A headache is uncomfortable, as it can turn something easy into something rather difficult to do. But if you experience frequent headaches that are accompanied by other symptoms as well, you might be suffering from chronic migraines. Knowing how to make the difference between a simple headache and a migraine can be hard, as they are both painful and can turn a regular day into a nightmare of a day.
Because migraines can be debilitating, diagnosing them properly and addressing them with correct pain management therapies can drastically improve your life. Here are some signs your headaches might actually be migraines.
1. You experience auras before the migraine
According to Dr. Reyfman, specialist in pain management, auras appear right before the onset of a migraine. An aura can be a light flash, spark, bright dots or colorful streaks you see right before your head becomes painful. Many people who suffer from chronic pain consider auras to be the warning signs of a migraine and they are sometimes accompanied by additional strange symptoms, such as tingles in certain body parts.
2. Your pain is triggered by specific things
Migraines are triggered by specific things, which can range from a simple change in your diet to a change in your medication or hormone level. Migraines are also genetic, so if your relatives suffer from chronic pain, your risk of developing migraines is higher. The triggers are very personal, so one person’s migraine can be triggered by a smell or a change in the amount of sleep they have, while another person’s migraine can be triggered by eating a specific food.
3. Your headache is accompanied by additional symptoms
A migraine is accompanied by hypersensitivity to light, sounds and smells. This is what makes a migraine different from a random headache. Another common symptom is the presence of nausea. During a migraine you might feel the need to stay in darkness and silence, which is why migraines can be debilitating, forcing you to stay in bed.
4. Your family has a history of migraines
As mentioned earlier, migraines are genetic, so if someone in your family suffered from this condition, you might also inherit it. If your headaches are suspicious, make sure to ask your relatives if they were diagnosed with chronic migraines.
5. The intensity and length also matter
A headache is characterized by light to mild pain and usually lasts a couple of hours or a day. A migraine can last between two to three days and its intensity ranges between mild to severe. If you notice your headache is severe and lasts more than one day, it might be a migraine. Headaches usually feel like you have an elastic band around your head and are characterized by a dull pain, while migraines are localized in one part of the head.
As each person is different, your migraines can be different, so if you suspect you might be suffering from chronic pain, you should check with a doctor who can diagnose your condition and advise on how to treat it.