difference between migraine and tension headache

Headaches and migraine episodes can be quite annoying to deal with. Although they don’t exactly pose serious health risks, they can ruin a perfect day. The worst part is that they come in various types – each one causing specific symptoms.

Knowing how to distinguish them can help you find the most appropriate relief method to use. Read on to learn the difference between migraine and tension headache plus other headache disorders. We will also discuss how you can benefit from upper cervical chiropractic adjustments. 

#1. Cluster Headaches

Cluster headaches are a recurring and debilitating type of headache. These also tend to cause more severe symptoms in males compared to females. Most people who have cluster headaches describe their pain as piercing or burning and mostly focused on the area around or behind one’s eyes. 

It can also cause symptoms like swollen eyelids, restlessness, and a runny nose. A cluster headache episode frequently happens out of the blue and can affect you for around 3 hours, maximum. The pain can recur more than two times per day.

#2. Tension Headaches 

You can quickly distinguish tension headaches from other types of headaches with the tightening sensation you feel around the head. Typically, a tension headache lasts for several hours. Besides the painful pressure along the circumference of the head, you may also observe other symptoms such as:

  • Neck muscle tenderness
  • Pressure around your head
  • Tenderness on the scalp or forehead

You can easily tell the difference between migraine and tension headache based on the symptoms alone. Notably, migraines affect one side of the head, while tension headaches cause pain around the entire head. The only similarity between these primary headaches is neck muscle tenderness or pain.  

#3. Sinus headaches

Often, people have a hard time figuring out if they have sinus headaches or migraines. In fact, around 95 percent of sinus headaches are actually migraine attacks. If you’re struggling to know if you have a migraine attack or sinus headache, look out for sinus headache-specific symptoms like fever, presence of yellowish mucous, neck pain, and foul-smelling breath. 

#4. Rebound headaches 

Pain reliever overuse can result in rebound headaches. Instead of doing its job and relieving your pain, the usual prescription you take triggers uncomfortable bouts of headaches. It’s best to avoid using pain medication repeatedly. Instead, you can try other natural remedies to cope with your symptoms. It’s the better option so you can free yourself from the vicious cycle of depending on medication for relief.

difference between migraine and tension headache

#5. Exertional Headaches 

Another type of headache that occurs among many people is exertion headache. This type can occur together with other headaches such as migraines. These tend to worsen when you physically overexert yourself. You can also notice changes in your symptoms when you cough or sneeze. 

#6. Migraine Headaches

Now that you recognize the main difference between migraine and tension headache, let’s take a closer look at its other symptoms. Compared to most of the headache types listed here, migraines tend to come with more debilitating effects. 

Besides the throbbing or pulsating pain, it can trigger vomiting, nausea, vertigo, appetite changes, pallor, blurred vision, and fatigue. Additionally, the painful sensation tends to extend for days. Some patients experience migraine episodes for up to 72 hours. It can also recur several times each week, depending on a few factors such as: 

  • Hormonal fluctuations (for women)
  • Dehydration
  • Hunger
  • Quality of sleep
  • Stress levels 
  • Weather or temperature changes

Keep these migraine risk factors in mind so you can manage your symptoms better. You can make the necessary adjustments based on these factors to reduce the symptoms you experience. 

#7. Post-Concussion Headaches

Last on our list of headache disorders is the post-concussion syndrome headache. Sometimes, after a neck or head injury, post-concussion syndrome follows. Often, it triggers headaches that may be accompanied by symptoms like depression, irritability, cognition problems, neck pain or soreness, and insomnia. You might also observe other symptoms similar to what patients with whiplash injuries experience.

 

Lasting Migraine and Headache Relief Through Upper Cervical Care

After reading through the list of headache disorders above and knowing about the difference between migraine and tension headache, it’s easier to seek a helpful remedy. If you haven’t tried upper cervical care yet, we recommend giving it a shot. Studies have shown the procedure’s effectiveness in helping patients suffering from mild to severe headaches.  

It’s a straightforward process that involves restoring the neutral alignment of the spine. In upper cervical care, chiropractors focus on the neck area. Most patients who seek spine alignment had a neck injury, which caused their bones to slip from their original position. 

This affects various parts of the body, including the brainstem and the spine. It can disrupt the signal transmission of your brainstem. In effect, your brain receives mixed signals, which can impact various processes controlled by the central nervous system. The spine misalignment can also result in impaired blood circulation in the brain. Both problems can potentially cause severe problems if you don’t fix them fast.  

With the help of your upper cervical doctor, you too can benefit from lasting pain relief. Even after a couple of years, the adjustments done can hold. This way, you can enjoy the benefits for as long as possible. 

Find an upper cervical doctor near you today if you wish to inquire about the procedure. You can choose from plenty of upper cervical care professionals. Call one if you need help in reducing the intensity and frequency of your headaches.  

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