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Is it a Migraine or Just Headache?

HWC team
June18/ 2016


About 30 percent of total population suffers from migraine in their teens. Women are four times more affected than men to have migraine. Migraine is a medical condition. Most people who suffer from migraines get headaches which might be mild or severe. Migraine headache is usually an intense, throbbing pain on one, or sometimes both sides of the head. Besides pain, migraine also can cause nausea and vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound and sometimes loss of vision. Migraines may progress through four stages like prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome.

Migraine Causes

  • Lack of sleep.
  • Skipping meals.
  • Experiencing bright lights, loud noises and strong odors.
  • Hormone changes during the menstrual cycle.
  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Environmental changes.
  • Drinks like alcohol, especially wine and  highly caffeinated beverages trigger migraines.
  • Changes in food.

Migraine Types

There are many forms of migraine. The two forms seen most often are migraine with aura and migraine without aura.

Migraine with aura – It is also known as classical migraine. Only one in five people who get migraine experience an aura. Women have this form of migraine less often than men. The person might have these sensory symptoms 10 to 30 minutes before an attack by seeing flashing lights, numbness or tingling in the face and hands.

Migraine without auraIt is also known as common migraine. With this form of migraine, a person does not have an aura but has all the other features of an attack.

Migraine Vs Headache

One has to understand that a migraine is a headache. But all headaches are not migraines.  A migraine can be distinguished from a headache by several factors such as the associated throb or pulse like palpitation in the head. If someone in your family gets migraine headaches, then it’s not surprising you get them as well. That is because the abnormalities in the brain that can lead to migraines appear to be genetically inherited. In fact, 70% to 80% of people who get migraines have a family history of this disorder.

Factors that differentiate a migraine from a normal headache:

  • A migraine headache is escorted] by nausea and vomiting.
  • The pain is of moderate or severe intensity.
  • It lasts for about four to 72 hours.
  • It gets worse with any movement or physical activity.
  • There is an increased sensitivity to light photophobia and sound phonophobia.

If your headache does not have these above mentioned signs, then your headache is probably is not a migraine that might be a mixed headache or a tension headache.

HWC team

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