What is the difference between a migraine and headache? Are you sometimes unsure? Are you currently suffering and don’t know what it is?
Migraines and headaches have lots of similarities and lots of differences. Headaches in general are extremely common, so knowing the difference would make a huge difference to your quality of life, as you know how to handle it and treating them can be very different.
How your life is impacted can vary with 75% of patients reporting some level of functional disability during a migraine attack with up to 50% actually needing help from family or a friend with a major impact on their social life.
So how to do tell?
There are unique differences between the two. Symptoms are much more intricate than a simple pain in the head.
So first let’s start with headaches. We will talk more specifically on tension type headaches (TTH) as they are by far the most common types of headaches at 60-80%.
TTH pain scale varies between mild and severe and are often described as a vice like pressure around the head and usually effects both sides (not always). The pain pattern is often described as a hat band distribution around the head.
The most common way they are triggered is through stress and muscle aches, commonly neck aches. Most people who suffer with TTH can persevere and get through there day.
Migraine pain scale varies from moderate to severe and typically effect one side of the head (can affect both). Unlike a TTH, usually the patient with a migraine has such an intense pain that they have to stop the day.
Migraines are often described as pulsating or throbbing pain that can last anywhere between 4-72 hours. Once they settle down usually the patient has complete freedom between attacks. The head pain is often joined by nausea, vomiting and light/sound/ smell sensitive.
Migraines can also be associated with and aura, which is usually experience before the migraine begins. It can include, visual disturbance, feeling less mentally alert, tingling or numbness in face or hands, or have a different sense of smell, test or touch. Aura usually effect around 1/3 migraine sufferers. A common response to a migraine is wanting to avoid light, sound and physical activity. These patients usually seek a dark quiet room and sleep.
It is very important to understand the differences between the two because how you deal with it will vary. This will intern effect your quality of life.
If your finding that your trying to deal with your migraines or headaches and not really getting anywhere, then there is something that you can do.
Contact our clinic ASAP and we can arrange a time for you to be fully assessed and gather some insight into what may be going on, what may be causing it and how we could possibly help.