Headache pain is a very common problem worldwide, affecting people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Almost 70% of Americans report getting pain from headache, and at least 12% of them experience migraine pain. The tension-type headache is probably the most common type, often followed by migraines and cluster headaches. Sleep problems, stress, dehydration, and other medical conditions can contribute to headaches. Despite being different, there is some overlap. We look at the similarities between migraines and tension-type headaches.
What is a migraine?
Migraine is one of the major health issues of our time. It is one of the most severe types of headache pain, a neurological illness that is unlike the typical mild headache you get quite often. People with migraine experience intense pain, followed by a range of other symptoms including sensitivity to noise, light or smell, nausea, inability to concentrate, among others. Migraine headaches may cause you to go to bed, turn off the lights, and avoid any kind of noise. You may also experience fatigue and diarrhea.
Migraines are often very painful and are believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, though the exact causes are still unknown. A migraine attack can be triggered by a variety of factors, including stress, hormonal changes, certain foods or drinks, changes in sleep patterns, and sensory stimuli. Migraines can last for several hours or days and can significantly impact your daily activities.
What is a tension headache?
One of the main causes of a tension-type headache (TTH) is stress. Tension headaches are the most common types of headache that often cause mild to moderate pain around the head, face or neck. Tension-type headache is a kind of dull, aching pain around the head that feels like a tight pressure. Depending upon the severity, tension headaches can last from 30 minutes to several hours, and in some cases, may last for days.
Tension-type headache is a featureless headache in which the head pain is to some degree the only symptom, which makes it difficult to diagnose. For the same reason, its diagnosis with other primary or secondary headache types may be misleading. Tension headaches are commonly caused by stress, anxiety, a lack of sleep, poor posture, and muscle tension in the neck and shoulders. Treatments include over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Similarities between Migraines and Tension Headaches
– Both migraines and tension-type headaches (TTH) are the common types of headaches affecting people of all ages, genders, and race. Both types of headaches can cause moderate to severe pain in the head and neck region, with the pain usually felt on both sides of the head. The symptoms are typically accompanied by pressure across the forehead or sensation of tightness. Tension headaches, however, are dull pain that can feel like a clamp squeezing your skull.
Duration of pain
– Episodic tension headaches last from 30 minutes to several hours, and in some cases, may last for days, probably weeks. Similarly, migraines can last for several hours or days and can significantly impact your daily activities. Migraines may last longer and can be accompanied by other symptoms including fatigue, nausea and sensitivity to noise and light.
– While tension and stress are among the most common triggers for both migraines and tension headaches, there are several factors that contribute to the conditions, such as sleep habits, poor diet, alcohol use, excessive smoking, eye strain, overexertion, and more. Migraines, however, can be caused by a broader range of factors, such as hormonal changes, specific foods or drinks, and changes in weather or altitude.
– In many cases, some over-the-counter pain relievers or antidepressants such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can work well to treat both migraine and tension-type headache, if a prescription is needed. Massage can also relieve muscle tension, and sometimes headache pain. Non-medication remedies may include relaxation techniques, acupuncture and massage therapy. They can be very effective against both migraines and TTH.
Can you have a migraine and a tension headache at the same time?
You can have both a migraine and a tension headache at the same time. This condition is referred to as a mixed headache, and is more difficult to treat than either type of headache alone.
What has similar symptoms to a migraine?
Sinus headaches and cluster headaches exhibit symptoms similar to that of a migraine, such as severe pain, sensitivity to light and noise, etc.
What is the difference tension headache and migraine?
Tension-type headaches are characterized by a dull, aching pain that feels like pressure around the head, whereas migraines are characterized by a more severe, throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head.
How do you know if it’s a migraine or headache?
If you experience mild to moderate pain across your forehead or feel pressure on either side of the head, it is likely a tension headache. If you experience severe pain and throbbing on either one or both sides of the head, it is probably a migraine.
What causes migraine and tension headaches?
While tension and stress are among the most common triggers for both migraines and tension headaches, there are several factors that contribute to the conditions, such as sleep habits, poor diet, alcohol use, excessive smoking, eye strain, and overexertion.
Are tension headaches serious?
Tension headaches are typically harmless and can be easily treated with over-the-counter pain relievers or antidepressants. Some home remedies and self-care techniques can also be practiced.
How do you get rid of tension headaches and migraines?
In most cases, some over-the-counter pain relievers or antidepressants such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be enough to treat both migraine and tension-type headache. You can also practice some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.