Migraines as a Form of Pain

Learn about Migraines

Mature woman with head in hands and eyes closed, close-up
Migraine Pain. Christopher Robbins / Getty Images

Oftentimes, headaches and migraines are misused interchangeably. Headaches come in two categories, primary and secondary. A migraine is a form of a primary headache. It is classified as a headache that is recurring and commonly localized to one side of the head. Along with migraines, primary headaches also include tension headaches, one of its most popular forms, and cluster headaches. While cluster headaches involve pain behind the eye along with sinus symptoms, tension headaches are milder and involve dull pressure.

In comparison to primary headaches, secondary headaches are more serious. This is because they are associated with other health issues present, that are often not addressed. Examples of such health conditions include brain tumors or inflammatory diseases. Because these health conditions exist, the treatment of secondary headaches is often dependent on the treatment of the primary health condition itself.

When you’re in severe pain, telling things apart can already be difficult. To understand the difference between a migraine and a secondary headache, you really have to take into consideration the other symptoms that accompany the pain. Migraine headaches involve a throbbing sensation localized to one portion of your head, accompanied with nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to the environment. Secondary headaches, on the other hand, are often associated with neurological symptoms.

Within the category of migraines, there are subcategories that allow for further classification of your pain.

There exist common migraines and classic migraines. The primary difference between the two is that the common migraine is without aura and the classic migraine is with aura. Auras are defined to be symptoms that affect your senses, with vision being a common example. Visual symptoms typically involve seeing abnormal things such as flashes or floating spots.

Other symptoms that affect your other senses include numbness in your hands or a ringing sensation in your ears. Without the auras, the common migraine is usually merely accompanied by fatigue and nausea.

There exist many forms of migraines. Menstrual migraines are another category that are a result of changes in estrogen levels during one’s menstrual cycle. Abdominal migraines on the other hand involve nausea and pain in the abdomen. Ocular migraines involve loss or decrease in vision for short period of time, even when unaccompanied by a headache. Though less popular, other forms of migraines also include basilar artery migraines and ophthalmoplegic migraine.

There exist two forms of migraines. Chronic migraines, migraines that are constant, and episodic migraines, migraines that occur intermittently. Often times, episodic migraines can progress and become chronic migraines. This progression is sometimes due to medication overuse. By doing this, your medication no longer is effective and your headache only worsens and becomes more frequent. In order to recede out of this effect, you need to seek the attention of a doctor immediately.

There are multiple methods to treat migraines. With the use of acute treatment, drugs or medication can be used to relieve symptoms as they occur.

Preventive treatment involves the usage of daily medication in order to minimize the impact of the migraine and reduce its frequency. Complementary treatment on the other hand involves lifestyle change or lifestyle supplements such as meditation or diet monitoring.

Since medication does not necessarily help everyone manage their migraines, doctors encourage exercise as a form of treatment. This may be hard for some patients to understand because they are worried about aggravating their migraine via strenuous exercise. However, exercise can actually improve their quality of life. But it is important to remember to do low-impact activity, minimize activities that involve running on a flat surface, understand your body’s limits, and drink plenty of water.

If you’re dealing with migraines, remember to consult your doctor prior to making any drastic changes in your lifestyle.


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