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Migraine is severe pain that disables you from having a normal life and working.

How to tell if you have a headache, sinus pain or a migraine?

How to tell if you have a headache, sinus pain or migraine by The Migraine Stopper

Some of us constantly suffer from headaches and we treat each headache as if they were the same.  There are many types of headaches and we have to learn how to recognise them, experts say.  You need to recognise when they are headaches or a migraine because, this is vital for your treatment. 

It is important to recognise the type of headache you have as it will determine the best treatment for you. Let's go through headache type differences, and along the way dissipate some headache myths. 

Tension Headaches

Tension headache is the most common type of headaches

This type of headache is the most common type of headache. At least 80% of people suffer from this type of headache in the course of their lives.  When you are suffering a tension headache you will feel tension or tightness in your neck or scalp and a blunt or dull pain in both sides of the head.

“The main triggers can be having a cold or other illness, changes in caffeine intake and being on the screen for long periods of time,” states Huma Sheikh, an assistant professor of neurology at Mount Sinai-Icahn School of Medicine. Some other triggers are physical stress, hidden depression, alcohol use, and jaw clenching.

To treat this type of headache you can use an over-the-counter painkiller.  Other things that can help you with this headache are drinking water, getting a massage, or getting more sleep.

Sinus Headaches

Many supposed sinus headaches are actually migraines in disguise

If you feel pain around the eyes and temple people assume they have a sinus headache.  Surprisingly, that is not always true. 

“Many supposed sinus headaches are actually migraines in disguise,” said Noah Rosen, a neurologist, and director of Northwell Health’s Headache Center in New York City.

Usually, when you are suffering a sinus headache you will experience signs of an infection. For example, redness, swelling, fever and post-nasal drip that’s discolored.

When you have a viral infection, you must wait it out and take a decongestant to treat the pain.  If you have a bacterial infection it can be treated with an antibiotic.

In some people when sinus is chronical blocked or easily infected a surgery will be recommended.  Sinus headaches are very rare so if you think you are suffering from them you need to go to your physician and have some tests done.

Migraines

Migraine is severe pain that disables you from having a normal life and working

Some experts say that if you have frequent severe headaches, it´s likely you may be experiencing migraines. Migraine is severe pain that disables you from having a normal life and working.  If you compare a tension headache with a migraine you will notice that a migraine will have some of the following symptoms that tension headaches do not; sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound and smell, and nausea.  Also, some migraine patients experience sensory disturbances called auras.  In these auras, people often see zigzags or bright dots in their vision or experience an abnormal tension on one side of the body.

Some experts stated that migraines can be genetic. “An individual with migraine has an almost 70% chance of having a first-degree relative who also has the condition,” Rosen said.

There are two ways you can treat migraines. First, preventive treatment, aimed at decreasing the frequency and severity.  Second, acute or abortive treatment aimed at migraine attack, once it has started. 

“Other complementary methods of treating headaches involve yoga, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral therapy, which involve non-medication techniques to decrease the over-sensitivity of the central and peripheral nervous system,” Sheikh said. The Migraineurs brains are wired differently and are overly sensitive to stimuli.  Such techniques that calm the brain are considered very useful.

Moreover, it is extremely important to know some of the migraine home remedies. In case sometimes you don't have access to your regular treatments, those tricks can be a real life saver!

When to Seek Treatment

It is important to know when to seek for treatment

Sometimes is very difficult to distinguish if what you are suffering is a headache or a migraine.  If your headache attack is severe it would be a good idea that you visit your health provider. 

“There’s a long list of scary causes of headaches that most of the time is not what people have, but on occasion they are,” Robbins said. “Especially if the headache is associated with some other symptoms, like feeling numb or weak or having a disturbance of vision or symptoms like that.”

You have to pay attention if you have new headaches and you are 50 or over if you have neurological symptoms like weakness or lack of sensitivity in one of your arms or legs, fever, weight loss, lack of response to usual treatment or change in headache frequency or characteristics.

Think about visiting your doctor to have a prescription treatment or over-the-counter pain relief medicine.  You don´t have to worry if your headache is a sign of a medical condition, nowadays there are a lot of effective treatments for your headaches or migraines that can give you relief to your headaches.

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