difference between migraine and tension headache

Migraines and tension headaches are so common that most people dismiss their symptoms and assume that their condition will improve in no time. Many individuals also pay very little attention to their triggers or know the difference between migraine and tension headache. So, we thought of discussing headaches and migraines and the leading natural remedy that patients use. Please read on to learn as much as you can about the throbbing or tightening sensation in your head.

 

Categories of Headache

Unknown to many people, headaches come in different forms, and each of them causes varying symptoms. To get acquainted with these better, kindly look at the main classifications of headaches as reported by the American Journal of Medicine.

Primary Headache

This class refers to the “condition headaches” or those without any known underlying cause.

There are many kinds of primary headaches, but the three most well-known are:

  1. Tension-type headache
  2. Migraine
  3. Cluster headache

Of these types, the two most common forms are tension headache and migraine. These two are the extremes of headaches, given that cluster headache is rare and not life-threatening.

Secondary Headache

A secondary headache is the opposite of a primary headache because it results from another condition. Most secondary headaches stem from the inflammation or irritation of pain-sensitive sections of the brain. Some examples of this type of headache include the following:

  1. Ice cream headache
  2. Sinus headaches
  3. Spinal headaches
  4. Medication overuse headaches

 

Dealing with Headaches

The two classifications help healthcare professionals differentiate the symptoms and provide a clear and accurate diagnosis and patient care plan.

As secondary headaches are usually upshots of an underlying condition, their origins are either self-explanatory or easy to apprehend. 

For example, an ice cream headache or “brain freeze” develops due to sudden overindulgence in cold food. A sinus headache happens when there is an inflammation in the sinus cavities, while a spinal headache is due to a leak or decreased cerebrospinal fluid volume. On the one hand, medication overuse headache refers to the headache experienced when one takes more than the suggested dosage of painkillers.

On the other hand, primary headaches usually happen when there is an imbalance in your nervous system. Hence, it has a more complex nature compared to secondary headaches. It is also the more common type, so many people often visit their doctor or the ER to seek help for their primary headaches. 

Most of these patients cite migraines or tension headaches as the cause of the suffering. Notably, many of them struggle to distinguish the two primary headaches, causing them to fail in finding a suitable solution.

difference between migraine and tension headache

 

 

 

 

 

The Difference Between Migraine and Tension Headache

Migraine

A migraine is a type of primary headache characterized by a pulsing sensation or throbbing pain, usually on one side of the brain, but can also, in some instances, occur on both sides. If your headache comes with vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to sound and light, it is most likely a migraine. 

Depending on your remedy, a migraine attack usually lasts from four to seventy-two hours. It usually starts as episodic, but it can become chronic if the recurrences get more frequent.

The root cause of migraine is still uncertain, but some studies suggest that stress, weather, diet, medications, and one’s genetic makeup contribute to its occurrence.

Tension Headache

Ongoing pain that causes excessive pressure or the sensation of tightness on the back and sides of the head characterizes a tension-type headache. It can be episodic or chronic, depending on the frequency of its recurrence.

People who experience this headache report possible causes such as stress, tension, or sudden heightened feelings. Notably, these factors cause the muscles in the neck and head to contract and trigger a band-like pressure around the head, which tension headache is known for.

 

Typical Solution for Headaches

Doctors usually prescribe over-the-counter medicines to manage both primary and secondary headaches. In the case of secondary headaches, the prescribed medications usually address the specific condition causing the headache. Unfortunately, these medications can sometimes cause more problems if overused. For example, it can trigger drug dependency or health issues associated with prolonged medicine consumption.

Therefore, many healthcare professionals can agree that the best remedy for headaches lies in making necessary lifestyle adjustments and finding a natural solution like yoga breathing and upper cervical chiropractic.

Now that you know the difference between migraine and tension headache, you can better understand your symptoms. Hopefully, you can also determine which of these two common primary headaches you experience and what adjustments you need to make to lessen your risks of an attack.

 

Get a Lasting Solution for Your Headaches

When you see your doctor, you will likely hear about the difference between migraine and tension headache. Additionally, you might undergo specific tests to narrow down the root cause of your symptoms. Your doctor can easily customize the best care plan for your condition by doing so. 

As mentioned, migraines, tension-type headaches, or any headache, in general, are manageable with over-the-counter medicines. However, you should consider seeking natural remedies if your condition becomes chronic. One example of a remedy you should try is upper cervical chiropractic. Essentially, this remedy addresses cervical misalignments – one of the most likely reasons behind the chemical and physical imbalance in your nervous system. 

With enough cervical spine adjustments, you can relieve pressure on your brainstem, trigeminal nerve, and brain. This way, you can prevent your symptoms from taking over your life and lessen your pain and other migraine or headache-related complaints. 

Find a doctor near you by using the Upper Cervical Awareness Doctors Portal. This way, you can schedule your initial assessment and begin addressing cervical spine misalignments.

 

Find An Upper Cervical Doctor in Your Areato schedule a consultation today.