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  • November 4, 2014 12:35 AM PST

    One of the occupational hazards of being a physician Jamie Benn White Jersey , moreover, one who is trained in internal medicine and neurology, is the dinner table. This is the traditional “non-doctor place” where we physicians are hit-up by guests for medical advice. I am often asked by family, and friends, “What is a migraine headache, and are my headaches migraines?” This is sometimes difficult to answer when brought up as dinner conversation. Why? Because many things can cause headaches, from brain tumors to lack of sleep, any condition can present with severe to mild headaches. Besides, this subject gets so deep, unless you’re postured for a long conversation, you don’t dare get started, because it gets long, and many questions come up. So, this is the discussion which usually ensues, and it always gets interesting.


    Barring serious conditions such as brain tumors, severe head and neck pathology Jamie Benn Green Jersey , trauma, eye and vision disorders, serious metabolic conditions and infectious diseases, this article is meant to discuss non-pathogenically and non traumatic induced headaches, moreover, the difference between muscle tension headaches and migraines.


    Generally, the lay person thinks of a migraine as a very severe headache. So, when they get a “bad” headache, they usually refer to it as a “migraine”, but this is not the case at all. There are many types of benign headaches which are severe enough to ruin one’s day or even their week. The classification of headaches, and more importantly, migraines, has been written and rewritten by doctors for centuries. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the specialty of neurology was born and a way to evaluate headaches scientifically was put into place. Interestingly, even during the 20th century, the classification of the different types of migraines has changed substantially. For the sake of this article, we will differentiate between 2 common benign headaches Jamie Benn Womens Jersey , those which are muscle tension induced and those which we in medicine refer to as migraine type. Keep in mind that there is no purity in these classifications, and that most headaches are mixed.


    We live in a fast paced society. We run around dehydrated, drinking coffee, stare at LCD screens whether tiny or large, and on top of that, process more information in a day than our great grandparents did in their lifetime. That’s right! No wonder we run around stressed out. Most of us manifest our stress physically, so we either get upset stomachs, aching necks, or we get headaches, and for some, all three. In America, particularly, two types of headaches are generally seen in this regard, muscle tension types, and vascular migraine types. Here’s “the quick and dirty” on both.


    Muscle tension headaches tend to come on as the day progresses, while the stressors one is dealing with are ongoing and building. So by the end of the day Jamie Benn Authentic Jersey , your headache progressively worsens, your neck and scalp muscles increase their tone and now you have a full blown “knocker” at the end of the day. Migraines on the other hand are vascular in nature, are brought on by chemical changes reacting to stress loads and dietary triggers. You generally awaken with the headache as they come on after the stress is gone. You guessed it, the following day, after the stressful event or events are over, you’re in pain. It is the classic euphoric phase of “the general alarm reaction to stress”. So you wake up with a “banger” which is hugely painful and stays with you all day. This is also why a migrainer (pronounced, “mi-gren-urr”) tends to have his headache on Saturday mornings, or say, the day after that big speech he had been preparing for weeks.


    Muscle tension headaches, also known as “tension” headaches or “contraction” headaches are direct results of increased tone and muscular irritation in the back, shoulders, neck, and scalp. As a result, they usually respond to anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin; massage; muscle relaxants; or just laying down for a while. Migraines are more brittle. Since they involve vascular changes in the coverings of the brain, anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxation are usually ineffective treatments; moreover, they can even make a headache worse. Increased blood vessel caliber is generally the problem and needs to be controlled and re-set. This is why caffeine Jamie Benn Jerseys , decongestants, and other vasoconstricting agents help.


    A test I have many patients, as well as friends and family try, is the “Beer Test”. It’s not one hundred percent, but if you want to know if that headache you’ve had all day is a migraine or tension headache, when you get home, drink a beer. If the headache goes away, it’s a tension headache, if it gets worse, it’s a migraine.


    So, tension headaches are a direct result of stress insult, like someone turning up the volume on your neck muscles throughout the day. This type of headache is obviously exacerbated by posture, compensatory changes after an injury, arthritis, chronic musculoskeletal conditions, and of course stress load Jamie Benn Jersey , and the amount of rest a person gets.


    Migrainers suffer as they do because the headache waits, then sneaks up on them when they’re resting. The other important thing to remember is that in all these headache types, physical examination, metabolic workups, and imaging, are always negative for “lesion” or organic pathology. What I’m saying is that, “migraine”, is a diagnosis of exclusion.


    Let’s discuss this phenomenon we call migraines. “Migraine” is a very old term derived from the Greek, meaning “semi-cranium” or “half skull”. Yes, generally a migraine headache is usually, but not always, unilateral, affecting one side of The two S