Migraine or headache? How to know if you have a migraine

A migraine is a bit different from a normal headache. They usually cause severe throbbing pains especially on one side of the head and are usually accompanied by other symptoms such as weakness, bright flashes, nausea and vomiting.  They can last for up to 72 hours if left untreated.

A headache on the other hand is caused by the contraction of muscles between the head and the neck and can be well described by the different types of headaches that we usually get.

Types of headaches

Sinuses headaches

This is a headache that feels like pressure around your forehead, eyes or the cheek area. They can occur after an infection or after a cold. Most people usually mistake a sinus headache for a migraine.

Tension headaches

This one of the most common kind of headache. They can affect both sides of your head.  They can feel like a dull ache at both sides of your head or at the back of your neck. If you’re always tensed or stressed you might get this kind of headaches very often.

Pregnancy Headaches

It is common especially during the first trimester and the third trimester. Pregnant women usually suffer from headaches due to stress and posture during pregnancy.

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Cluster headaches

This kind of headache is not very common. They are usually marked by very severe pain usually around the temple and eyes. They can usually occur at the same time each day.

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Common Triggers of both Migraines


  • You can get headaches from eating processed meat such as sausages, hot dogs, bacon etc. they usually contain nitrates which can trigger migraines.

  • Dairy products such as buttermilk, sour cream and cheese that has stayed a long time without being consumed. All these products can also trigger a migraine.

  • Fruits although are good for the body sometimes can help trigger migraines. Theses fruits include papayas, avocadoes, bananas.

  • Foods such as soy sauce and fermented food can also help trigger migraines.
  • Smoked fish, certain beans and nuts can trigger migraines.

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Other triggers include:-

  • Environmental factors like pollution I.e. Noise, Smoke pollution.
  • Smoking
  • Excessive heats
  • Strong Odors

Prevention Measures

Taking a shower- A cold shower might help cool things down especially if you’re suffering from a migraine.

Eat plenty of food- Low blood sugar is a common trigger to headaches. So to prevent getting headaches or migraines, it is advisable that you eat plenty of food to stay healthy. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Rest-Get plenty of rest to avoid being fatigued which is also another trigger for headaches.

Exercise- Having regular exercise can help relieve tensions and stress. Relieving tensions can help you avoid getting migraines.

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Get a massage-Getting a massage may help to relax your muscles and to ease tensions. This is a good technique that helps to calm your nerves.

Post Author: batuch