Definition & Difference - Headache v/s Migraine

All of us experience a throbbing and uncomfortable pain in our heads at some point and wonder if it is a common headache or a migraine? The generic term we use to describe the uncomfortable pain in our heads is Headache.

+ What is a Headache?

The term Headache encompasses a wide range of pains or disorders associated with head and nervous system conditions that result in pain. Headache is an uncomfortable pain in your head resulting in pressure, throbbing, and aching. The pain can be severe or mild and can occur in one side or both sides of the head, temples, forehead, and back of the neck. Headaches can last from a few minutes to a week depending on their cause and severity. A Headache is not the same as a Migraine.

+ What is a Migraine?

A Migraine is a chronic condition which is a type of primary Headache. that is extremely painful and has more intense and debilitating symptoms than a common Headache.Migraine pain is more severe than common Headaches and reduces your ability to go through your day normally and significantly impacts the quality of life and functional ability of the person. Correct diagnosis of the type of Headaches and their cause is very important and necessary for effective treatment.

+ What are the Different Types of Headaches?

The Different Types of Headaches are:1. Tension HeadachesTension Headaches are the most common Headaches found across the world. They feel like a tight band of pressure around your head. They can be episodic or chronic depending on the frequency of their occurrence. Tension Headaches can be caused by hunger, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, arthritis, poor posture, stress, etc.2. Cluster HeadachesSevere pain on one side head or behind the eye are Cluster Headaches. These Headaches occur at the same time daily for weeks, hence the name cluster.3. Sinus HeadachesSinus Headaches happen with a sinus infection and have other symptoms such as fever, cough, stuffy nose, congestion and facial pressure.4. Chiari Headaches- These are caused due to Chiari malformation, a birth defect causing the skull to push some parts of the brain.5. Thunderclap HeadachesThis is a quick Headache mostly a symptom of subarachnoid hemorrhage and requires immediate medical attention.

+ What are the Different Types of Migraines?

There are different Migraine Types such as

  1. Migraine with Aura
  2. Migraine without Aura
  3. Abdominal Migraine
  4. Hemiplegic Migraine

+ Causes

Headaches and Migraines can be caused by many factors and medical issues. Most common Headache causes and Migraine causes are- stress, depression, emotional anxiety, hormonal changes, menopause, inadequate sleep, sinus, dehydration, hunger, exposure to chemicals, allergies, mensuration, birth control pills, overuse of medicines, caffeine overdose, caffeine underdoes, exertion, physical activity, etc. So there can be any Headache reasons from any health issue to any other environmental condition which disturbs your nervous system.

+ Symptoms

Apart from throbbing pain in the head, there are several other Headache symptoms and Migraine symptoms. They are pain behind the eye, watery eyes, red eyes, sweating, congestion, restlessness, heart rate change, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light & sound, swollen eyelids, unexplained mood changes, food cravings, frequent yawning, neck stiffness, constipation or diarrhoea, flashing lights infront of eyes, blurred vision, slurred speech, difficulty in writing, exhaustion, abdominal pain, vertigo, etc.

+ Diagnosis

Like any other illness, in the case of Headaches and Migraines a proper and timely diagnosis is the key to effective treatment. Most people take Headaches lightly; therefore don’t go for timely treatment, resulting in aggravating the illness. For the doctor to prescribe an effective treatment, he/she should know the patient’s medical history, family history and symptoms. Accurate diagnosis is a challenge for the doctors as the individuals often fail to notice the not-so-serious symptoms.

+ Treatment

There is no permanent cure for Headaches and Migraines. However, with certain medication along with lifestyle changes have proved beneficial in Headache treatment and Migraine treatment. Several people also find few OTC (Over-the-counter) medicines and pain relievers beneficial in controlling their Headaches and mild Migraines. Moderate to severe Migraines don’t respond to OTC medicines, they require proper diagnosis by a doctor. Lifestyle changes also work well for prevention of Headaches and Migraines.


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