Can a Tension Headache Turn Into a Migraine?

A mixed tension migraine is a type of headache that has characteristics of both tension headache and migraine headache. It is more common in women than in men. Pain-producing inflammatory substances that surround blood vessels and nerves in the brain are thought to be the cause of migraines. Tension headaches, on the other hand, are usually caused by stress, worry, or tiredness.

They cause the muscles of the scalp, neck, and jaw to tighten, resulting in pain. Unlike some forms of migraine, tension headaches are not usually associated with visual disturbances, nausea, or vomiting. An increased sensitivity to light or sound can occur with a tension headache, but this symptom is not common. It may sound strange, but it is possible to have another headache besides a migraine at the same time.

This combination of tension and migraine headaches is now identified as migraine and coexisting tension headaches. Some of the patients with this condition will describe a history of daily headaches that are occasionally more severe or associated with nausea and vomiting, similar to migraine. If you have a headache 15 or more days each month for a period of 3 months, you may have chronic tension headaches. This type of headache can cause stress and depression, which in turn can lead to more headaches.

Symptoms may begin in childhood, but are more likely to occur during middle age. Tension headaches can be treated with aspirin or other over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers. Caffeine can also help eliminate pain faster. However, try not to use them more than 9 days a month, or two doses per headache.

Talk to your doctor if you still have pain after taking these medicines. Detecting and avoiding things or triggers that cause tension headaches can reduce how often headaches occur and how severe they occur when you have them. If over-the-counter medicines don't stop your headaches well enough or if you have a lot of headaches, your doctor may prescribe medicines to prevent headaches. Botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) is sometimes injected into the muscles of the face and head to treat headaches. No matter what type of headache you're facing, the main concern right now is where to find relief that works, preferably something that addresses the root cause of migraines and tension headaches to help reduce the frequency or even eliminate the condition. Write down when you have a headache and how bad it is, along with details such as what you ate and what you were doing before the headache started. If tension headaches are life-altering or if you need to take medicine for headaches more than twice a week, see your doctor.

Patients whose headaches do not respond to treatment in the primary care setting may require referral to a headache specialist for comprehensive treatment.

Debora Lehneis
Debora Lehneis

Award-winning food advocate. Subtly charming bacon practitioner. Alcohol enthusiast. Proud travel aficionado. Incurable twitter scholar.

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