Understanding the Difference Between Headache and Migraine

Difference Between Headache and Migraine

Difference Between Headache and Migraine - One to two adults is suffering from migraine, a disturbing form of headache that is usually located on one side of the head. According to recent statistics, millions of people suffer from migraine headaches, of which 2 / 3 are women.

The usual suspects of migraine headaches

The migraine is a complex neurological disease, the causes of which are not yet fully known. It is believed that the problem stems from the periodic disturbance of the function groups of the brain nerve cells.

A crisis usually lasts from 4 to 72 hours and can be «triggered» by fatigue, stress and even changes in weather (heat, humidity) and also sometimes from the consumption of certain foods. Also intense headache, that accompanies migraine crisis may coexist with visual disturbances, known as “aura” (flash, black spots, shapes), nausea and vomiting. In most cases, migraine can be effectively addressed and brought under control with a combination of therapy, lifestyle changes, with support from family, friends and work and the advice of a specialist doctor.

Headache and migraine: what is the difference?

A headache may be due to tension headaches, a migraine headache or cumulative headache.

The main characteristic of tension headaches is that they are accompanied by muscle contraction in the shoulders, neck and head, while the pain usually occurs on both sides of the head or back. Occurs frequently in women and is mainly due to psychological causes.

The migraine is caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the brain and is found in half the skull, and usually with aura (i.e. early symptoms). It concerns mainly women and the main causes are due to genetic predisposition and environmental factors.

In the case of cumulative headache the person has many crises of intense headache a day, each of which lasts a few minutes to three hours. This situation may last for two or three months and then the headaches disappear to appear again at some time in the future. It is the kind of headache that usually occurs in men who make alcohol abuse and are workaholic.

Experts believe that tension headaches and migraines cover over 90% of cases, while cumulative headache is rare and occurs at a rate of 1-2% of the general population.

When to go to the doctor?

Headache is rarely an indication of a serious illness. But in any case, the doctor is the most appropriate person to provide proper treatment and give advice on preventive therapy. This usually has to do with changing lifestyle. In other words: better diet, frequent exercise, less stress, quit smoking, etc.

Also, a visit to the doctor is absolutely necessary when:
  • The headache is cruel and causes you to stop any activity.
  • Occurs immediately after being hit in the head, even if it was light or if it appears some time after the hit.
  • The headache is accompanied by unprecedented and unusual symptoms, such us loss of consciousness or memory, numbness or weakness in the limbs.
  • The headache is located in a certain area, e.g. around the eyes and forehead or elsewhere.
  • The headache appears suddenly and seemingly without reason.

Painkillers are a cause of headache

Many people tend to take precautions and various analgesics in an effort to prevent a possible upcoming headache! And here is where the problem starts: Because the painkillers do not eliminate the headache crisis (especially if it is a migraine), but most of the times offer small and temporary relief. What is the result? The patient is forced to constantly increase the dose, believing that this would increase the degree of relief, but eventually they are driven to drug abuse. Studies have shown that one in three of those suffering from headaches end up in drug abuse. But this abuse leads to a vicious circle, since many painkillers, other than the known side effects, which occur in the gastrointestinal, they also help to develop a new form of headache.

Some food types are a major cause of headaches

Chocolate, cheese, spirits, coffee, seafood and citrus are usual suspects, according to medical research, incriminated for migraine crises. Many experts also believe that those who manifest migraine after consumption of these foods may have an enzyme deficiency in PST.

This enzyme has the capacity to neutralize a group of substances called amines that exist in large quantities in the above foods. But when the enzyme is missing from the body, then the levels of amines increase, stimulating the platelet agglutination (blood) in the brain, giving a mandate to initiate a migraine.

The rates with which some foods are major suspect for migraine crisis are:
  • 74% chocolate
  • 47% cheese
  • 30% citrus
  • 18% fat and fried
  • 15% tea and coffee
  • 14% meat, especially pork
  • 10% seafood

Secrets for immediate relief from migraine headaches

You can get instant relief from migraine headache if once you feel the first symptoms of migraine you wash your face with cold water and then lie down in a quiet and dark room. You can also press for 15 seconds with your thumb the points of your head where the pain lies. Withdraw your fingers for 5-7 seconds and repeat. Use aromatic oils like lavender and balm and do some light massage in the temples. The massage relaxes the «tense» muscles, and is also appropriate for the relief of headaches, especially when it comes from tension and stress. With gentle circular movements also do light massage with the tips of your fingers to the top of your head (where the front head ends and the hair starts). Continue around the head, moving towards the rear, using the thumbs of both hands then massage the base of the skull. While suffering from a headache crisis avoid the sun, bright light, strong smells and sounds.

What to do while suffering from a headache

Follow a light diet without fried or fatty foods and chocolates; avoid cheese, citrus fruits and alcohol (especially red wine) since these foods and beverages are accused of worsening migraines. Limit coffee, tea, tobacco and analgesics because their misuse can lead to recurrent migraines. Significant assistance will offer you a simple calendar, which you can record what you eat (and drink) during the day and before the headache crisis. In the calendar you can also include the start time and end time of crisis as well as the mental state in which you where at that moment.

Useful information about migraine headaches

Most people who suffer from migraine experience on average 13 crises a year.

After childhood, the disease is two to four times more common in women.

Stress, the emotional and hormonal changes, deprivation diets and fatigue are the most common factors of migraine headaches in more than 50% of the cases

In some women, migraine occurs for the first time during pregnancy, and there are a large percentage of women (55-90%) where during pregnancy the problem of the migraine (especially during the second or third month) improves dramatically!

Contraceptives can be a cause or aggravate existing migraine headaches

80% of people suffer from headaches generally do not visit the doctor to ask for help.

Migraine headaches is one of the three major forms of headaches. The other two being tension headaches and cumulative headaches.

Next Page : Migraine Headache Myths and Truths