People who wish to know the difference between common headache and migraine can now heave a sigh of relief, as researchers from P.D Hinduja Hospital, India, have not only provided clues but also disclosed how patients can get the right treatment on time.
According to the lead researcher, Dr Raashi Khatri Panjabi, migraines impact millions of men, women and children globally, but fewer than five percent of those affected have been accurately diagnosed and received appropriate care.
“Headache can be quite troublesome which can affect your day to day functioning. There are several types of headaches. One of the types of headache is migraine. But many don’t know the difference between typical headache and migraine.
“The intensity of the pain, area affected, symptoms and duration may vary according to the type. Understanding the difference between the two can help you get the right treatment on time,” Panjabi said.
Another researcher, neurologist Wade Cooper, said, while migraine is a severe form of headache which usually affects one side of the head, a typical headache can range from mild to severe and affects both sides of the head.
He further said in migraine, one may experience nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, noting that one may experience these symptoms in headache as well but the intensity of the pain varies.
Dr Panjabi explained, “Not every headache is a migraine. Migraines are neurovascular conditions marked by periodic intense painful throbbing on one or both sides of the head, often accompanied by visual changes (blurred vision, tunnel vision, etc.), nausea and vomiting.
“Usually, people take painkillers for headaches, all that you are doing is subduing or numbing the symptom of pain but not addressing the root cause. The key to treating any headache condition is correct diagnosis.
The findings, published in Penn Medicine, and reported on NDTV affirmed that migraines are however curable (contrary to being a life sentence as previously believed) by the use of preventive and abortive migraine therapy along with lifestyle changes.
“It all begins with the correct diagnosis. Many patients suffer from other forms of headaches (tension-type headaches, frontal sinusitis, cervical myofascial headaches, jaw muscle myalgia, etc.) which have almost identical symptoms as a migraine but totally different treatment” Cooper said.
“The majority of patients who think they suffer from migraines for many years with very limited long term relief are often found to be suffering from the above conditions. So, here right diagnosis plays a significant role. Therefore, one should seek medical help if experiencing headaches quite often with other symptoms,” added Dr Panjabi.