to treat 9% of patients, leaving only 1% for the specialist headache clinics or neurologists. The Level 2 doctor will require some affiliation with the headache clinic in addition to theoretical training and be able to manage most of the primary headache disorders apart from the rare ones.

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    Tension Headache Vs Migraine

    Tension headaches, which are brought on by emotional, mental or physical stress, are more common than migraines.

    People who have tension headaches often complain of a band of pain across their forehead, or pressure on either side of the head. The pain is tiring, but not as severe as migraine.

    Migraine, on the other hand, usually hurts worse on one side of the head. And, you may experience light sensitivity, aura, or bright lines or dots in your field of vision.

    Tension headaches may resolve on their own once the source of stress is gone. In these cases, over-the-counter pain medications and lifestyle adjustments may help.

    Location Of Headache Pain Vs Migraine Pain

    Migraines and headaches can also have different areas where the pain is centralized.

    If you have a headache, you’ll likely feel pain and pressure in the forehead and scalp, and sometimes even toward the area where the spine and skull connect.

    If you have a migraine, you’ll likely feel pain on only one side of your head. You may occasionally feel pain on both sides of the head when you have a migraine, but the pain will likely feel more intense on one side.

    If you can clearly identify that the pain is on one side of your head instead of across your forehead or across your entire head, you’re likely dealing with a migraine. Each case is different, though, so make sure you monitor for other symptoms.

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    Ways To Prevent Migraines

    Migraine prevention is often multifaceted, involving several strategies including:

    • Medications:Preventative medications include beta-blockers, such as Tenormin , Inderal LA , or Toprol XL tricyclic antidepressants like Elavil or Pamelor CGRP inhibitors like Aimovig and Ajovy and anti-epileptic drugs like Depakote and Topamax , among others.
    • Relaxation:Since tension and stress are triggers, figuring out ways to promote relaxation can reduce attacks. Yoga, meditation, regular exercise, and taking part in relaxing activities can all help.
    • Getting good sleep: Sleep disruptions or disorders are closely associated with migraines. This is why you should ensure youre getting an adequate amount of sleep and are going to bed and getting up at consistent times every day.
    • Exercise:A regular fitness routine can help with migraines in two ways: It can help manage obesity, a common risk factor, and it can improve the quality of sleep.
    • Keeping a migraine diary:Record when your headaches are happening, what they feel like, and how they last. Keep track of your triggers so that you can work to avoid them, and make note of how medications are working.
    • Other therapies:Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese modality that employs needle sticks to stimulate nerves, may also help reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. For some, Botox injections once every three months can help.

    Summary Of Migraine Vs Cluster Headache

    The difference between a migraine and headaches
    • Migraine and cluster headache are both neurological conditions that cause head pain.
    • Migraine and cluster headache can often be treated with similar medications such as dihydroergotamine and triptans.
    • Migraines affect more women than men and have various triggers.
    • Cluster headaches affect more men than women and typically are not triggered by specific factors.

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    How Can You Manage A Migraine

    People hunt for that one thing they can do to stop attacks. They eliminate certain foods, stop caffeine and alcohol, searching for the key to switch off attacks. Sadly, it is not that simple. But you can try to keep track of what changes in the 48 hours before an attack. Using a simple headache diary may help identify some things to control in future and limit attack impact.

    Diagnosis is on the history of symptoms. A migraine family history helps confirm the diagnosis, but is not essential and often unknown for various reasons.

    Effective treatment requires the right medication in the right place at the right time. When a migraine attack starts to roll, it gathers momentum much like a snowball rolling down a mountain. Treating early is crucial, and discussing with a GP or headache specialist which combination of medications will suit you is so important.

    Often a simple anti-nausea medication with a painkiller will help if taken early enough, but it may be necessary to add in migraine-specific medications called triptans. There are seven currently available. If one does not suit you, try a different one. The effect of each varies from person to person. These should not be taken on more than 10 days in the month, as overuse of acute migraine medication aggravates the brain. Avoid codeine and opiates which can quickly worsen migraine.

    What Is A Migraine

    A migraine is a type of primary headache disorder that can cause severe pain and other symptoms. People with migraine may experience recurring symptoms that doctors call episodes or attacks.

    Headaches are only one symptom of migraines, and they can range in severity. Migraine can cause intense, throbbing headaches that last anywhere from a few hours to several days.

    A migraine headache usually affects one side of the head, but some people experience pain on both sides.

    A migraine episode can occur in four distinct phases, though not everyone experiences every phase.

    Premonitory phase

    Doctors also call the premonitory phase the preheadache or prodrome phase. It includes nonpainful symptoms that occur hours or days before the headache arrives.

    Premonitory phase symptoms can include:

    • unexplainable mood changes
    • sensitivity to light, sound, or smells

    Aura phase

    Auras refer to sensory disturbances that occur before or during a migraine attack. Auras can affect a persons vision, touch, or speech.

    Visual auras can cause the following symptoms in one or both eyes:

    • flashing lights
    • blurred vision
    • blind spots that expand over time

    Sensory auras cause numbness or tingling that starts in the arm and radiates to the face.

    Motor auras affect a persons ability to communicate and think clearly. Motor auras include:

    • slurred or jumbled speech
    • difficulty understanding what others say
    • difficulty writing words or sentences
    • having trouble thinking clearly

    Headache phase

    Postdrome phase

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    Difference Between Migraine And Cluster Headache

    Categorized under Disease,Health,Science | Difference Between Migraine and Cluster Headache

    A migraine is a type of neurological problem where there is one-sided head pain, nausea and sensitivity to light. A cluster headache is a type of head pain which always occurs in cycles and is located behind or around an eye.

    Can You Get Both Types Of Headaches


    If you feel like you’re getting a mix of migraines and tension-type headaches, and you get them often, you might have a condition called chronic or transformed migraine.

    This is when you get headaches 15 or more days a month, and on at least 8 of those days it feels like you’re having a migraine.

    People with this condition usually start getting occasional migraines in their teens or 20s, and then start having the headaches more often — daily even. As the headaches become more frequent, the pain often becomes less severe.

    Along with pain, you may also have migraine symptoms like nausea and sensitivity to light or sound, but these usually become less frequent and severe over time, too.

    A variety of things can make you more likely to get chronic migraine. Research shows that almost 80% of people with the condition took pain-relief drugs for their headache symptoms too often. Other things that can raise your odds for chronic migraine are:

    • Having more than one migraine a week
    • Getting these headaches for a long time
    • Obesity

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    When To See A Doctor

    If your tension headaches are chronic, or ongoing, I always tell my patients to err on the side of caution and schedule a visit. Depending on the severity and length of your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe medicines to prevent tension headaches from recurring.

    How Do You Tell The Difference Between Migraine And Headache

    The following table describes typical symptoms of migraine, tension, and cluster headaches, all of which are primary headaches. Knowing the symptoms may help you determine what type of headache you are experiencing.

    Type of headache
    teary eye, stuffy nose, puffy eyes

    Sinus headaches are considered secondary headaches because they result from infection or allergies. Sinus headaches are less common than some people may think. What someone may feel is a sinus headache may actually be a migraine headache. In the same way, what someone may feel is a migraine headache may actually be a sinus headache.

    If you are experiencing headaches or symptoms of migraine, talk with your doctor.

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    What To Know Before You See The Doctor

    Some people think an occasional headache is nothing to worry about. But headaches can become a problem if:

    • You experience them frequently
    • They become severe
    • They are disrupting your everyday life

    To help your doctor diagnose the source of your headaches, I find it useful when my patients keep track of how often theyre happening. This way, I can determine whether theres a pattern in triggers.

    Seek immediate care for your headache if you experience:

    • A sudden, intense headache
    • Loss of consciousness or vision
    • Frequent vomiting
    • Pain for more than 72 hours with little to no relief

    If youd like to speak with a Temple doctor about your headaches, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED today.

    Other Forms Of Headache

    Migraines Vs. Headaches

    There are other headaches that occur more rarely.

    • Ice pick headaches cause sudden and sharp pain that lasts no more than a few seconds. They arent serious and usually first occur between the ages of 45 and 50.
    • Hormone headaches result from spikes in hormones before or during menstruation. Hormone therapy and menopause can also cause hormone headaches.
    • Caffeine headaches are a frequent bane of coffee drinkers, and they occur due to withdrawal.
    • Exertion headaches occur due to intense physical exertion.
    • Hangover: Dehydration and overconsumption of alcohol cause hangover headaches.

    There are many, many reasons for having headaches, and they can occur as a result of many different circumstances. A headache is the bodys way of telling you that something is wrong too much stress, too much screen time, not enough water, the list goes on. While many headaches are not serious, if you are experiencing a lot of them, you should see a doctor to rule out any possible underlying conditions.

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    How Common Are Headache Disorders

    Globally, it has been estimated that prevalence among adults of current headache disorder is about 50%. Half to three quarters of adults aged 1865 years in the world have had headache in the last year and, among those individuals, 30% or more have reported migraine. Headache on 15 or more days every month affects 1.74% of the worlds adult population. Despite regional variations, headache disorders are a worldwide problem, affecting people of all ages, races, income levels and geographical areas.

    How To Prevent Migraines

    If your migraines happen frequently or if each one lasts for a long time, your doctor may want to put you on prophylactic medications, which are daily medications to prevent the migraines from starting in the first place. There are multiple categories of medications used for prevention, including ones that treat seizures, depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure.

    Although these drugs were developed for other disorders, they are effective in preventing migraines as well. In addition, an exciting new category of medications, known as calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibitors, was approved. These drugs target proteins that play an important role in the pathophysiology of migraine pain.

    If you have chronic migraines and youre not responding to prophylactic drugs, you could be a candidate for botulinum toxin injections, which have also been found to significantly reduce migraine frequency.

    The key take-home message about treating migraines? Although there are many options, theres no magic formula that works for everyone. If you are diagnosed with migraines, you and your doctor should work together to find the regimen thats right for you.

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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.

    Pacing From The Pain Or Laying Down

    Migraine Headaches: The Basics

    “Cluster headache patients tend to move around quite a bit during the headache. Migraine patients, moving around makes it much worse, so they try to stay still usually,” said Dr. Burish.

    During a cluster headache attack, I prefer to rock back and forth and tend to moan or scream when the pain is peaking. That is uniform across the cluster headache patients I’ve met over the years. Laying down is like torture during an attack because the searing pain makes you move. Bob Wold, Founder of Clusterbusters, likened it to slamming your finger in a car door: You have to shake your hand to cope with the pain. It’s similar with cluster headaches.

    Migraine attacks typically have you in a dark, quiet room because sound and light make it worse. I’ve had status migraines in the past, and they drained me for five days and had me wanting to stay in bed.

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