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What’s the Difference Between Migraines & Headaches?

Once your head becomes painful, do not instantly assume it is already migraine you are experiencing. Headaches can be primary and secondary, depending on its patterns and how you feel. The tricky part, however, is the difficulty of being able to tell on whether it is a simple headache or it is already migraine. Keep on reading and you will know how it is possible to tell the difference.

Knowing the Difference between Migraines and HeadachesThe Two Types of Headache

First, it is important to differentiate the two types of headaches. The first one is primary headache. This is the category where migraines belong, as well as tension and cluster headaches. When migraine happens, you will first feel pain from one side of your head and will eventually spread to other parts. Tension headaches, on the other hand, can lead into dull and mild pressure, and is the most commonly experienced form of headache. Meanwhile, cluster headaches are very painful and often result into nasal congestion and extreme pain.

Furthermore, secondary headache is considered to be a more serious condition, but it is also experienced rarely. More often than not, this results from serious health concerns, such as tumors, aneurysms, and inflammation problems. The treatment of such will require to first diagnose the underlying health problem and render the necessary treatment.

Assessing your Headache

More often than not, people resort to visiting a doctor in order to diagnose the type of headache they have. Nonetheless, even on your own, it will be possible to have a diagnosis based on the symptoms you are experiencing. For migraine and other types of primary headache, some of the most common symptoms include vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to sound and light. Secondary headaches, on the other hand, are commonly accompanied by neurological problems. A neurological exam should be performed by a doctor to determine if it is indeed secondary headache.

Knowing the Difference between Migraines and HeadachesAccording to Department of Health and Human Services, migraine and tension headaches can lead into mild to moderate pain. On the other hand, migraine and secondary headaches can result into sudden and extreme pain. If the pain is just a little distracting, it is most likely a tension headache. Meanwhile, if your head feels like pounding, it can possibly be migraine. If you cannot tell through the pain you are experiencing, it would be best to consult with a medical professional.

Location of Pain

Another way of being able to tell the difference would be based on the location of the painful area. Migraines are often felt on just one side of the head, but it eventually spreads all around. This means pain is unilateral as it starts only in one side. Nonetheless, in other types of headaches, pain is seemingly felt all over from its first onset.

Response to Treatment

If you are experiencing tension headache, the use of medications for migraine will most likely not be able to help. Nonetheless, there are some medications meant to treat tension headaches that can also prove to be effective when it comes to dealing with migraine. If you have tried several treatment options but your headache just gets worse, this can be an indication of suffering from secondary headaches.

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*The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the Editor. Results may vary from person to person and cannot be guaranteed.

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