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Are My Headaches Actually Migraines?

Are My Headaches Actually Migraines?

Like most people, you probably think of a headache as just a headache. However, there are different types of headaches, and some can be quite serious.  

One of the most severe types of headaches is a migraine. Migraines can be debilitating and, in some cases, lead to a chronic migraine condition. 

If you’re not sure if you have a migraine, it’s important to learn the differences between headaches and migraines so you can get the right treatment. Consulting a knowledgeable physician is critical for a proper diagnosis.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at both common headaches and migraines, explore their similarities and differences, and help you discern whether or not you may have a chronic migraine condition.

What Exactly Are Headaches?

The term “headache” is used to describe a wide range of pain that occurs in the head or neck. 

Headaches can be caused by many different things, including stress, tension, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, allergies, and even dehydration. 

There are several different types of headaches, including tension headaches, sinus headaches, rebound headaches, and migraines.

Let’s take a closer look at these common types of headaches and their symptoms:

Tension headaches: Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. They are usually caused by stress, tension, or muscle strain. Tension headaches are characterized by a dull, aching pain that is usually felt in the forehead, temples, or back of the neck. 

Cluster headaches: Cluster headaches are a type of headache that is relatively rare but very painful. They are usually described as a sharp, burning pain that is located around one eye.

Sinus headaches: Sinus headaches are caused by inflammation or infection of the sinuses. They are characterized by a throbbing pain that is usually located in the sinuses, over the eyes, or on the forehead. 

Rebound headaches: Rebound headaches are caused by the overuse of pain medications. Rebound headaches a characterized by throbbing or pulsing pain and are usually worse in the morning.  

Treatment for Common Headaches

If you are experiencing a headache, the best thing to do is try to identify the cause and treat it accordingly. In many cases, home remedies or over-the-counter medications can provide relief. 

Some of the most common treatments for common headaches include:

  • Taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Applying a cold compress to the forehead
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Drinking fluids
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol

If these measures don’t provide relief, your doctor may prescribe stronger medications or other treatments. 

For example, if you have a sinus headache, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or decongestants. If you have a rebound headache, your doctor may prescribe alternative pain medication or recommend discontinuing over-the-counter medications.

Next, we’ll take a closer look at migraines and how they differ from common headaches.

What Exactly Are Migraines?

Migraines are a type of headache that is characterized by severe pain, throbbing, and pulsing. They can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. 

Migraines can be caused by many different things, including stress, dietary triggers, hormonal changes, weather changes, and even exposure to bright lights or loud noises. 

Types of Migraines

There are several different types of migraines, including:

Migraine with aura: This type of migraine is characterized by a visual disturbance called an aura. An aura is a set of symptoms, such as flashes of light or zigzag lines that occur before the migraine begins. 

Migraine without aura: This is the most common type of migraine, affecting at least 70%-90% of migraine sufferers. It is characterized by severe pain and other symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. 

Basilar artery migraine: This migraine is caused by a problem with the basilar artery, a major artery in the brain. It is characterized by various symptoms, including vertigo, double vision, and difficulty speaking. 

Hemiplegic migraine: This type of migraine is caused by a problem with the blood vessels in the brain. It is characterized by muscle weakness on one side of the body. 

Ocular migraine: This type of migraine is characterized by visual disturbances, such as flashing lights or spots. 

What Causes a Chronic Migraine Condition?

It is not always clear what causes a chronic migraine condition. However, it is believed that several factors may contribute to the development of migraines, including:

Genetics: Some people may be more likely to develop migraines due to their genetics.

Hormonal changes: Many women experience migraines around the time of their menstrual period. 

Stress: Stress can trigger migraines in some people. 

Dietary triggers: Certain foods, such as chocolate, nuts, and aged cheese, can trigger migraines in some people. 

Environmental triggers: Weather changes, bright lights, and loud noises can all trigger migraines in some people. 

How Is a Chronic Migraine Condition Treated?

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for chronic migraines. However, several treatments may be effective for some people. These treatments include:

Medications: Some people may need to take medications regularly to prevent migraines. Medications can include over-the-counter pain medications, prescription pain medications, and preventive medications.

Botox: Botox is a medication injected into the head and neck muscles. It is used to prevent headaches in some people. 

Ketamine therapy: Ketamine therapy is a revolutionary new treatment option showing promising results for people with chronic migraines. Ketamine therapy is a type of medication that is administered intravenously. It works by blocking the nerve signals responsible for pain via the brain’s NMDA receptor. 

Find Relief for Your Migraines at Advanced Wellness and Pain

If you are struggling with migraines, don’t suffer in silence. Advanced Wellness and Pain can help!

Our team of expert providers is dedicated to helping you find relief from your pain. We offer a variety of treatment options, including ketamine therapy, that can help you get your life back on track. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you!

[Contact Advanced Wellness and Pain Today]

James T. Leathem, DO

Dr. James Leathem is a board-certified anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He was born and raised in Connecticut and graduated from Florida Southern College with a bachelor of science in marketing management with minors in sociology and communications. He obtained his medical degree from Midwestern University’s Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency in anesthesiology at Michigan State University and its affiliated McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital.

In 2015, after residency, Dr. Leathem returned to Arizona to practice anesthesiology. He joined Red Mountain Anesthesiologists and worked primarily at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa, performing 100% of his own cases. He was made partner in the group after demonstrating 3 years of anesthesia excellence and administering over 4,000 anesthetics. In 2019, a corporate change occurred and an opportunity presented itself in which he was able to transition out of the hospital to surgery center and clinic-based anesthesia.

Dr. Leathem realizes that the only constant in life is change. In 2020, amidst the global pandemic, his career took a different direction. This change led him to collaborate with Dr. Wong and Dr. Sharma and they founded Advanced Wellness and Pain (AWAP). Their mission is to provide a variety of state-of-the-art procedural services that improve patients’ quality of life and overall physical and mental well-being.

Dr. Leathem believes that we are all a work in progress and that each day, one should strive to make positive changes in their life. He is here to help empower each patient on their journey to be their best self and live their best life. When you are being cared for by Dr. Leathem, you can be assured that he will give you his undivided attention and time.

Gregory Wong, MD

Dr. Wong is a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of both the American Society of Anesthesiology and the Arizona Society of Anesthesiology. He did his undergraduate training at the University of California at Davis, Davis, California; doctorate training at The University of Health Sciences of the Chicago Medical School, North Chicago, IL; and his post-doctoral training at the Integrated Program at the University of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ. He has spent his whole 24-year career practicing in Arizona.

Dr. Wong grew up in the Bay Area of California. He is married and is raising three daughters. At the early age of 12 years old, he knew he wanted to become a physician. His love of the human spirit, intrigue of human physiology, and compassion for human suffering led him to the path of anesthesiology and pain medicine.

Today, Dr. Wong realizes patients need a holistic biophysical-mental-spiritual care. This philosophy has brought him to the studies of regenerative medicine and infusion therapies. He has firsthandily witnessed the overwhelming success of these therapies for treating chronic pain and depression and the return of patients of “life-functionality.”

“There has never been a time more important than now to advocate for our patients in these difficult times. We owe it to our patients to offer these state-of-the-art treatment modalities that weren’t available before.”

Deepak Sharma, MD, MBA

Dr. Sharma is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He completed three degrees at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA: a Bachelor in Finance, a Master in Business Administration, and a Doctor of Medicine. He went on to complete residency at the Mount Sinai Morningside-West Hospital System in New York, NY and post-graduate fellowship at Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA.

Dr. Sharma is committed to treating his patients as a whole with a comprehensive biophysical-mental-spiritual approach. He is a lifelong learner and is constantly researching cutting-edge therapies backed by scientific studies. He has taken a particular interest in regenerative and infusion therapies after witnessing firsthand their significant benefits on those suffering from chronic pain and depression. In his free time, Dr. Sharma enjoys spending time with his family and friends, hiking, traveling, reading, and meditation.

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