Migraine vs Headache: How to Tell the Difference

There’s nothing more annoying than getting a headache. A headache can interrupt your focus and cause you tons of discomfort and pain. If you suffer from headaches, you’re not alone, they’re the most common disorder of the nervous system

However, if your headaches have left you debilitated and unable to function, you might be wondering if you suffer from migraines. Migraines are commonly talked about, but they’re elusive. When someone’s suffering from a migraine, they’re in extreme pain but the injury is impossible to see. 

It’s important to compare migraine vs headacheto make sure that you know what you’re up against to get proper treatment.

This article will walk you through some migraine symptoms, so you can finally answer the question — do I have a migraine?

Migraine vs Headache

Comparing Migraine vs Headache

The biggest thing to understand in the migraine vs headache question is that a migraine is a type of headacheA migraine is considered a primary headache disorder and describes a certain type of intense, recurrent, life-long headache. 

Let’s look more into this issue:

What Is a Headache 

A headache is any pain that occurs in your head. Due to the nature of the head and the brain, they generally consist of sensations of pain, pressure, and radiation. 

Sometimes headaches are a primary conditionThis means that the main problem is the headache itself. A headache can have its own causes, such as stress. 

Sometimes headaches are, instead, secondary conditions. This is when a headache is caused as a result of another condition. The headache can be caused by a neck injury (which can cause the muscles to pull on nerves in the head), illness, sleep deprivation, withdrawal, medication overuse, infection, or stress. 

Today, we want to look at headaches as primary conditions, as these are the types that unpredictably recur. 

Understand Tension Headaches 

It’s important to understand tension headaches since they affect 42 percent of the population. Tension headaches generally feel like a band of tightness around the head. 

Tension headaches can be caused by muscle strain, stress, or anxiety. Generally, if your headaches recur when you are feeling more anxious or stressed, and they feel like tension pressing on you, you probably suffer from tension headaches. 

Tensions headaches generally focused on specific parts of the head. If your headache zooms in on your scalp or forehead, you’re probably suffering from a tension headache. 

Tension headaches are generally described as being dull. Dull doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t painful however, they mean that the pain is less obvious and pointed. 

Thankfully, however, tension headaches generally improve after one takes over-the-counter pain medication. It also doesn’t get worse in the face of an increase in light. 

Understand Migraines 

A migraine is a type of primary headache disorder that causes severe sharp pain that radiates quickly. It’s important to remember that head pain isn’t the only symptom of migraines. 

People who suffer from migraines generally experience them in phases and have them across short periods of time. Migraines are a repetitive experience similar to a chronic illness or disability. 

Before the main of a migraine starts, there are some warnings. Before anything is felt at all, someone might experience a sensitivity to the light, food cravings, neck stiffness, and a change in mood. 

Right before the headache starts, one starts to experience an aura. The aura can be visual or physical. One might experience lights and spots in their vision, and difficulty working or thinking clearly; they’ll also generally start to feel a sensation in the head that eventually escalates into a full-blown headache. 

After this, the headache sets in. As described earlier, these headaches are generally sharp and light-sensitive. A migraine is more likely to cause pain on a specific side of the head, and though that pain might radiate, it won’t create that headband sensation key to tension headaches. 

It’s not just light sensitivity that affects people in this phase, however. Exposure to certain smells or sounds might make the pain worse as well. If you’ve found yourself locked up without outside contact during your headache attacks, you might just have a migraine. 

Unfortunately, the experience isn’t always over after the headache subsides. One might feel confused, exhausted, and sick after the headache ends. If the headache happens at night, the person very well might not feel 100 percent the next day. 

Migraines Can Get Bad

While any headache can cause a lot of pain, migraines can get particularlybad, Sometimes people suffering from migraine deal with nausea, numbness, vision problems, and difficulty moving parts of their body. If you suffer from these symptoms along with your migraine, it’s time to go to see a doctor to see what they can do. 

What to Do About Migraines 

Migraines are generally harder to deal with than tension headaches, since taking over-the-counter pain medication and self-managing stress does not always work. 

This is why it’s important to look into the world of migraine medication and treatment. Migraines are serious conditions that can impact someone’s quality of life. If you suffer from migraines, you need to find yourself a good plan to deal with them, otherwise, they could throw off your work-life balance and influence your plans. 

We recommend tracking your symptoms and looking into a medical company/provider that specializes in/dedicates themselves to the treatment of migraines. 

Treat Your Migraines Today 

If you’ve weighed migraine vs headache and realized that what you suffer from is migraines, it’s time to get yourself some treatment. Migraines aren’t as easily treatable as headaches, are harder to understand, and last much longer. 

Find yourself a great migraine medication and provider that’s willing to work with your particular situation. 

For more information, start with us today for free. 


Our Team: We are Here to Help

It’s hard to find your triggers. It’s hard to find the right medication combination that really helps you get better. We want to help. We are a small, dedicated app development team with an app that helps you better understand your migraines and triggers. Everyone on the team has lived with migraines at some point in their lives. We are your community. Reach out any time with questions. We love questions. [email protected].

Track Your Triggers

Get the Migraine Insight Tracker – iOS App Store