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Do I HaveĀ  A Migraine or A Headache?

Your head is hurting and you’re unsure whether it’s a headache or a migraine. If it’s severe and you can’t tolerate the pain, you may self-diagnose as a migraine, but it may just be a tension headache. 

There are clear differences between the two as outlined below:

Tension headaches can make you feel like an elastic band is squeezing your head. The muscle contraction between the head and the neck are the main cause for the mild to moderate pain within the head area. It can last for hours or sometimes days. 

Tension released at the neck with a massage could help alleviate symptoms and get rid of unwanted stress. 

In contrast, migraines can range from moderate to severe pain that feels like throbbing at the front (forehead) or sides (temples). It usually lasts for days and can get worse when you walk or sit at a computer. 

Signs to look out for before the onset of a migraine

Although the tension headache won’t give you any warning signs. The tension headache can through visual symptoms such as flashing lights or coloured sparkles which resemble a sensitivity to light. If you experience these, then there could be a migraine on its way. 

Sensitivity to sounds or loud noises, and feeling irritated can also be a sign of a migraine coming along. Everyone reacts differently and physiological symptoms can also be a sign, especially if you experience numbness, dizziness and increased urinating than usual. 

Recognising these symptoms beforehand can make you well prepared and in control. Coping strategies can include taking it easy and relaxing. Spending more time in quieter environments that have less technology stimulation or dimmed lights. 

Did you know you can wake up with a migraine, which starts whilst you’re asleep?

What causes a tension headache?

The most popular trigger is well known to be stress. Sudden stress is a large factor as well anxiety or even depression. 

If you regularly walk or sit in a slouch position, with poor posture, then this could also cause tension at the neck and head. Dehydration or too  much sunlight in a hot country, as well as exposure to unfamiliar smells and noise can trigger a headache too.

Menstruation and other hormonal changes can cause headaches in women, as can low blood sugar and not eating properly. Similarly, eating too much sugar can have a similar effect in creating headaches. Self-regulation can help prevent this. 

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