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Brent McNutt

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Most people may not realize this, but there is more to a normal headache than meets the eye. In order to provide proper medication, we need to understand the basic difference between normal headaches and migraines. Generally, the difference is based on the specific part of the body causing it and the situation that brought about the condition. Normal headaches include tension headaches, sinus headaches and cluster headaches. Migraine is a totally different disease.

Normal Headaches

Normal headaches can generally be cured by targeting its specific cause. Tension headache, for example, may be caused by pain in the neck and shoulders area and tension around the head. A quick massage or simple relaxation techniques will help remove the headache.

Sinusitis headaches on the other hand results from the inflammation of the mucous membranes in the sinus. This affects the forehead, the cheeks, and the nasal area. This type of headache can be treated by taking in medications that target the inflamed area.

Cluster headaches are rare and can be very painful. The pain originates behind the eye and can be characterized by watery eyes and nose. It can last anywhere from 5 minutes to a few hours.


To date, there is no established study indicating the definite cause of migraine. Approximately 30 million people all over the world, mostly women, are suffering from the said disease. Migraine is believed to be triggered by a dysfunction on the nerves and can be triggered by a person’s lifestyle and eating habits, especially alcohol. Some doctors recommend the avoidance of citrus, nuts, and chocolates; however, the ability of these foods to cause migraine is yet to be established. It may also be affected by someone’s genetic makeup and may run in the family.

Migraine can have a different effect from one person to another, but some symptoms are common to everyone who has migraine. One way to tell if you are having a migraine attack is that the headache is only concentrated on one side of the head. The pain is minor but it gradually worsens to a point where the person’s ability to do normal functions is utterly affected. Some patients also report experiencing nausea, vomiting, and difficulty in facing light.

Another symptom that is common to people suffering from migraine happens before the headache and is known as an aura. They may also experience numbness, yawning, speech difficulties, and a drowsy feeling prior to the dreaded headache. Regular headache medicines will not help anyone who is suffering from a migraine attack, so it is very important tell which is which prior to administering medication so that complications can be avoided.

There are two ways to attack migraine: preventive and abortive. The preventive method focuses on stopping an attack and includes medications such as Propanolol, Timolol and Inderal. The abortive method, on the other hand, involves the use of anti-inflammatory medications that aim to minimize future attacks.

There is no cure for migraine. Once a person suffers from a migraine attack, there is no way of making sure that this will not happen again. However, with the help of a medical practitioner, once can identify what needs to be done in order to minimize the risk of future attacks and in order to be prepared at all times when the disease decides to attack.

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Brent McNutt enjoys networking with healthcare professionals online. He also likes talking about Landau Scrubs and Landau Shoes and also likes writing articles about various topics.
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MLA Style Citation:
McNutt, Brent "How to Tell the Difference Between a Migraine and a Normal Headache." How to Tell the Difference Between a Migraine and a Normal Headache. 19 Aug. 2011 19 Jul. 2018 <>.
APA Style Citation:
McNutt, Brent (2011, August 19). How to Tell the Difference Between a Migraine and a Normal Headache. Retrieved July 19, 2018, from
Chicago Style Citation:
McNutt, Brent "How to Tell the Difference Between a Migraine and a Normal Headache." How to Tell the Difference Between a Migraine and a Normal Headache
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