Headaches and migraines are prevalent, with most people experiencing one at some point in their lives. The differences between headaches and migraines can be subtle and sometimes more noticeable. The pain caused by a headache can range from mild to severe, and the occurrence can last anywhere from 40 minutes to a week, while a migraine usually lasts for between four and 72 hours.
What Are Headaches And Migraines?
It’s among the most common types of pain that people experience and has over 150 different varieties. Below are the two broad categories of headache, which include:
- Primary headache disorders: Headaches occur without any other disease or illness in these cases. The two most common types are migraine and cluster headaches.
- Secondary headache disorders. This is the case when symptoms of other conditions cause headaches. Typically, these accompany colds, influenza, tumors, head injuries, and other diseases or are signs of other problems.
Migraine is considered a primary headache disorder since it doesn’t arise due to other illnesses or trauma. Migraine attacks produce a broader symptoms range and progress through stages. Most often, they are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound, certain odors, and muscle weakness when they’re full–blown.
What Are The Different Types Of Headaches And Migraines?
Other than migraine headaches, there are several types of headaches, and below are the most important types of headaches.
- Tension headache. Being the most common headache type, the symptoms include tightening in the back of the neck and scalp and pain on both sides of the head. The tension-type of headache is generally triggered by stress and bad posture.
- Cluster headache. The third most common headache type and the one that’s not throbbing. It can be felt on one side of the head or behind the eye. An increased blood flow from widening blood vessels is the common cause.
- Cervicogenic headache. Causes such as bad posture, a pinched nerve, whiplash injury, prolapsed disc, or osteoarthritis can lead to this headache. Its symptoms can mimic migraines and be treated with upper cervical chiropractic effectively.
- Medication overuse headache. When there is a decrease in dosage or altogether stop taking a medicine that was taken too much in the first place, such as acetaminophen, it can lead to this headache. It was formerly known as a rebound headache.
- Sinus headache. This type of headache occurs when the sinuses are inflamed, typically due to sinusitis. This triggers unusual pressure, which causes a headache.
Migraine has several recognized types, each with distinct characteristics. Below are the different types of migraine:
- Migraine with aura. This type of migraine has an atmosphere (aura) phase before the onset of headaches, nausea, and other symptoms and has been seen in 15% to 20% of migraine patients.
- Migraine without aura. This is the most frequently seen type known as “common migraine.” This has no aura phase and is characterized by headache with light and sound sensitivity, nausea, and other symptoms.
- Silent migraine: This is often referred to as “migraine without head pain,” when a person experiences aura symptoms but there is no headache.
- Hemiplegic migraine. Loss of sensation, dizziness while affecting vision, and temporary paralysis on one side of the body are caused by this type of migraine.
- Migraine with brainstem aura. This migraine-type causes slurred speech, double vision, vertigo, and loss of balance before the onset of headaches. Localized on the back of the head, patients may have difficulty speaking, vomit, and have ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
What Causes Headaches And Migraines?
Causes of Headaches
- Headache syndromes. Severe headaches, in some cases, have characteristic features that allow for diagnosing chronic headache syndrome precisely.
- Medication overuse. Overusing pain medications in treating headaches can worsen over time. In fact, headaches may frequently increase until it occurs daily.
- Underlying medical conditions. Several medical conditions cause headaches that may be severe. One example is a glaucoma eye condition, which triggers an acute and severe headache and extremely high blood pressure.
- Decreased pressure. The loss of some of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord can decrease pressure in the skull and lead to headaches.
- Increased pressure. Severe headaches can also be caused by increased pressure within the skull due to a process within or surrounding the brain.
- Arterial problems. Arterial problems resulting in severe headaches include an injury to the carotid artery, inflammation of the artery passing over the temple, and a blockage of an artery in the brain.
Causes of Migraines
In general, migraines have common triggers but no one cause, unlike headaches, which usually have easily traceable reasons. If suffering from migraines, some factors certainly trigger their emergence. The triggers may vary for each person, which include the following:
- Gender and hormonal shifts. More than men, women are three times more likely to suffer migraines. The factors causing women to experience more migraine are menstrual cycles and changes in hormones.
- Allergies. Also called allergic rhinitis, allergies are associated with inflammation of the blood vessels that triggers migraine for some people.
- Family history and genetics: Those who are more likely to develop migraines themselves are people with family members suffering from migraine. In fact, scientists have discovered a genetic mutation common in those with the most typical type of migraine.
- Environmental: This category includes various triggers, like changes in weather, stress, food, smells, and lack of sleep.
What Are The Treatments Of Headaches And Migraines?
Most tension headaches can be treated fortunately with over-the-counter treatments, which include the following:
- Relaxation techniques
Since most headaches are stress-induced, taking steps to reduce stress can help relieve headache pain and reduce the risk for future headaches, which include:
- neck stretching
- relaxation exercises
- heat therapy (applying warm compresses or taking a warm shower)
The best migraine treatment is often its prevention. Below are the examples of preventive methods that a doctor may prescribe:
- Changes in diet like eliminating foods and substances known to cause headaches, like caffeine and alcohol
- Prescription medications like blood pressure-lowering medicines, antidepressants, CGRP antagonists, or antiepileptic medications
- Walking or taking steps as a stress-reliever
To reduce migraine quickly, people resort to taking medications known, and examples of these medicines include the following:
- Anti-nausea medicines (chlorpromazine (Thorazine), prochlorperazine (Compazine), or promethazine (Phenergan)
- Mild to moderate pain relievers (acetaminophen, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, naproxen sodium, or ibuprofen)
- Triptans (almotriptan (Axert), rizatriptan (Maxalt), or sumatriptan (Alsuma, Imitrex, and Zecuity)
If a person takes migraine headache medications more than 10 days a month, this could cause an effect known as rebound headaches. This practice will worsen headaches instead of helping them feel better.
The Bottom Line
At one point, most people will experience a headache or even a migraine, affecting their quality of life. In addition, people who suspect that their lives are not as productive and happy as they should be because of migraine or headaches. Thankfully, Cache Valley ENT offers Headache & Migraine Relief, a type of treatment that can help you identify and evaluate the causes of headaches or migraines to eliminate or reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms.