Doctor's Search


May 26, 2020

What makes a headache a Migraine?

Almost everyone gets headaches. You might feel throbbing in the front of your head during a cold or bout with the flu, for example. Or you might feel pain in your temples or at the back of your head from a tension headache after a busy day. Most regular headaches produce a dull pain around the front, top, and sides of your head, almost like someone stretched a rubber band around it.

A migraine is different. Doctors define it as a recurrent headache that has additional symptoms. The pain is often throbbing and on one or both sides of the head. People with migraines often feel dizzy or sick to their stomachs. They may be sensitive to light, noise, or smells. Migraine can occur any time of the day, though it often starts in the morning. The pain can last a few hours or up to one or two days.

Some common migraine triggers are:

* stress
* menstruation
* skipping meals
* too much caffeine
* certain foods (alcohol, cheese, pizza, chocolate, ice cream, fatty or fried food, lunch meats, hot dogs,
yogurt, or anything with MSG, a seasoning used in Asian foods)
* sudden changes in sleep patterns
* changes in hormone levels
* smoking
* weather changes
* travel

When should I seek help for my headaches?

Nearly half of the people who have migraine do not get diagnosed and treated. Belize Medical Associates suggests you come and talk to your doctor about your headaches if:

* you have several headaches per month and each lasts for several hours or days
* your headaches disrupt your home, work, or school life
* you have nausea, vomiting, vision, or other sensory problems