We all experience headaches or migraines from time to time, but having them too often can be debilitating. This pain is a worldwide problem; migraines affect 40 million people in the United States and one billion people worldwide. Always distressing, the symptoms from headaches and migraines can vary with intensity and from person to person. Because they are so common, it is essential that you understand and recognize these conditions, why they occur, and how to mitigate your discomfort.
Headaches are pains or aches in your head that cause pressure or throbbing. They usually occur on both sides of your head and with varying intensity. Headaches feel like they originate from different places in your head, such as the forehead, temples, and back of the neck. Though they can create a multitude of unique symptoms, there are a few designated types of headaches.
Migraines are severe headaches that typically occur on one side of the head with throbbing and intense pain. Migraines often involve symptoms other than pain that can make daily tasks more difficult or impossible. These symptoms (among others) include:
There are two types of migraines, those with and those without an aura. Auras are sensations that cause several severe or debilitating feelings, including:
These auras usually occur about 10-30 minutes before a migraine attack.
Most headaches can be treated with over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen. However, if you’re experiencing headaches or migraines more frequently, you may want to try ways to alleviate your discomfort. Because many headaches and migraines are related to elevated stress, relaxation techniques can relieve symptoms. Some methods to try:
These techniques can work for migraines as well but, for many, they can be a little trickier to get rid of. Health professionals recommend preventative treatments for stubborn migraines. Treatments include lifestyle changes as well as medications. For example, your doctor might recommend a shift in your diet as caffeine and alcohol can trigger migraines. Stress, too, should be kept under control as much as possible.
For many, migraines and headaches cause huge amounts of discomfort, making it challenging to go about your day. Knowing methods to limit or get rid of your symptoms can make the pain more manageable. It is crucial to keep in mind your triggers for headaches and migraines and track them to prevent pain in the future. Furthermore, knowing what treatment works for you will help ease your symptoms quickly and effectively. If you are constantly bothered by headaches or migraines, it is important to speak with a professional regarding your concerns.
For more information on migraines, headaches and treatment, check out these resources: