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I’ve been having a lot of headaches lately, should I worry about them?
Headaches are very common and occur usually during stressful situations. Typical tension headaches are worse as the day goes on, worse when we try to rest at the end of the day, and more frequent as the stress increases. They are usually on both sides of the head, often starting in the back of head or neck, and usually get better with Tylenol, heating pads, and after resting for awhile. Warning signs of potentially more severe headaches including severe pain, nausea/vomiting, light sensitivity, pain that wakes you up in the morning, visual problems, dizziness or weakness. If your headaches are accompanied by those things or other concerning symptoms, you should see your family doctor.
How can I tell whether my headaches are migraines or tension type and is there a difference in treatment?
Tension headaches are usually located over the entire head, feel like a band and are often associated with tense neck muscles. Migraine headaches are more likely to be located on one side, more severe and throbbing, and associated with nausea and vomiting plus sensitivity to light and sound. They often have aura (warning signs) such as mood changes and visual disruptions. Medications to help prevent migraines are plentiful and more likely to be successful than those for tension headaches. Early use of triptans during the mild phase of migraine is usually helpful. Rescue pain medication ranging from aspirin to narcotics are frequently necessary.