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Is Your Headache Really a Migraine?

By Sara Butler

Sometimes you get a really bad headache, but is that headache just a headache or is it a migraine? Surprisingly, sometimes it can be difficult to know the difference, which means you may want to take a closer look at your headache symptoms.

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, nearly half of people who suffer from migraines are never diagnosed. It's worth it to take a few minutes to understand the sometimes subtle differences between headaches and migraines so you can find a treatment that brings you relief.

What Are Migraines?

Migraines vary from person to person. Some people have a terrible headache for a few hours, while others are in pain for days. The exact cause of migraines still eludes researchers, but there are environmental as well as genetic factors that play a role. It is also understood that the central, as well as peripheral nervous systems, are impacted by chemical activity that brings on a migraine.

Is it a Migraine?

A migraine headache can come on suddenly or slowly. It can start at night or during the day. Even though symptoms differ from person to person, there are a few ways you can tell if your headache is a migraine or not.

Common symptoms of a migraine include:

  • Throbbing - If you've ever had a headache where it feels as if your heart is beating in your head, then it might be a migraine. Regular headaches tend to cause dull aches, while migraines cause a debilitating throbbing that makes you want to crawl under the blankets.
  • Pain on one side - You can experience a migraine on both sides of your head, but most people experience pain on only one side. Tension headaches, on the other hand, tend to cause pain all over and sinus headaches cause pain in the face.
  • Seeing lights - During a migraine there is often decreased blood flow to the brain that slows things down, that's why migraine sufferers often see auras before or during their migraines around lights. This distorted vision can also cause you to see sparkling lights -- and that doesn't usually happen with other types of headaches.
  • Nausea - Migraines often cause dizziness, nausea, and even vomiting. It's all part of an overactive nervous system that activates your gut and causes problems. If you feel sick during a headache, it may be a migraine.

If you suspect you may be having migraines, talk to the chiropractors at The Joint about it today!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Durham, N.C.

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