Home Health Telling The Difference Between Migraines and Headaches

Telling The Difference Between Migraines and Headaches


Headaches are categorized as unpleasant pains in your head that cause pressure and aching. Pain can range from mild to severe, usually occurring on both sides of the head. Some specific areas where these can occur include the forehead, temples, and the back of the neck. A headache may last from 30 minutes to a whole week. Tension headaches The most common type of headache is a tension headache, with triggers including stress, muscle strain, and anxiety.

Cluster Headaches

These are severely painful headaches that occur on one side of the head in clusters with cycles of attacks.

Sinus Headaches

Often confused with a migraine, these headaches usually co-occur with sinus infection symptoms like fever, a stuffy nose, congestion, and facial pressure.

Chiari Headaches

This headache is caused by a birth defect, Chiari malformation, causing the skull to push against parts of the brain and causing pain in the back of the head.

Thunderclap Headaches

This headache is a very severe type that develops in under 60 seconds. It might be a symptom of a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a serious medical condition requiring immediate medical attention.


Migraines are intense headaches often with other symptoms in addition to just head pain. Symptoms include:

– Pain behind one eye or ear

– Pain in the temples

– Seeing spots 

– Sensitivity to light or sound

– Temporary vision loss

– Vomiting

Compared with other headache types, migraine pain can be moderate to severe. Some people may experience pain so severe that they seek care at an emergency room. These headaches will usually affect only one side of the head. A migraine will cause intense throbbing pain that can make performing daily tasks very hard.

Migraines are usually divided into two categories: 

– Migraine with aura 

– Migraine without aura

An ‘aura’ refers to symptoms experienced 10-30 minutes before a migraine, including:

– Having trouble thinking

– Seeing flashing lights 

– Feeling tingling or numbness 

– An unusual sense of smell, taste, or touch

Migraine Triggers

People who experience migraines regularly report various factors that are associated with the pain. These are called migraine triggers and may include:

– Emotional anxiety

– Contraceptives

– Alcohol

– Hormonal changes

– Menopause

Comments are closed.