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bodytonic clinic ultimate Guide to Headaches vs Migraines in London

Headaches vs Migraine – The Ultimate Guide

10 Headaches vs Migraine questions

The Ultimate Guide

Written by Bethany Elliott-Hutton

Headaches

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Headache

Headaches are generally classified by their cause and can be categorized into two main groups: primary headaches and secondary headaches.

Primary headaches are headaches that have not been caused by any other medical condition. Whereas, secondary headaches are headaches that are caused by an underlying medical condition. This blog will explain the main types of primary headaches and their causes.

Primary headaches can occur at any age and are one of the most prevalent neurological conditions. There are two main types of primary headaches: migraines and tension type headache.

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Migraine

What is a migraine?

A migraine headache is described as a moderate to severe one-sided headache. It is normally pulsating in nature. How long do migraines last, anywhere from 4-72 hours.

There are several different types of migraine:

What are the symptoms of a migraine?

As well as having a headache, individuals may also experience other migraine symptoms, including:

What are the causes of migraine?

The exact causes of migraines still remain to be unknown, however researchers believe that migraines occur as a result of abnormal brain activity. This can affect the brain’s chemicals, blood vessels and communication between the nerves.

Research has also demonstrated genetics to play a role in migraines. It has been shown to make individuals more sensitive to certain triggers that are likely to set off a migraine. There are many possible migraine triggers, including;

How is a migraine diagnosed?

It is recommended to seek advice from your GP if you think you are suffering from migraines. Your GP may perform a range of tests to exclude any other cause of headache, this may include but is not limited to:

What are the treatment options for migraine?

Currently, there is not one single cure for migraine. Therefore, the main aim of treatment is to reduce the frequency of migraines and to control the symptoms of the migraine. There are many different types of treatment for migraine, these include:

  • Over the counter pain relief medication such as paracetamol, anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin can help to reduce migraine symptoms.
  • A newer class of drugs known as Triptans can be prescribed by your GP. Triptans work by increasing serotonin levels and reducing inflammation in your brain.
  • Anti-nausea medication can help with reducing nausea and vomiting. These drugs are usually taken along with painkillers.
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Tension Type Headache

What is a tension type headache?

A tension headache is described as a mild to moderate bilateral (both sides) headache.
It is the most common type of primary headache and it is usually dull or squeezing in nature, lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to several days.

There are two main types of tension headache:

What are the symptoms of a tension type headache?

As well as having a bilateral headache individuals may also experience pressure behind the eyes and tension in the neck and shoulders. The headache is not usually affected by normal daily routines and there is no nausea or visual disturbances associated. Photophobia and phonophobia may be experienced.

How is a tension type headache diagnosed?

Tension type headaches are diagnosed mainly through the patients reported symptoms. Sometimes physical examinations and tests may be taken to exclude any other cause of headache.

On physical examination of the neck there may be tenderness on palpation of the neck and scalp muscles which may elicit or increase headache symptoms.

What are the causes of tension type headache?

There is not one single cause of tension type headache. It is multifactorial in nature, meaning there are many different causes. Certain factors have been shown to trigger tension type headaches and are mainly linked to increased strain of the muscles of the head and neck. Triggers include:

What are the treatment options for a tension type headache?

There are various different treatment options for Tension type headaches. These include:

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