Most of us have heard of migraines before; however, people often associate migraines as being equivalent to headaches. While they do have similarities, migraines and headaches are actually quite different. Migraines are not only a much more severe type of headache, but also often come with a host of other symptoms that can significantly affect one’s daily functioning.
To put it into perspective, most of us can say we have had a headache at some point in our lives, but not everyone has experienced a full-blown migraine. So, what are the differences?
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines headache as the following: “A pain in the head”. In contrast, the APA defines migraine headaches as: “A headache that is recurrent, usually severe, usually limited to one side of the head, and likely to be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and photophobia. Migraine headaches may be preceded by an aura of flickering or flashing light, blacking out of part of the visual field, or illusions of colors or patterns.”
In addition, while headaches are usually short-lived with pain often being the only symptom, migraines actually fall under the category of a neurological disorder and migraine attacks can last days, weeks, and sometimes months at a time.
Further, as The American Migraine Foundation points out, some of the debilitating symptoms that can come with migraine include:
· Severe head pain that often feels extreme and unbearable
· Pain in one or more areas of the head
· Throbbing, pounding, or pulsating sensations that coincide with the pain
· Sensitivity to light, sound, scents
· Migraine with aura can also include distorted vision or seeing flashes of light
· Difficulty speaking
· Difficulty concentrating
· Numbness or tingling
Symptoms of migraines vary from person to person. They can also depend on the phase of the migraine, as some symptoms may come on early or later in a migraine episode. Migraines can begin without warning, but often people are able to tell based on certain symptoms that a migraine might be coming on. The American Migraine Foundation breaks down the different phases, causes, symptoms, and treatments of migraine as well.
Due to the debilitating nature of the symptoms commonly associated with migraines and the fact that it can often interfere with one’s daily activities, it can lead a person to feel anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed. At Suburban Research Associates, we are dedicated to participating in migraine studies because we understand how debilitating they can be and the toll they can take on one’s mental and physical health.
If you or someone you know is struggling with migraines, visit the resources below, or contact us if you might be interested in participating in a migraine study.
References & Resources
American Psychological Association: https://www.apa.org/
American Migraine Foundation: https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/what-is-migraine/