How do you know whether it’s a headache or a migraine?
Many of us have been there before – out of nowhere a searing, pounding headache brings us to our knees, or maybe the pressure is mild yet constant. Regardless of how it feels, this pressure and pain in the head can be downright debilitating.
But how do you know whether it’s a headache or a migraine? This is one of the most common questions we field, and understandably so.
While there are many similarities between headaches and migraines, they are quite different from one another. It is important that you learn the differences between the two, as this will help you understand which treatments will give you the quickest relief.
Today we are going to not only look at what the differences are between headaches and migraines, but what some of the most common causes and symptoms of each are. We will also go over a handful of remedies you can try at home, but if you are still in pain, we encourage you to contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group. Our pain management clinic has extensive experience helping people who suffer from both headaches and migraines. You don’t have to live in pain – let us help you!
What Are the Differences Between Migraines and Headaches?
Headaches are considered one of the most common health problems experienced throughout the world. Although many people mistakenly refer to severe headaches as a migraine, these two conditions are not the same. There are a handful of specific symptoms and criteria that are used to diagnose migraines, tension headaches, cluster headaches, and other types of headaches.
This is the most common form of headache. It is safe to say that most people have experienced a tension-type headache at one time or another during their lifetime. Tension headaches are usually mild to moderate pain that many people describe as the pressure around their head.
A cluster headache is often mistaken for a migraine because they can happen on a daily basis. Individuals who suffer from chronic cluster headaches experience short-lived but very painful headaches every single day for weeks or even months at a time. In some cases, people will get them during the spring or fall, or at the same time every year.
While symptoms can vary from person to person, some of the most common signs of a headache include:
- Dull or aching head pain
- Tightness or pressure surrounding the head (from the forehead to the sides and back of the head)
- Tenderness on the scalp
- Sore or tight neck and shoulder muscles
Migraine, on the other hand, is much less common than tension headaches. A recurring type of headache, migraineurs experience moderate to severe pain that is often described as throbbing. One of the distinguishing factors with migraines is that they often come with nausea or vomiting, weakness, or sensitivity to light and sound.
As with headaches, the symptoms migraine sufferers experience will vary. However, some of the most common symptoms of a migraine include:
- Pain that feels like it is behind one eye or ear
- Pain in the temple
- Seeing flashing lights or spots
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to sounds
- Vision loss (temporary)
- Feeling tired or confused
Common Causes of Migraines and Headaches
One of the main differences between migraines and headaches actually starts with the root cause. It is believed that migraines are caused by changes in the blood flow in the brain or differing hormonal levels. Chemical reactions that cause swelling and irritation of the blood vessels may also be the culprit.
Headaches, on the other hand, are often set off by:
- Lack of sleep or poor sleep cycle
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Skipping meals
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Stopping a certain medication
- Changes in weather
- Certain food and drinks
Natural Remedies for Migraines and Headaches
Understanding your migraine or headache trigger is the first step to effectively managing your pain and any other symptoms. Once you understand the factors that may be contributing to your pain, we will have a better idea of the type of treatment that will work best.
Avoiding foods and drinks that trigger your migraine or headache, learning good stress management techniques, and trying aromatherapy may all be a good place to start. If you are still in pain after trying to cure your headache or migraine naturally, call Texas Partners Healthcare Group and schedule an appointment. We offer stem cell therapy as well as other types of regenerative medicine, all of which are designed to help manage your pain.