Introduction – Texas Migraine Clinic
When patients experience an unbearable headache that becomes common over time, it is known as a migraine. Sensitivity towards light can be a symptom associated with this throbbing pain that typically arises from one side of the head. The pain can be radiating, throbbing or dull, and may last from hours to days. It can also lead to nausea and vomiting.
What Type of Headache Do You Have?
When it comes to properly diagnosing your headaches, there are a couple different common options to choose from and all of them have different symptomology. More often than not, your headache will fall into one of the these main categories:
Cluster headaches: These are often times incredibly painful and debilitating. They typically occur only on one side of the head, behind the eye and in the same place every time. Lasting about 30-90 minutes, they can occur anywhere from 1-3 times per day. During an attack, your eyelid may droop, while light and sound sensitivity can be common side effects. The pain is often constant and steady and can feel like something hot is poking you right through the eye.
Treatment for cluster headaches consists of pain medications and supportive care. This includes oxygen therapy, calcium channel blockers, steroid injections, pain medication specific to cluster headaches and nerve pain medication.
Migraine headaches: When it comes to migraines, 60% are usually on one side of the head, with the ability to shift sides at any time. The other 40% are on both sides of the head. The symptom is a severe, throbbing pain that often results in nausea, light, sound and smell sensitivity and even something called an aura, which involves muscle weakness, zig-zag vision lines or flashes of light that occur right before or during the migraine.
- Changes in neurotransmitters of the brain
- Flashing light
- Blaring sound
- Profound smell
- Stress or hormonal changes
- Blind spots with numbness
- Throbbing or drilling headache.
Prodome is a phase that occurs typically 24 hours before the migraine headache actually begins and this can result in food cravings, frequent urination, uncontrollable yawning, fluid retention or unexplained mood swings.
Tension headaches: Usually moderate to mild, tension headaches often appear as a steady, dull ache in a band-like formation across the forehead (think wearing a hat that’s too tight). They can be frequent or infrequent and usually are not bad enough to impair normal daily functioning. Over-the-counter medication will typically work just fine for these.