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A tension headaches which becomes debilitating may be referred to as a tension migraine. They are very intense, rather than typical, non-migraine tension headaches, which produce mild or moderate discomfort.

They are very painful and sufferers may not be able to function normally while they are happening. A headache of this type may also be called a mixed tension migraine.

As you can see, these are unique and we’re here to talk in greater depth about what they are and how to treat them. Our advice isn’t intended to be a substitute for medical care. Talking to your doctor will always be the smartest way to access treatment options which are just right for you.

Is It Really a Tension Migraine?

There are differences between tension headaches and migraines. It’s important to examine these differences in order to get a more accurate sense of which type of a headache you are experiencing. If you are suffering from mild to moderate pain, you may have a tension headache, rather than a bona fide migraine. Pain will probably wrap around your head in a thin band of sensitivity.

Both are often triggered by the same factors, which are stress and/or fatigue. With tension headaches, movements of the neck and head tend to be the trigger. With migraines, hunger and smells tend to be stronger triggers.

When symptoms and causes overlap, a tension migraine may develop. This is considered a migraine with tension headache factors. This type of a headache may also be called a “mixed headache”. However, some doctors don’t like this term and don’t use it. Milder ones are often called stress headaches, even though they are actually migraines.

It’s all rather complex and confusing. There is some debate about whether they are real. Some doctors think that these are separate conditions while others believe that they do exist.

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Different Types of Headaches

Headaches exist on a spectrum. There are many types of headaches and migraines are the most intense, debilitating and painful. If you have a severe headache and you moved your head and neck a lot before you got it, it is possible that you have a mixed tension migraine.

If you feel a vice-like discomfort which occurs around your head, where a hat-band would rest, you definitely have symptoms of a tension headache. Signals also include nausea and sensitivity to light. A hallmark is that it has features of both tension headaches and migraines.

Those who don’t believe in them may consider your headache to be a more severe tension headache or a milder migraine.

Mixed headaches are clearly a bit complicated and examining your symptoms carefully will help you to self-diagnose. A doctor may also help. Some people keep headache diaries in order to take them to their doctors.

It’s a sad fact that many people who get these mixed-types of headaches/migraines get them a lot. Some suffer daily headaches. This is why finding an effective treatment is so important.


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Anti-depressant drugs are sometimes prescribed in order to treat these headaches. They offer mood-stabilizing properties while also having analgesic properties. Anti-epileptic medications are also treatment options. As you can see, all of these drugs, while used for other reasons, are also successful in treating this kind of pain.

Wholistic and Natural Remedies

On the other hand, some patients access natural remedies for headaches, which can include using aromatherapy oils for massage, footbaths and even drinking various kinds of teas, such as gingerroot and chamomile.

If you’re interested in reading more about natural and holistic ways to help with a tension migraine, visit this list of practitioners and links.

Taking supplements can also be an effective way to treat this kind of pain. Suggestions include magnesium and Vitamin B supplements, but once again, you should always confirm what you need with a health professional, to make sure that this is the best course of action for you.


We’ve talked a lot about the different elements that make up a tension migraine. While you can definitely do some research and investigate some easy DIY options for treating discomfort, if your pain is severe you will eventually need to seek out medical attention.

In fact, seeing a doctor is the best way to get a personalized solutions plan that you need to help get you on your way to less pain. It’s not easy to deal with this kind of discomfort, especially if it happens often. However, getting the right advice is key to being able to improve your wellbeing, and not have to suffer.

While there might be some debate about the exact definition of this kind of pain, you’ll want to get some kind of treatment plan, either way!

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