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Headaches vs. Migraines: What’s the Difference?

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, about 12% of people in the United States have migraines. A migraine isn’t just a bad headache – in fact, some migraine episodes don’t even cause head pain. Here’s how you can tell the difference between a regular headache and a migraine headache:

Type of Pain

The pain felt during a migraine is intense enough to be incapacitating. Pain may be described as pulsing, or throbbing, and it’s usually felt on only one side of the head. A migraine headache can last from hours to days.

The pain felt during a typical headache is often described as dull or achy, but it may also be intense. Pain presents on the front, sides, or back of the head. Tension headache – which feels like a tight band around the head, is one of the most common types of headache.

Triggers and Underlying Causes

Stress, anxiety, and dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines. A tension headache can also occur due to poor posture or excessive screentime.

Migraine triggers include certain scents, sounds, foods, and even hormonal changes. Research suggests migraines are a type of neurological condition related to underlying inflammation. This inflammation affects the way blood flows in the brain and the way pain signals are amplified by the nervous system.

Additional Symptoms

Generally speaking, headaches cause only head pain. But migraines tend to come with additional symptoms that are incredibly disruptive, such as:

  • Visual disturbances (seeing flashes of light or dark spots)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Heightened sensitivity to light and sound

Additional symptoms may precede an actual migraine. These are called “prodromal symptoms” and can include “brain fog,” numbness or tingling in the face or hands, and altered smell, taste, touch, or vision.

Migraine Treatment in Indianapolis

Treating your migraine or headache is an individualized process. At Center for Pain Management, we offer a variety of services shown to reduce the frequency, duration, and intensity of headaches and migraines. One of the treatments we offer is Botox injections, which block certain pain-related chemicals in your nervous system to reduce migraine intensity and frequency. This treatment is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Do you need help with migraine pain or chronic headaches? Contact us today to schedule your appointment: (317) 706-7246.

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