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Migraine vs. Headache

Everyone gets a headache from time to time. Although headaches go away with a little rest and sometimes with the use of medication, there are other kinds of headaches that you should take seriously and see your doctor for treatment.

What is a Headache?

A headache is characterized by pressure and pain present anywhere in the head. Headaches can be mild or intense and can happen on one or both sides of the head. Typical areas where people report headache pain are:

Headaches can last for about half an hour to as long as a week. Tension headaches are by far the most common type of headache, which is caused by stress, muscle pulls, or anxiety.

What Are the Different Types of Headaches?

In addition to tension headaches, other common types of headaches include:

Cluster Headaches

These are extremely painful headaches that start on one side of the head and reoccur in cycles, meaning you’ll have pain-free periods followed by a severe cluster of pain.

Sinus Headaches

These headaches are caused by pressure due to a sinus infection. You’ll also likely have a fever, coughing, and congestion.

Thunderclap Headaches

These headaches come out of nowhere and are extremely intense. See your doctor immediately since thunderclap headaches can be a sign of a stroke, aneurysm, subarachnoid hemorrhage, or other serious medical conditions.

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is a severe, extreme headache that usually has additional symptoms. These symptoms include:

Compared to tension headaches, migraines are usually much more severe. Many patients seek immediate care in an emergency room. Usually, migraines will affect one side of the head, but it’s not uncommon to affect both sides. Migraine pain can be debilitating, making it impossible to carry out normal tasks.

Migraine headaches are placed into two categories: migraines with an aura, and migraines without an aura. An aura is the feeling a person gets about 10 to 30 minutes before the onset of the migraine. These sensations include:

Another indicator of migraines is the “prodrome” phase, which can occur one or two days before the onset of a migraine. Symptoms of the prodrome phase include:

Triggers for migraines can include:

What Are the Treatment Options?

Luckily, most tension headaches will resolve on their own. If they linger too long, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil or Tylenol. Relaxation, massage, and muscle-stretching techniques are also helpful to reduce tension headaches.
Prevention is the best course of treatment for migraines. This includes:

If you’re suffering from headaches that don’t resolve or reoccur often, make an appointment today with Complete Neurological Care, conveniently located throughout New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey. Our team specializes in headache and migraine treatment in addition to other neurological conditions.

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