Headache or Migraine? Learn how to differentiate!

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The discomfort of a headache can compromise your daily income at work and during family time. If she persists then what to do? The first step is to find out if the malaise is a headache or a migraine, as this makes all the difference when the doctor recommends an appropriate treatment.

In this post, we will present the difference between headache and migraine and how the diagnosis is made. Stay with us and check it out!

What are the characteristics of the headache?

There are around 150 to 200 different types of headache, popularly known as a headache. The most common headache is tension headache, followed by other types that can be caused by stress, anxiety, insomnia, flu and sinusitis. It is classified as primary by doctors, which means that the headache is the disease itself.

Tension headache symptoms are moderate pain that does not impede daily activities, but makes the person feel heavy or pressured in the head. It is not accompanied by other symptoms and is usually treated with medication.

Headache is secondary when it is a symptom of other diseases such as meningitis, subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT), cerebrovascular accident (CVA) and central nervous system tumors, which can be detected by clinical and laboratory tests. or image.

There is also cluster headache, an uncommon type of headache that manifests itself at night as intense pain on just one side of the head or around the eyes. Its duration can vary from a few minutes to several hours. Those with this condition may experience reddened eyes, watery eyes, nasal congestion, and drooping eyelids along with the pain.

This variation of headache is caused by disturbances in the hypothalamus, the region of the brain that controls temperature, hormones and sleep. Prevention is done through medication, depending on the severity of the crisis presented.

What are the characteristics of migraine?

Migraine is a type of headache characterized by persistent pain, which starts on one side of the head as a slight throb and gradually increases. This pain may be associated with other symptoms, such as photophobia (aversion to light), hypersensitivity to sounds and smells, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting.

In addition, migraines can cause paralysis or tingling on one side of the body. It gets worse when the individual moves and during daily tasks.

Frequently, migraine is caused by excessive coffee or physical activity, eating outside the usual hours, as well as smoking, hormonal changes and genetic predisposition. In some people, foods such as cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, cold or greasy delicacies act as a trigger for pain.

Migraine lasts, on average, from 4 to 72 uninterrupted hours. Generally, the treatment focuses on controlling the symptoms, but when the element that triggers the crises is known, it is possible to predict and prevent their manifestation through medication.

There are more than one variety of migraines. It is episodic when it occurs up to 14 times a month and the migraine is chronic if it appears up to 15 times a month, in eight episodes within three months.

To prevent or mitigate the intensity of crises, it is recommended to cultivate certain habits, such as:

  • get enough sleep for complete body rest (8 hours a day is recommended);
  • avoid stress by keeping the routine organized and always separating time for leisure and family;
  • restrict the use of bright lights (a tip is to reduce the brightness of the computer and cell phone screens and take periodic rest breaks);
  • practice physical exercises;
  • watch your diet and avoid prolonged fasting.

How is the diagnosis made?

The diagnosis of migraine is made through imaging tests and others that the doctor deems necessary to assess the causes and intensity of pain. In fact, the most prepared professional for this evaluation is the neurologist.

The criteria used to define whether a headache is migraine are: at least 5 attacks lasting from 4 to 72 hours (without treatment or that it is ineffective) and the presence of at least one of the symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, photophobia or phonophobia (aversion to sound).

The pain must also be unilateral, pulsating, of moderate to severe intensity and limit or prevent daily physical activities, such as walking and climbing stairs. Finally, the pain cannot be explained by another ICHD-3 diagnosis, the International Classification of Headache Disorders, which includes all types of headaches.

What is the importance of differentiating headache and migraine?

Knowing whether the discomfort that bothers you is a headache or a migraine is essential to define the appropriate treatment and guarantee your quality of life, as these two conditions are different in terms of intensity, causes and treatment, and if treated the other way around they only complicate the picture.

Headache is more common and less intense. In this way, the medications and recommendations for it are more moderate, unless it is the symptom of a serious illness. Migraine, on the other hand, requires more care, such as changes in eating habits and exercise routine, not to mention specific remedies for it.

Regardless of whether the problem is a headache or migraine, it is necessary to seek medical help to obtain the correct diagnosis and receive the indicated treatment. After all, self-medication does not solve the condition and can also increase the frequency and worsen the intensity of crises.

Now that you know the importance of investigating whether what bothers you is a headache or migraine, remember: the best way to take care of your health is to maintain a healthy sleep, diet and exercise routine. And if the pain appears, seeking medical help is always the best medicine.

Did you like to learn the difference between headache and migraine? So, share this post on your social networks and help your friends!

Technical review: Alexandre R. Marra, researcher at the Instituto Israelita de Ensino e Pesquisa Albert Einstein (IIEP) and permanent professor at the Graduate Program in Health Sciences at the Faculdade Israelita de Ciências da Saúde Albert Einstein (FICSAE).

Source: vidasaudavel.einstein.br

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