According to the National Headache Foundation* The fewer than half of all migraine sufferers receive a diagnosis. Here's how to tell the difference between a migraine and other headaches.
Migraine if... You experience pulsing or throbbing pain, usually on one side of your head. The pain may intensify during physical exertion. You may also lose your appetite, feel nauseated, vomit or become sensitive to light, sounds odor or touch. Attacks can last anywhere from four to 72 hours - sometimes longer. The pain may prevent you from going to work or school and from spending time with family and friends. (Women are three times more likely to have migraines than men.)
Tension Headache if... You feel a band - or vice - like sensation in your head or neck. The dull, aching pain usually takes hold in your forehead, temples or the back of your head and/or neck. Both sides of your head will be affected. The possible cause? Muscle tightening in the back of your neck or scalp.
Sinus Headache if... You experience sinus related pain and tenderness, as well as a deep, dull ache that can worsen with head movements. There may also be nasal discharge, ear fullness and facial swelling. You'll probably have a fever. An X-ray or cat scan will indicate sinus blockage. Keep in mind, many people who think they are suffering from a recurrent sinus headache actually have a migraine. So unless your experiencing the symptoms described, suspect a migraine.
Cluster Headache if... You feel an intense burning or piecing sensation, especially on one side of your head. The pain may be localized behind one of your eyes, and may radiate to your forehead, temple , nose, cheek or upper gum. The eyelid on the eyelid on the affected side may become swollen or droop; the nostril may become congested; and you may experience facial flushing and excessive sweating. The pain generally only lasts 30-45 minutes, but headaches may strike frequently for several weeks or months.
*The NHF (National Headache Foundation) aims to raise the awareness of headache; support; research; and to educate the public about it. For more information and to learn about Migraine Awareness Month, visit www.headaches.org