At some point in your life, you will experience a headache that seems never ending. It is important to know the difference between a migraine and a regular headache to make sure that you are getting the right treatment.
The most common type of headache is a tension headache – almost 90 percent of headaches fall into this category. Tension headaches are typically caused by stress or exhaustion. Symptoms of tension headaches include:
- Pain on both sides of your head
- Tight pressure around your head
- Sore or tight neck and shoulders
Typical treatment for tension headaches are over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Caffeine can also help. If you notice that your tension headaches are becoming chronic and don’t get better with these medications, talk to your health care provider.
Migraines on the other hand, are less common. There is no clear cause of migraines. They can last anywhere from four to forty-eight hours, and only about 12 percent of the population deal with them regularly. Symptoms of migraines include:
- Throbbing pain that may be worse on one side of your head
- Pain around your eyes or temples
- Sensitivity to light, sound and smells; this can sometimes cause nausea
Migraine headaches are easier to treat the sooner you catch them. You can try over-the-counter migraine medications to help stop the pain. If you discover that these aren’t working, your healthcare provider may be able to suggest other medications.
While all headaches are painful, migraines are especially bad, and can leave you bed-bound for up to two days. Knowing the signs, symptoms and treatments are important for prevention and keeping you and your family feeling your best.