Friday, March 17, 2023

Difference Between Migraines And Headaches

Must read

Differences And Similarities Between Treatments Of Migraine Vs Headache

Migraines Vs. Headaches

Treatment of migraines often focus on reversing the inflammatory changes of the blood vessels thought to be the source of the migraine pain.

Triptans are a class of drugs effective at helping reduce inflammation and decrease the swelling of the inflamed vessel, which tends to lead to decreased head pain in a relatively short time. Many of these medications also can reduce the associated nausea, light-, and sound – sensitivity that occur with migraines. Examples of triptans include sumatriptan , eletriptan , zolmitriptan , and rizatriptan . These drugs are available as a pill, nasal spray, or injection.

Botox. If you have chronic migraines , Botox® may help you to decrease the frequency and severity of your migraines. This treatment has not been shown to be of benefit in treating other types of frequent headache.Erenumab is a new class of drug called a calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonist approved in 2018 for the preventative treatment of migraine. It is a monthly injection used to prevent migraines.

The Four Stages Of A Migraine

Each stage is marked by different symptoms.

Stage of Migraine


1-2 days or even hours before

Constipation, depression, fluid retention, food cravings, increased urination, mood changes, repeated yawning, stiffness of the neck

Aura Phase

Before or during

Blurred vision, blind spots, bright spots or flashes of light, difficulty speaking, numbness in arms, pin-and needle-like sensations in arms or legs, seeing shapes, vision loss, weakness and/or numbness

Attack Phase


Nausea, pain on one or both sides of the head, sensitivity to light, sound, smell, and/or touch, throbbing or pulsing pain, vomiting

Postdromal Phase

Up to a day afterward

Confusion, elation in some cases, feeling drained or washed out, relief

Find Your Support System

MyMigraineTeam is the social network for people with migraine and their loved ones. On MyMigraineTeam, you can meet, exchange advice, and share your story with more than 65,000 people who understand life with migraine.

Do you experience other types of headaches with migraine? What made you suspect that your headaches might be something more? Let members know in the comments below, or start a conversation on MyMigraineTeam.

Also Check: Where To Get Botox For Migraines

Key Characteristics Of Migraines

Migraines can disrupt your everyday life

If you have a headache, you can often take ibuprofen or another form of pain relief medication and continue on with your day. You may feel some discomfort in your head, but you can manage to do daily tasks.

If you are experiencing a migraine, there’s a slim chance you can do your daily tasks. Migraines can be debilitating. The more severe symptoms like light sensitivity, and nausea may cause you to stay in bed for a couple of days.

Migraines can have a distinct pattern

A typical headache just comes and goes, but a migraine generally goes through four phases. In the beginning, you’ll likely experience nausea, irritability, light sensitivity, fatigue and muscle stiffness.

These symptoms may be followed by temporary vision loss, or you may see spots. Numbness and tingling are possible as well.

In the next phase, you can expect throbbing pain on one side of your head, vomiting, light sensitivity and neck pain. During the final phase before your migraine ends, you may feel foggy and irritable.

Migraines can happen consistently

Some people who get migraines get them once or twice a month, whereas more chronic migraine patients can experience 10 to 15 migraines a month.

It can be tough to determine what’s he normal frequency of headaches and migraines, so if you’re experiencing more headaches or migraines than usual, contact your doctor or visit Indigo Urgent Care to discuss what’s happening and whether you need to seek out a specialist.

How Are Headaches And Migraines Treated

Headaches Vs. Migraine: Differences Worth Knowing

Thankfully, despite headaches and migraines being different, they are treated in the exact same way. You can use over the counter pain medication such as aspirin and ibuprofen, or medications that can stop nausea, such as sumatriptan because you can buy sumatriptan online!

Additionally, if you know that your headaches and migraines are caused by things like a poor diet or stress, then you can clean up your diet or learn stress management techniques to deal with the headache. If you can diagnose the trigger for your headaches and migraines, then you can better prevent them from happening.

Don’t Miss: What Can Pregnant Women Take For Migraines

How Can I Tell If It Is A Migraine Or Another Type Of Headache

There is no test to diagnose a migraine headache, so the diagnosis usually is based on your history and symptoms for migraines or another type of headache, like cluster or tension headaches. The International Headache Society criteria for diagnosis of migraine headaches state that a patient must have at least five headache attacks that have lasted 4 to 72 hours, and that the headache must have had at least two of the following characteristics:

  • The pain is only on one side of the head .
  • It has a pulsating quality to it
  • It causes moderate to severe pain
  • It is aggravated by routine physical activity

In addition, the patient must have one of two criteria, either nausea and/or vomiting, or photophobia and phonophobia.

Finally, these symptoms listed here do not occur due to any other disorder or condition the patient may have.

When Is A Migraine Serious

The following headache symptoms mean you should get medical help right away: A sudden, new, severe headache that comes with: Weakness, dizziness, sudden loss of balance or falling, numbness or tingling, or can’t move your body. Trouble with speech, confusion, seizures, personality changes, or inappropriate behavior.

Also Check: Foods To Eat For Headaches

Causes Of Migraines Or Cluster Headaches

The cause of migraine appears to be linked to hormones, genetics or environmental factors, while the cause of cluster headaches is not fully understood. Research has linked cluster headaches to a nerve in the face that causes intense pressure around one of the eyes.

Triggers for migraines

Cluster headaches typically recur in certain seasons, so they are often mistaken for seasonal allergies.

The Differences Between Headaches And Migraines

Difference between Migraine Headache and Brain Tumors Headaches? | Brain Tumor Treatment

The International Headache Society classifies headaches into two groups: primary and secondary. Primary headaches are the problem themselves secondary headaches happen because of some other problem.

For example, a tension headache is a tension headache and isnt associated with anything else. A sinus headache, however, is caused by a sinus infection. A migraine is a primary headache, and migraine itself has two categories .

At Apex Medical Center, our providers understand the differences in migraine and other headache types, and can help you determine why your head hurts, as well as what kinds of treatments may help you the most. A great many people experience migraine and dont know it, which means they arent getting care that could bring relief.

You May Like: Best Essential Oils For Migraines

What Are Cluster Headaches

A cluster headache is an extreme form of pain that is often sharp or stabbing. These come on quickly with the pain on one-side, often be behind or around the eye, causing it to be bloodshot or watery. Cluster headaches are severe and may require a prescription medication or other treatment to find relief. Nasal congestion or a runny nose on the same side of the pain, and a sense of restlessness are also common with cluster headaches. A cluster headache lasts between 15 minutes to 3 hours and often occurs for several months then return. Alcohol will often trigger a headache during the headache cycle but will not trigger a headache in the headache-free cycle.

Migraines Vary With Age And Gender:

Before puberty occurs, migraines more frequently occur in boys rather than in girls. During puberty the prevalence increases in both males and females and peaks after the age of 30 . Attacks usually decrease in severity and frequency after age 40 years, except for women in peri-menopause. Onset of migraine after age 50 years is rare.

Don’t Miss: Migraine Pain In Ear And Jaw

How Can My Headache Be Managed

Many people who experience regular headaches will recognise some of the signs that a headache is about to come on. This might be the right time to take any medicines you have been prescribed by your doctor, or purchased over the counter. It may also help to try:

  • lying down in a dark, quiet room
  • sleeping
  • placing a cold or warm cloth on the back of your neck or on your forehead
  • taking a walk in fresh air

Your doctor or pharmacist can help you work out if you need medicine for your headache and the best time to take it.

Headaches: The Current Pathway

Save Yourself From Cluster Headaches

The neurological services in the UK are different from the rest of Europe, where all aspects of neurological care are provided by trained neurologists. For example, Holland has one neurologist for a population of 30,000 and in Italy one neurologist provides services to every 10,000 people. In comparison, a neurologist in the UK serves a population of between 117,000 and 200,000.2 Most of the acute neurological services are provided by interns or general physicians, particularly in small district general hospitals where the neurology in-reach is limited to a visiting neurologist from a neighbouring tertiary centre for a day or two per week . There has been an expansion of consultant posts since the mid-1990s without much increment in the trainee posts. As a result, recruiting to consultant neurologist posts has been extremely difficult over the last decade. The situation is unlikely to change and may even be worse considering the lack of additional funding to the National Health Service bodies.

The availability of modern technology, such as the internet and mobile communication, has made it easier for patients to obtain information about their condition, although it can be difficult for patients to interpret and with limited knowledge they are more likely to become worried about their diagnosis. Public education is therefore becoming increasingly important in setting directions for the future of the healthcare, and in appropriate utilisation of scarce resources.

Don’t Miss: Does Low Barometric Pressure Cause Headaches

How Can The Doctor Tell What Type Of Headache I Have

You can help your doctor to diagnose your headache type by keeping a headache diary in the weeks leading up to your appointment. Your diary should record the number of days you have a headache, how severe your headache is and any other symptoms associated with your headache, such as nausea. A headache diary can also help your doctor look for patterns and triggers, which can help with your treatment.

It is important that you let your doctor know how your headache affects your day-to-day life and the impact it has on your partner, children, employer, work colleagues and friends.

Migraines Vs Headaches: Whats The Difference

Weve all been there at one time or another: Throbbing pain between the temples and pressure behind the eyes so great that we have to take a time out and lie down. Its the all-too-familiar headache, right? Not so fast.

When there is pain and pressure in your head, it can be difficult to tell whether its a headache or a migraine.

When people think of a migraine, they typically think of the most severe headache. But headaches are only one symptom of a migraine and they can range in severity and length. Migraines are a chronic condition and typically the cause is unknown.

On the other hand, a headache is not usually a symptom of an underlying condition. Instead, headaches may be due to overactivity of blood vessels, muscles, nerves or brain chemicals. Factors that can lead to headaches include stress, anxiety or depression, a physical injury or even changes in the weather.

So before you write off your pain as just another headache, make sure you understand the difference between headaches and migraines. Knowing their key differences could mean faster relief with a more targeted treatment and even prevention of future pain, in some cases.

Don’t Miss: How To Help With Sinus Headache

What Is The Burden Of Headaches

A headache is not only excruciating, but it also deprives a person of the ability to function normally. A migraine is the sixth most common cause of years lost due to disability. Headaches generally rank third among such causes. The main difference between migraines and headaches is the duration of the pain and, accordingly, when it is difficult for a person to function normally.

Headaches are a substantial burden for people in need, including sometimes significant personal suffering, reduced quality of life, and financial costs. Recurrent attacks of headaches and constant fear of anticipation of the next attack harm family, social life, and work. Long-term efforts to adjust to living with chronic headaches can also contribute to the development of other illnesses. For example, rates of depression among people with migraines or severe headaches are three times higher than those among healthy people.

What To Know Before You See The Doctor

The difference between a migraine and headaches

Some people think an occasional headache is nothing to worry about. But headaches can become a problem if:

  • You experience them frequently
  • They become severe
  • They are disrupting your everyday life

To help your doctor diagnose the source of your headaches, I find it useful when my patients keep track of how often theyre happening. This way, I can determine whether theres a pattern in triggers.

Seek immediate care for your headache if you experience:

  • A sudden, intense headache
  • Loss of consciousness or vision
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Pain for more than 72 hours with little to no relief

If youd like to speak with a Temple doctor about your headaches, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED today.

Recommended Reading: Blurry Vision In One Eye And Headache

Migraine Vs Headaches: Whats The Difference

When youre struck by a pounding, throbbing or searing pain or pressure in your head, face or back of the neck, the only thing you care about in that moment is finding relief. But because the best way to find relief can depend on whether youre experiencing a headache or a migraine, its important to know the difference, especially if you find yourself suffering frequently. The medicine or treatment that has the best chance at providing relief can be different for headache versus migraine and the causes are different as well. Some kinds of headaches also indicate a true medical emergency, so read on to learn more about the difference between migraine and headache.

Treatment Of Migraines And Headaches

For pain management, you need to see your doctor to determine the difference between migraines and headaches. Depending on what kind of headache you have, the doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Treatment of migraine consists of two directions of arresting an attack and conducting preventive therapy. It makes sense to use analgesics and antispasmodics at the beginning, before the onset of severe pain. But, as a rule, taking any pills is carried out already at the peak of pain, which is ineffective. Therefore, prevention is of greater importance in the process of fighting a migraine.

The attending physician prescribes therapy for headache elimination. The results of a complete diagnosis of the body will prompt an accurate diagnosis for selecting an effective method for eliminating severe headaches. So that the headache does not manifest itself so strongly in the patient, the symptoms are carefully studied, and only then an individual treatment is selected.

You May Like: How To Treat Severe Headache

When Should I See My Doctor

Headaches are common and most people will experience at least one in their lifetime. They are usually mild, but you should see your doctor if your headaches occur frequently and they prevent you from doing the things you can normally do. You should also go to see your doctor if you frequently take pain medicine for headaches.

In some cases, headaches can be a symptom of something more serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible:

  • thunderclap headache a severe headache that comes on suddenly
  • a headache that gets progressively worse over the course of several weeks
  • a morning headache with nausea that doesnt go away
  • a headache with fever, change in personality, neck stiffness, double vision, ringing in the ears, loss of balance or loss of sensation
  • a new headache for patients with cancer, immunodeficiency, or anyone with a family history of glaucoma
  • aura symptoms that last longer than an hour, include muscle weakness, are different than usual or occur for the first time when you take an oral contraceptive pill

In many of these cases, your family doctor may decide to refer you to a specialist.

Are The Causes Of Headache Vs Migraine The Same

Migraine Headaches: The Basics

Researchers have suggested that the cause of migraines has a strong genetic component since approximately 70% of people with this type of headache have a relative with the history of migraines. Some researchers suggest that migraines are related to or caused, or partially caused by blood flow changes in the brain.

Although some doctors suggest that tension in muscles cause other types of headaches, most now think that the specific cause of headaches is unknown, and likely due to several factors, for example:

  • Muscle tension in the scalp and/or neck
  • Infection and/or sinus congestion
  • Other undefined factors
  • Some headaches, for example, headaches caused by hormones, are likely related to changes in hormonal levels.

You May Like: Pressure Points To Relieve Migraines

Why Do We Misdiagnose Migraine As Sinus Headache

Research studies show common sinus symptoms occur with migraine. In one study, 45% of migraine patients had at least one symptom of either nasal congestion or watery eyes. Migraine is also underdiagnosed and undertreated, meaning that a self-diagnosis of migraine is less likely.

A study involving almost 3,000 patients was important in evaluating the frequent complaint of sinus headache. In this study, the participants had at least six sinus headaches in the six months prior to entrance into the study. They had neither a migraine diagnosis nor treatment with a migraine-specific medication. What were the results? Eighty-eight percent of the participants had migraine and not sinus headaches.

Another study, called the American Migraine Study II, showed that many people who were diagnosed with migraine thought they had sinus headache. Significantly, there were almost 30,000 study participantsonly about 50% who were diagnosed with migraine knew they had migraine before the study. The most common misdiagnosis was sinus headache.

More articles

Popular Articles