Making a DiagnosisIn order to diagnose migraines, your healthcare provider will ask a number of questions about the headache, such as how often you have headaches or where the pain is. He or she will also ask about other symptoms that you may experience. Your healthcare provider will also perform a physical exam, looking for signs of conditions known to cause headaches. If your healthcare provider is unsure of the diagnosis, he or she may also order tests to rule out other more serious causes of headaches.
Treatment OptionsThere are many different treatment options. They will vary based on the frequency, severity, and disabling qualities of your headaches. Some people with mild, infrequent migraine headaches may do fine with over-the-counter medications. Other people may need more powerful medicines to treat moderate-to-severe attacks. Finally, others may have migraines so frequently that preventive treatment is recommended.
In general, your healthcare provider may recommend one or more treatment options, including:
- Lifestyle changes
- Medications (see Migraine Medications)
- Alternative treatments.
Tension Headache Versus MigraineWhile migraine headaches affect millions of people, they are still less common than tension headaches. Tension headaches cause a more steady pain over the entire head rather than throbbing pain in just one spot.
Most of the time, migraine attacks happen occasionally. However, tension headaches can occur as often as every day. While fatigue and stress can bring on both types of headache, migraines can be triggered by certain foods, changes in the body's hormone levels, and even changes in the weather.
There are also differences in how these two types of headaches respond to treatment with medicines. While some over-the-counter drugs used to treat tension headaches sometimes help migraine headaches, the drugs used to treat migraine attacks do not work for tension headaches.