Experiencing pressure or pain in your head every so often is common, often due to tension, stress, or sometimes food. When most people experience this throbbing ache in their temples, a headache often comes to mind. However, migraines impact over 37 million people in the United States but still remain a poorly understood condition that is often under diagnosed and under treated.
Before you self-diagnose your pain as just another headache, learn the distinctions between headaches and migraines. Understanding the differences between these two common conditions may help you find long-awaited relief.
What is a Headache?
Headaches cause a throbbing sensation in your head and can affect your daily activities. The most common types of headaches include:
A tension headache can cause mild, moderate or intense pain behind the eyes and in the neck or head. While the exact cause of a tension headache is unknown, several factors, such as genetics and environment, are thought to be involved. The symptoms of a tension headache often include:
- Head pain that usually hurts on both sides
- Pain that is dull or feels like a band is around the head
- Pain that may involve the back part of the head or neck
Sinus headaches are another common type of headache that may feel like an infection in the sinuses (sinusitis). People that get sinus headaches often feel pressure around the eyes, cheeks and forehead. Common symptoms of this type of headache include:
- Stuffy nose
- Facial pressure and pain
- Worsening pain when lying down
What is Migraine?
According to the American Migraine Foundation, “a migraine is a disabling neurological disease with different symptoms and different treatment approaches compared to other headache disorders.”
The most common symptoms associated with migraine include:
- Head pain that is moderate or severe
- Pain on one side of the head or both
- Head pain that causes a throbbing, pounding or pulsating sensation
- Head pain that gets worse with physical activity or any movement
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Sensitivity to light, noise and/or smells
The exact causes of migraine aren’t clear, but similar to headaches, genetics and environment do play a role. Everyone has different triggers to their migraines, such as stress, certain foods, alcohol, sleeping too much or too little, hormonal changes, concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
At The Center for Interventional Pain & Spine,, we understand that pain is real and can affect every aspect of your physical and mental health. We offer advanced interventional and minimally-invasive techniques to help treat your chronic complex pain. Schedule an appointment today!