A hottie experiences a headache

Migraines vs. Headaches: What's the Difference?

We’ve all experienced the dull, constant pain of a headache. If we're lucky, though, a couple of Advil will take care of the unpleasant ache and we can go on with our day. However, some people experience a more severe and debilitating type of headache: the dreaded migraine.

While they share some similarities, migraines are noticeably different from a common headache. Being able to recognize which type you're experiencing is important in treating it correctly and relieving pain. Here is an overview explaining how to tell headaches and migraines apart.

What is a headache?

Pain associated with a headache tends to be dull or mild. A tightness or pressure may be felt in the front, sides, or back of the head and neck. The duration of a headache can last anywhere from 30 minutes to one week, but it is usually not accompanied with other physical or sensory symptoms.

Common headaches, like the tension headache, can be easily self-treated with over-the-counter medication and by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

What is a migraine?

Pain associated with migraines is typically severe and may feel pulsing or throbbing. Unlike a common headache, migraines can cause serious symptoms. Some of the most common include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or noise. You may also experience pain behind the eyes and in the temples, vertigo, blurred vision, and seeing spots or flashing lights.

Some migraine suffers experience early indicators of a migraine prior to the attack. They may begin to feel less alert, have a change in vision or smell, and experience tingling or numbness. 

Last Updated: February 28, 2017