Have you ever wondered why your headache just won’t go away? It could be because you’re not treating it correctly. There are several types of headaches, which we often confuse with one another. Each is marked by different symptoms and characteristics. In order to properly treat a headache, you must be able to identify which type of headache you’re experiencing.
More than 29.5 million Americans suffer from migraines, with women being affected three times more often than men. One of the reasons women are affected more by migraines is because hormone changes serve as a migraine trigger. Many women experience migraines before or during their menstrual cycle.
The ID Migraine Questionnaire, developed by Dr. Richard Lipton, is a simple three question test used to determine if you’re suffering from migraines or another type of headache. According to his research, if two of the three criteria are present, a migraine is likely 93 percent of the time, and if all three are present a migraine diagnosis is 98 percent likely.
Migraines are often misdiagnosed as sinus headaches since they have similar symptoms. According to the American Headache Society Committee on Headache Education, 90 percent of the time a self-diagnosed sinus headache is a migraine. Less than half of all migraine sufferers have received a diagnosis of migraine from their health care provider. If you have headaches that continuously interfere with your daily life and that don’t respond to over-the-counter medicines, you may be suffering from migraines. Visit your health care professional to get the proper treatment.
Migraine sufferers vary in their sensitivity to specific foods, and triggers to foods may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 72 hours to develop, making them often very difficult to pinpoint, says the National Headache Foundation. Experts recommend keeping a daily journal of food intake and activity can help pinpoint specific triggers. By doing this you may be able to determine a pattern and prevent future migraines. This can be time consuming, but is helpful to both you and your health care professional when determining the right course of treatment for you.
The second strategy is preventing and coping with your headaches through lifestyle change. Several triggers are out of your control including the weather, travel and odors such as cigarette smoke, but many common triggers can be controlled by adapting certain habits. Long Beach Medical Center encourages you to focus on the common triggers, such as, sleep, diet, exercise, hydration and stress management.
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