Headaches are a common ailment experienced by many people, and they can range from mild to severe. While most headaches are easily treatable, some can be more complex, indicating a more severe underlying condition. Migraines are one such type of headache that can be mistaken for a simple headache but require more specific treatment.

Doctors don't know what causes migraine headaches, but they appear to be linked to changes in your brain and genes. Migraine triggers such as fatigue, bright lights, or weather changes can even be passed down from your parents.

A migraine is thought to begin when overactive nerve cells send out signals that activate your trigeminal nerve, which provides sensation to your head and face. This signals your body to produce chemicals such as serotonin and calcitonin gene-related peptides (CGRP). CGRP causes blood vessels in the brain's lining to swell. Neurotransmitters then cause inflammation and pain.

Here are nine signs that your headache might actually be a migraine:

1. Pulsating or Throbbing Pain
Migraines often come with pulsating or throbbing pain on one side of the head, but they can also be on both sides. This pain can be moderate to severe and can last for hours or even days. The pain typically occurs during a migraine attack and can be accompanied by nausea and paleness.

2. Sensitivity to Light and Sound
Migraines can make you highly sensitive to light and sound, and these symptoms can make the pain feel even worse. As a result, you may find yourself seeking a quiet, dark place to lie down and rest.

3. Nausea and/or Vomiting
Nausea or vomiting is a common symptom of migraines. This is due to how migraines affect the digestive system, causing stomach upset and nausea. These symptoms can make it difficult to eat or drink anything and can lead to dehydration.

4. Aura
Some people with migraines experience an aura before the headache begins. An aura is a temporary disturbance in vision or other senses that can occur up to an hour before the headache starts. This can include visual disturbances such as flashing lights, blind spots, or limb-tingling sensations.

5. Dizziness or Vertigo
Migraines can also cause dizziness or vertigo, which is a sensation of spinning or movement when you are not actually moving. This can be a particularly distressing symptom and can make it challenging to carry out everyday activities.

6. Fatigue
Migraines can leave you exhausted and drained, even after the pain subsides. This can make it difficult to get back to your normal routine. While fatigue is a common symptom of migraines, it could also indicate other issues. Severe or chronic fatigue might be caused by chronic conditions such as autoimmune diseases, hepatitis, or even cancer. So, talking to a physician is essential if you experience presistent fatigue.

7. Vision Changes
Migraines can cause temporary changes in vision, such as blurred or double vision, or even temporary blindness in one eye.

8. Neck and Shoulder Tension
Many people with migraines also experience tension in their neck and shoulder muscles, making the pain even worse.

9. Triggers
Certain triggers can bring on a migraine attack. Common triggers include stress, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, certain foods, and changes in the weather. To avoid them, watch what you drink and eat, eat regularly, give up caffeine, get regular sleep, manage your stress, and be careful with exercise.

The Bottom Line
Chronic migraine, as well as high-frequency episodic migraine, can be incapacitating. And the more severe the pain intensity of each headache, the more incapacitating it can be. That is why it is critical to collaborate with your doctor on a migraine treatment plan.

Consult your doctor if your headache persists or worsens. If you have a headache with a stiff neck, fever, vomiting, numbness or weakness in the limbs, or difficulty speaking, see a doctor right away or go to the emergency room.

Author's Bio: 

I am Amelia Grant, journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.