Difference between migraine and headache

Read on to know the exact difference between migraine and headache. It can be challenging to know when you have a typical headache or a migraine when you have pressure or pain in the brain.

pradeep vundavalli Created on 25th May, 21

It can be challenging to know when you have a typical headache or a migraine when you have pressure or pain in the brain. It's important to distinguish a migraine headache from a regular headache and vice versa. 

It can result in quicker relief as a result of improved treatments. It can also help to control headaches from happening in the future. So, how do you distinguish between a regular headache and a migraine? 


Learn from Dr. Pradeep Vundavalli of Asian ENT hospital.


So, let us understand headache first:

Headaches are pains in your head that cause discomfort. The pain can be moderate to extreme, and it usually affects all sides of your head. The duration of a headache will range from 30 minutes to a week. 


A headache due to stress is the most common form of headache. This form of headache occurs due to fatigue, muscle pressure, and anxiety.


Now let us learn about different types of headache: 

1 . Headaches in clusters

It is a very intense headache that arises in clusters on one side of your head. 


2. Headaches caused by the sinuses

It is often mistaken for migraines, which arise in conjunction with sinus infection signs such as 

  • fever
  • cough
  • stuffy nose
  • congestion
  • facial pain

3. Headaches caused by Chiari

It is caused by a congenital disability called a Chiari malformation, in which the skull pushes into areas of the brain. It causes pain in the back of the head.


4. Headaches that sound like thunderclaps

This type of headache is a severe headache that occurs in less than 60 seconds. It may be a sign of a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a potentially fatal medical condition that necessitates immediate medical attention.


Aneurysms, strokes, and other injuries may also affect it. If you have a headache like this, you must visit the Asian ENT hospital in Mysore for treatment. 


Now let us understand migraine. 


What exactly is a migraine?

These headaches are intense or extreme, and they often occur with symptoms other than head pain. A migraine headache can cause the following symptoms:

  • catching spots or flickering lights 
  • nausea 
  • pain behind each eye or ear
  • pain in the temples
  • temporary vision problem due to exposure to light and/or sound
  • tendency of vomiting

Migraine pain can range from mild to extreme as compared to other headache forms. Any patients may have such bad headaches that they need to go to the emergency department. Migraine headaches usually only strike one side of the head at a time. 


However, a migraine headache that affects both sides of your head can also happen. Such variations include the intensity of the pain. A migraine headache causes unbearable discomfort and can throb, making it impossible to carry out everyday activities.


Migraine headaches are usually classified into two types: 

aura migraines and without aura migraines. A person's "aura" refers to the hallucinations they experience before they have a migraine. The symptoms usually appear 10 to 30 minutes before the migraine. This may involve the following:

  • having difficulty concentrating 
  • getting less emotionally alert
  • noticing odd lines or blinking lights
  • giving an odd sense of scent, taste, or touch sensation 
  • tingling or numbness in the face or hands

Now let us see what treatment options are available: 


Headaches and their treatment

Many anxiety headaches can be relieved with over-the-counter medications. Since most headaches are caused by stress, taking measures to alleviate stress will help ease discomfort and lower the risk of potential headaches. You can go for 

  • a massage
  • meditation
  • neck stretching 
  • relaxing exercises 
  • heat treatment, such as using hot compresses or taking a hot shower.


Migraine treatment

Migraine headaches are also better treated by avoiding them. Preventive measures that your doctor recommends include:


Make dietary modifications, such as avoiding foods and drugs that are believed to induce headaches, such as alcohol and caffeine.


Take stress-reduction measures. People who suffer from migraines less regularly can benefit from drugs known to relieve migraine pain quickly. So, you can ask your ENT specialist for the best stress-reduction measures.


If an individual takes headache and migraine medications for more than ten days in a month, rebound headaches can occur. This practice will induce headaches rather than controlling them.