Are you suffering a Headache or a Migraine?

June is headache and Migraine awareness month and the team and Melbourne Headache + Migraine Group and Williamstown Health + Lifestyle are keen to explore the key differences between these two debilitating conditions.

Headache affects over 7 million Australians, with Migraine closely behind on 4 million. Despite their prevalence they are poorly understood and often poorly managed

You’d be forgiven for having a headache during Melbourne’s fourth round of debilitating lock downs, however it’s important to be able to differentiate the key differences in order to determine the best approach to care.

The pain associated with a migraine is often more intense.

Patients often report that the pain of migraine is moderate to severe and is often greater than a 7/10 on a pain scale.

Migraine sufferer’s often need to cease activity and seek the refuge of a dark room

Headache on the other hand can be mild to moderate with a patient pain scale of between 3 – 6/10. Patients are often able to continue activities of daily living.

The quality of the head pain differs

Migraine pain is often reported as throbbing, pulsating or pounding in nature. An important differential to headache is that migraine is generally experienced on one side of the head at a time and may swap during attacks.

Headaches on the other hand can have a variety of presentations, however are most commonly experienced as a dull ache, pressure or tightening around the head.

Migraine often has associated symptoms

Many migraine suffers will report that they know when a migraine is approaching as they have telltale signs that precede an attack. Migraines are a neurological event that can often cause suffers to experience an aura even before the head pain starts. This can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, vertigo/dizziness, sensitivity to light/smell/sound and even numbness in face or arms.

Whilst it’s not uncommon for headache suffers to experience nausea and sensitivity to light, its uncommon to experience the other symptoms.

Despite these key differences there are still many misunderstandings between these two causes of head pain. This confusion can often lead to misdiagnosis and poor management, which can lead to further anxiety for suffers.

It’s important to have your head pain assessed by a health professional that is able to identify these key differences and provide a treatment approach that is specific to your condition.

Osteopaths Sharyn, Cliff and Tim have learnt an evidence based approach for assessment and treatment of headache and migraine known as the Watson Headache Approach.

Book your initial appointment with us here or request a FREE 15 min phone consult if you’d like more info.