Headache or Migraine?
Margo Gladding on
Do you have a headache or migraine? What's the difference? A migraine is a severe, painful headache that can last anywhere from several hours to several days. Migraines differ from traditional headaches in that they are usually accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or flashes of light. Migraines can affect adults and children, but are most often reported by adults. Women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men. To better understand headaches and to differentiate migraine headaches from other types, check the list of common signs, symptoms and frequencies of headaches below. Our certified wellness counselors recommend keeping a headache diary—noting when your headaches occur, what your headache signs and symptoms are, and any diet or lifestyle triggers you can identify. These details can help a professional assess your situation and make recommendations for natural relief of your headache or migraine. Are the headaches dull and achy? Tension-type headaches, the most common variety of headaches:
- Often feel like a tight band around your head
- Cause mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head
- May be triggered by stress, neck strain, missed meals, depression, anxiety or lack of sleep
- May occur occasionally or more than 15 days a month (chronic)
- Can last from 30 minutes to an entire week.
- Often are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or increased sensitivity to light or sound
- May affect only one side of your head
- May include head pain that worsens with routine activity
- May be triggered by stress, weather changes, environmental factors (like strong perfumes and other smells), certain foods and menstrual cycles or fluctuating estrogen levels
- Untreated, typically can last from 4 to 72 hours.
- Low serotonin levels
- Food allergies/food sensitivities
- Chemicals (MSG, nitrates)
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Stress/emotional changes
- Hormonal changes
- Lack of sleep
- Poor posture
- Muscle tension
- Weather changes
- Eye strain
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