Any type of headache can be quite painful. Sometimes when people feel an especially painful headache, they tend to automatically think it is a migraine. (According to the Migraine Research Foundation, as many as 1 in 4 households have a family member who suffers from migraines.) However, even if it is quite painful, your headache may not be a migraine; It could be a tension headache instead..
Are My Headaches Migraines?
If you are suffering from frequent headaches and want to know what type they are, these are some questions you can ask yourself:
1. When did the headaches begin? Most migraines begin between early childhood and the teen years. Tension headaches can begin at any age. If you are older and are just beginning to experience headaches, they are probably tension headaches.
2. Where are you feeling the pain? Migraines usually form on one side of the head, however tension headaches will usually form on both sides with pressure at the front of the forehead. This distinction is a major differentiation between headache types.
3. What type of pain are you experiencing? While both types of headaches can cause intense pain, tension headaches usually produce a dull achy pain or pressure around the scalp. Migraines typically produce a throbbing, pulsing pain.
4. Are you experiencing other symptoms in conjunction with the headaches? If your headache is a migraine, you will probably experience additional symptoms such as nausea, light sensitivity, dizziness, pain down the arms (or only one arm), or “seeing” bright lights. These symptoms, though, are not usually connected with a tension headache.
5. Are you able to keep up your regular schedule? With a tension headache, you can probably still work, just with discomfort. With a migraine, it is hard to do anything. Most migraine sufferers will retreat to a dark, quiet room that will block out light and sound until the headache has passed.
6. Do anti-inflammatories take care of the pain? If they do, you probably have a tension headache. Most migraine sufferers find that nothing will work besides just waiting for the headache to run its course.
Fortunately, the majority of headaches that people suffer are tension headaches. The above analysis can help you to determine if yours might be a migraine. However if the pain persists, or if you have experienced a head injury, don’t guess; be sure to seek medical care for your headaches, including chiropractic care.