Monday, May 29, 2023

Differences Between Headaches And Migraines

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What Is A Migraine

Migraines Vs. Headaches

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

Headaches: Who And When To Refer

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.

Ways To Prevent Headaches

Many prevention strategies for other kinds of headaches are the same as those youd use for migraines. These include:

  • Figuring out ways to ease stress and tension
  • Keeping a regular sleep and eating schedule
  • Using good posture, especially if seated
  • Being careful of taking headache medications long term

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Medication Overuse Headache Symptoms

In MOH cases, medications taken to treat headaches and other symptoms actually make the pain worse. They tend to arise if youre taking drugs for more long-term headache problems. You may have this condition if:

  • Headache attacks become more frequent
  • You have headaches on more days than not
  • Your headaches are worse in the morning

Headaches: The Current Pathway

Headaches Vs. Migraine: Differences Worth Knowing

The neurological services in the UK are different from the rest of Europe, where all aspects of neurological care are provided by trained neurologists. For example, Holland has one neurologist for a population of 30,000 and in Italy one neurologist provides services to every 10,000 people. In comparison, a neurologist in the UK serves a population of between 117,000 and 200,000.2 Most of the acute neurological services are provided by interns or general physicians, particularly in small district general hospitals where the neurology in-reach is limited to a visiting neurologist from a neighbouring tertiary centre for a day or two per week . There has been an expansion of consultant posts since the mid-1990s without much increment in the trainee posts. As a result, recruiting to consultant neurologist posts has been extremely difficult over the last decade. The situation is unlikely to change and may even be worse considering the lack of additional funding to the National Health Service bodies.

The availability of modern technology, such as the internet and mobile communication, has made it easier for patients to obtain information about their condition, although it can be difficult for patients to interpret and with limited knowledge they are more likely to become worried about their diagnosis. Public education is therefore becoming increasingly important in setting directions for the future of the healthcare, and in appropriate utilisation of scarce resources.

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What Is A ‘migraine With Aura’

There are 2 types of migraine: migraine with aura, and without aura.

It might sound a bit paranormal, but migraine with aura is very real. Some people see flashing lights or a change in their vision some having trouble speaking, and some feel ‘pins and needles’ in their arms and legs. This can happen before or during a migraine attack.

Even if you get auras, you may not experience one with every migraine. The aura itself usually lasts less than an hour. Scientists aren’t entirely sure why it happens.

How To Recover From A Headache And Migraine

Finally, once you have dealt with the symptoms of a headache or migraine, then you need to see how to handle the after effects of the headache or migraine. For example, you might need to sit in a cold and dark room for a bit, lay down for a while, get a good meal in you, or figure out a way to reduce your stress.

It can be extremely hard to focus on work or any other task that you need to do if you are struggling with a headache, so dont be afraid to take a quick break and allow yourself the opportunity to recover.

Headaches and Migraines might not seem so different and certainly wont feel very different whenever you are suffering from one, but they are different and it can be interesting to look at how headaches are classified. Thankfully, they can at least be treated in the same way!

Also Check: Blurry Vision In One Eye And Headache

Migraine Vs Headache: Differences And Similarities Center

Headaches are the most common reason why a person goes to the doctor or other healthcare professional for treatment. There are different types of headaches, for example, migraine, tension, and cluster headaches. The most common type of headache is tension headache. Migraine is much less common. There are few similarities between migraine and other headaches, for example, the severity of the pain can be the same, mild, moderate, or severe and they can occur on one side or both sides of the head. However, there are many differences between migraine and other types of headaches. Migraine headaches also have different names, for example, migraine with aura and menstrual migraine.

Symptoms of migraine that usually aren’t experienced by a person with another type of headache include nausea, vomiting, worsens with mild exercise, debilitating pain, eye pain, throbbing head pain.

Migraine trigger include light, mild exercise, strong smells, certain foods like red wine, aged cheese, smoked meats, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, alcohol, and dairy products, menstrual period, stress, oversleeping, and changes in barometric pressure.

Headaches: Types & Causes

Types of Headaches | Primary vs. Secondary | Migraine, Cluster, Tension Headaches

There are several types of headaches other than migraine headaches. Let me briefly run through the most important types.

  • Tension headaches are the most common headache type. Symptoms include tightening in the back of the neck and scalp, as well as pain on both sides of the head. Stress and bad posture are generally the triggers of tension-type headaches.
  • Cluster headaches are the third most common headache type. Cluster headaches are not throbbing. They can be felt behind the eye or on one side of the head. These are thought to be caused by increased blood flow from widening blood vessels.
  • Cervicogenic headaches are brought on by bad posture, a pinched nerve, osteoarthritis, whiplash injury, or prolapsed disc. They can mimic symptoms of migraines, and are most effectively treated with upper cervical chiropractic care.
  • Medication overuse headaches, formerly known as rebound headaches, happen when you decrease the dosage or altogether stop taking a medicine that you were taking too much of in the first place, such as acetaminophen.
  • Sinus headaches occur when your sinuses are inflamed, typically due to the medical condition sinusitis. This triggers unusual pressure which causes a headache.

There are more types of headaches less common than the ones I just mentioned, such as caffeine headaches. Read in depth about all the headache types here.

Also Check: Does Low Barometric Pressure Cause Headaches

When To Get Medical Advice

You should see a GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms.

Simple painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can be effective for migraine.

Try not to use the maximum dosage of painkillers on a regular or frequent basis as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time.

You should also make an appointment to see a GP if you have frequent migraines , even if they can be controlled with medicines, as you may benefit from preventative treatment.

You should call 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone you’re with experiences:

  • paralysis or weakness in 1 or both arms or 1 side of the face
  • slurred or garbled speech
  • a sudden agonising headache resulting in a severe pain unlike anything experienced before
  • headache along with a high temperature , stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision and a rash

These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a stroke or meningitis, and should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.

What Is A Headache

There are many different types of headaches, which experts have classified into two main groups primary and secondary.

Primary headaches refer to independent conditions that cause pain in the head, face, or neck. Examples of primary headaches include migraines and tension headaches.

Secondary headaches occur as the result of another medical condition, such as an infection, stress, or medication overuse.

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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.
  • Barriers To Successful Health Care

    Headache or Migraine? How You Know the Difference
    • The main clinical barrier is the lack of knowledge among healthcare professionals. Without defining the difference between migraines and headaches, it is impossible to determine the correct treatment.
    • There is a lack of awareness among the general population. Headaches are not perceived by the population as a severe disorder, as they are mostly episodic, not fatal, and not contagious. Low rates of seeking medical advice in developed countries may indicate that many people with headaches are unaware of effective treatment. An estimated 50% of people with headaches self-medicate. Moreover, you need to know the difference between migraines and headaches to understand when it is inevitable to see a doctor.
    • Many governments seeking to limit health care spending fail to recognize the significant burden of headaches on society. They may not realize that the direct costs of headache treatment are negligible compared to the vast indirect cost savings that can be achieved by allocating resources to treat headaches properly.

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    What Are The Differences Between Headaches And A Migraine

    To the untrained eye, a headache and a migraine can feel the exact same and can seem like the same thing. Pain and aches in your head that dont go away as quickly as you would like, and the pain can even stop you from doing work and having a good day. However, a headache and a migraine are also different, and it is time to get everything straight before you get another one.

    Comparison Of Headache Related Characteristics In Awnm Awm And Mwoa

    Migraine-like headache occupied an absolute majority across all types, but AWNM patients contributed to a much larger percentage of other types of headaches . The gender ratio of the AWNM and AWM patients were similar . AWM patients had more severe headaches, longer duration of headache attacks, and slightly longer headache course than AWNM patients . Compared to AWNM, activity was more likely to aggravated headache attacks in MwoA and AWM patients . The incidence of all accompanying symptoms in patients with AWM was higher than that of AWNM, with significant differences . The age and age at onset of AWNM patients were slightly higher than AWM patients. And the incidence of almost all kinds of triggers in patients with AWM were higher than in AWNM patients, with significant differences in specific odor. The incidence of neck stiffness, as a premonitory symptom, was higher in patients with AWM, and poor appetite was more common in AWNM. Other premonitory symptoms were similar between the subtypes of MwA . The results of comparisons between AWNM and MwoA were shown in Supplementary Table .

    Fig. 6

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    Differences Between Migraine Symptoms And A Normal Headache

    Healthista | Healthista Writer

    Are your headaches worse than normal? Nutritional Therapist Hannah Braye reveals 7 differences between migraine symptoms and a normal headache

    Most of us will experience some kind of headache at some point in our lives, and they can come in many different forms.

    The most common are tension-types headaches, thought to affect up to 78 per cent of the general population.

    Migraines are less common but still affect around 15 per cent of people

    Migraines are less common but still affect around 15 per cent of people, and can be incredibly debilitating.

    Its important to recognise the differences between the two, so that the most appropriate treatment can be sought.

    #1 Pain severity

    Whilst no headache is pleasant, in general the pain experienced by migraine sufferers is much more severe than your average tension-type headache.

    Sufferers will often be required to stop activities and lie down to rest in a dark room. In very severe cases emergency medical attention may even be sought.

    The type of pain experienced also tends to differ, with migraines described as a throbbing or pulsating pain, whilst tension-headaches tend to be more of a constant, steady, dull ache in the head.

    #2 Pain location

    A further distinguishing feature is pain location. Typically, migraines present with unilateral pain , whereas with tension-headaches, pain usually starts in the back of the head or forehead and spreads over the entire head.

    #3 Other symptoms

    #4 Phases

    Migraines Vs Headaches: Whats The Difference

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    Weve all been there at one time or another: Throbbing pain between the temples and pressure behind the eyes so great that we have to take a time out and lie down. Its the all-too-familiar headache, right? Not so fast.

    When there is pain and pressure in your head, it can be difficult to tell whether its a headache or a migraine.

    When people think of a migraine, they typically think of the most severe headache. But headaches are only one symptom of a migraine and they can range in severity and length. Migraines are a chronic condition and typically the cause is unknown.

    On the other hand, a headache is not usually a symptom of an underlying condition. Instead, headaches may be due to overactivity of blood vessels, muscles, nerves or brain chemicals. Factors that can lead to headaches include stress, anxiety or depression, a physical injury or even changes in the weather.

    So before you write off your pain as just another headache, make sure you understand the difference between headaches and migraines. Knowing their key differences could mean faster relief with a more targeted treatment and even prevention of future pain, in some cases.

    Also Check: Why Do Migraines Cause Nausea

    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.

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