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Migraines vs. Regular Headaches

Lots of things in life could make your head hurt. But, if you’re one of the millions of people in the United States living with migraine headaches, you might need specialized treatment to handle your headache pain.

At BCS Medical, our experienced care team can help to diagnose and treat your migraine headaches. We support new and existing patients with migraines from our Bryan, Texas offices.

How can you tell if you’re having migraines, or just regular tension headaches? There are a few key differences to look for to tell the difference between migraines and normal headaches. Here’s what you should make note of, when it comes to identifying migraines.

What is a migraine, anyway?

You might think of migraines as simply a very bad headache. That’s actually not quite correct. While migraines share many similarities with ordinary tension headaches, migraines also have some unique characteristics and causes.

Migraines tend to cause pain ranging from moderate to severe, often described by sufferers as throbbing or pulsing. You might have additional symptoms with a migraine, as well, including aura, sensitivity to light, and nausea or vomiting.

Often, migraines proceed in clear stages, with a prodrome stage occurring about a day before the onset of pain symptoms. Some patients also experience a postdrome stage, lasting for up to 24 hours after a migraine headache, characterized by exhaustion and mental confusion.

Is it a migraine or a tension headache?

Migraines and tension headaches have different causes, and present slightly differently, as well. Migraines occur due to genetic factors and environmental triggers, such as sensory inputs or stress. Stress can be a factor in a tension headache, as well, but doesn’t kick off a full-body response the way a migraine trigger will.

If your headache pain is centered in your forehead or scalp, and you don’t have any other symptoms, such as nausea or vision changes, you most likely have a tension headache, or other non-migraine type of headache. Migraine pain often is felt only on one side of your head, although some migraines cause pain felt on both sides. Migraines also typically come with added, and uncomfortable, symptoms.

While most headaches go away on their own, or can be handled with over-the-counter pain medication and relaxation techniques, living a full life with migraines can be challenging. Some patients deal with more than a dozen migraines per month, and need to work to maintain quality of life.

The good news is that your chronic migraine condition can be effectively managed with professional treatment and support. To get started working with the BCS Medical team on your holistic and integrative migraine treatment plan, contact our offices today. You can schedule your appointment online, or give us a call now.

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