Is Your Headache Worse Than Normal? Nutrition therapist Hannah Braye reveals 7 differences between migraine symptoms and normal headaches
Most of us will have some type of headache at some point in our lives, and it can come in many different forms.
The most common are tension-type headaches, which are thought to affect up to 78 percent of the general population.
Migraines are less common, but still affect around 15 percent (1 in 7) of people
Migraines are less common, but still affect about 15 percent (1 in 7) of people and can be incredibly debilitating.
It is important to recognize the differences between the two so that the most appropriate treatment can be sought.
# 1 severity of pain
Although no headache is comfortable, the pain in migraineurs is generally much more severe than that of an average tension-type headache.
Sufferers often have to stop their activities and rest in a dark room. In very severe cases, an emergency doctor can even be consulted.
The type of pain experienced also tends to differ, with migraines being described as throbbing or pulsating pain, while tension headaches are more of a constant, steady, dull pain in the head.
# 2 localization of pain
Another distinguishing feature is the localization of the pain. Typically, migraines experience unilateral pain (on one side of the head), while tension headaches usually start in the back of the head or in the forehead and spread to the entire head.
# 3 Other symptoms
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between migraines and other headaches is that migraine sufferers often have symptoms other than the headache.
For example, many migraineurs also suffer from nausea, vomiting, digestive problems and sensitivity to light, noise, movement and smell with seizures.
# 4 phases
Headaches are actually just one stage of the migraines. Many people also experience prodrome up to 24 hours before an attack.
This includes symptoms such as sensitivity, irritability, cravings, or difficulty concentrating, which are warning signs that a migraine is coming.
About ten to 30 percent of migraineurs also experience an aura
About ten to 30 percent of migraineurs also experience an aura (a range of neurological symptoms that can include visual disturbances, numbness, tingling or weakness, speech impairment, and memory impairment) just before a migraine headache.
The phenomenon is unique to migraines and will not occur by those who have other types of headache. After the migraine headache comes the postdrome phase, in which those affected often report feelings of exhaustion, exhaustion or depression.
Those who suffer from tension headaches do not usually experience such disparate phases.
# 5 pathogenesis
Tension-type headaches and migraines have a different pathogenesis (type of development). Migraines involve activation of the trigeminal nerve (an important pathway to pain in the brain).
This is believed to lead to the release of vasodilators, which trigger pain responses and an inflammatory cascade of events.
Tension headaches, on the other hand, are usually caused by tension in the muscles of the face, neck or scalp, which leads to pinching of the nerve or its blood supply, which leads to a feeling of pain or pressure.
# 6 trigger
Tension-type headaches are often the result of stress, poor posture, dehydration, or drug reactions. While stress and medication can also trigger migraines in some, sufferers tend to have a wider range of triggers, which can vary from individual to individual.
For example, certain smells, temperature fluctuations, lack of sleep, skipping meals, certain foods, alcohol or caffeine.
Interestingly, it is believed that magnesium deficiency could contribute to both migraines and headaches, and in women, hormonal fluctuations can also play a role in both types of headache.
# 7 Involvement of the gut
Recent research on migraines has shown that gut health can play a key role in the development of migraines, and that dietary supplements containing live bacteria can be beneficial in the condition.
The hyperpermeability of the intestine (“leaky gut”), which is caused by low levels of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, is a driver of inflammation throughout the body.
Today it is assumed that inflammatory molecules originating from the intestine sensitize pain receptors on the trigeminal nerve and thus trigger the inflammatory cascade that leads to migraines.
14 strains of live bacteria in Organic cult Migréa, taken daily, could significantly reduce the severity and frequency of migraines
In a recent clinical study, the 14 live bacterial strains were found in Organic cult Migréa, taken daily, could significantly reduce the severity and frequency of migraines in just eight to ten weeks.
We are only just discovering the important role the gut microbiota plays in many aspects of health, so the possibility exists that the gut may play a role in other types of headache. However, the best evidence of this right now is migraines.
Bio-Kult Migréa (available at Amazon in the US and United Kingdom) is a multifunctional live bacterial dietary supplement containing 14 different strains plus magnesium and vitamin B6, both of which contribute to the normal functioning of the nervous system and reduce tiredness and fatigue.
Vitamin B6 also helps regulate hormonal activity.
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