What is the difference between headaches and migraines?
Headaches and migraines cause pain or pressure in your head. When this pain is severe and recurring, it can dramatically affect your quality of life.
Headaches and migraines can be difficult to tell apart, but knowing which condition you have is the first step toward successful treatment:
Headaches can range from a dull ache to severe pain and may last anywhere from 30 minutes to a week. There are many types of headaches, but tension headaches are the most widespread. Stress, muscle strain, and anxiety are common causes of tension headaches.
Other types of headaches include:
- Cluster headaches : occur on one side of the head in a cycle of intense attacks
- Sinus headaches : co-occur with sinus infection symptoms like facial pressure
- Thunderclap headaches : sudden and severe headaches, developing within 60 seconds
A thunderclap headache can be a warning sign of a medical emergency like a stroke, which is a serious medical condition that occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your brain is disrupted. Without enough oxygen, brain cells die within minutes, leading to brain damage or death.
Seek the emergency room or call 911 right away if you or a loved one experiences severe headaches and loss of cognitive function.
Intense, throbbing pain that usually affects only one side of the head may be a migraine. Often, migraines occur with other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, or visual disturbances.
Migraines can occur with or without an aura. People who experience an aura may notice unusual sensations like feeling tingling or numbness, seeing flashes of light, or having an odd sense of smell, taste, or touch. These sensations usually happen 10-30 minutes before a migraine attack.
Prodrome is another phase that some people with migraines experience. Prodrome can happen a day or two before a migraine attack and may cause various subtle symptoms like neck stiffness, constipation, and frequent yawning.
How are headaches and migraines diagnosed?
Your provider at Injury and Health Institute diagnoses headaches and migraines with a comprehensive physical exam, including a review of your symptoms and medical history. They may take an electroencephalogram (EEG) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to rule out other conditions that can cause head pain, like a tumor or stroke.
What are the treatments for headaches and migraines?
There’s no cure for headaches and migraines, but treatments can help relieve your symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of future attacks. Injury and Health Institute recommends the best course of treatment for your particular needs.
Your treatment plan may include:
- Pain management techniques
- Spinal manipulation
- Stretches and rehabilitation exercises
- Activity and lifestyle modifications
- Massage therapy
- Stress management
- Referral to other medical specialists
Call Injury and Health Institute today or schedule an appointment online if you’re concerned about headaches and migraines.