Headaches can be detrimental to a high quality of life. Especially, migraine and tension headaches. Some deal with them on a weekly, or even daily, basis. They can range from minor to life-changing afflictions. There are various causes, symptoms, and treatment options. The first step in treating headaches is understanding the type of headache it is.
Some people think they have a migraine, when in fact, they are suffering from a tension headache. Tension headaches are more common. But the Migraine Research Foundation found that 1 in 4 U.S. households include someone that suffers from migraines. Determining what type of headache can take some research.
Here are some things to think about to determine if the headache is a migraine or a tension headache.
According to the Mayo Clinic, migraines often begin in adolescence or early adulthood. Tension headaches can start at any time in an individual’s life. An adult just beginning to have recurring headaches means that they are most likely tension headaches.
Where is the pain located
Migraines usually happen on one side of the head. Tension headaches can affect both sides of the head and can produce intense pressure on the forehead. The location of the pain can be a key indicator of the type of headache.
Describe the pain
If it is a dull pain, with pressure, and tenderness around the scalp, this could mean a tension headache. If the pain is throbbing or pulsing pain, it could be a migraine. Both headaches can present intense pain, just different types of pain.
Migraines often come with symptoms beyond head pain.
- Light sensitivity
- Sound sensitivity
- Seeing bright flashing/sparkling lights
- A sensation of Pins and needles in one or both arms
Individuals not experiencing any of these symptoms are more than likely dealing with a tension headache.
Those with tension headaches can still perform jobs, drive, read, and operate through daily life even though it can be painful and frustrating. Migraines are very different. Lying down in a dark, quiet room with an eye mask on until the headache passes is how many handle their migraines. If the headache disrupts your life it is more than likely a migraine.
Over the counter pain killers
Tension headaches can usually be relieved with over-the-counter pain meds. However, this type of treatment does not work for migraines. When a migraine shifts into full force, the individual has to go through it. Headaches that respond well to nonprescription pain killers means it’s a tension headache. The majority will at some point deal with a headache.
Although tension headaches are more common that doesn’t rule out the possibility of the headache being a migraine. Just a little insight as to the type of headache that is presenting, and some proactive treatments. No matter the type of headache, if the pain is severe, or starts up after a head injury, seek medical treatment.
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