Headache or Migraine?

Did you know that a headache and migraine are two different presentations with similar symptoms? This can often lead to confusion as to which is which. Luckily both headaches and migraines have some characteristic differences that can help distinguish which you might be suffering from.

Headaches are a pain or aching pressure felt in your head. The pain can be mild to severe and is located in your temples, forehead or at the base of your skull. Headaches can be further subdivided, see the following for some common headache types;

  • Tension Headache: This is the most common type of headache caused by tightening of the muscles around your head and neck. Pain is usually felt equally on both sides of the head and are accompanied by tight neck and shoulder musculature. Tension headaches may be triggered by stress, anxiety, dehydration or lack of sleep.
  • Sinus Headache: This commonly affects the front of your face and has a feeling of congestion, fogginess and facial pressure. These headaches are usually present when you have a cold, fever, cough or sinus infection.
  • Cluster Headache: These are a severe one-sided headache that occur regularly over a period of time. They have a feeling of sharp, burning pain usually felt behind the eye which normally only lasts 30 minutes to 2 hours.

For migraine sufferers the headache pain will be considerably more intense, throbbing and often will make performing daily tasks difficult. They are usually one sided, though can at times affect both sides of the head. Symptoms associated with a migraine include;

  • pain behind one eye or ear
  • pain in the temples
  • seeing spots or flashing lights
  • sensitivity to light and/or sound
  • temporary vision loss
  • nausea and/or vomiting

Migraines can be further defined by having a migraine with an “aura” or without. An aura involves sensations a person experiences before getting the migraine such as;

  • a feeling of being foggy or less mentally alert
  • flashing lights or lines in the vision
  • tingling or numbness in the face or hands
  • an unusual sense of taste, smell or touch

Headaches and migraines are a common reason why patients seek osteopathic help. Taking a whole body approach an Osteopath can help to reduce symptoms of both headaches and migraines by addressing factors that may be influencing your pain such as muscle tension and joint strain. If you are someone who suffers from headaches and migraines the team at Blackburn Osteopathy can help. To make an appointment you can book in online or call our friendly reception staff on 9878 3122 or book online.


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