February 21, 2024

What is the difference between migraine and other headaches?

When we talk about headaches, we often mean tension headaches, which affect 30% of the population. When we talk about migraines, we mean a characteristic pulsating headache.

Tension headaches come in many forms. A mild episode may be a short period of mild discomfort. A more severe episode may be a whole week of pain. What they have in common is a pressing or tightening sensation on both sides of the head.

Tension headaches do not worsen with movement or light physical activity, and nausea or vomiting is not common. If you experience these, it could be migraine. To distinguish a migraine attack from other headaches, you can look for the following characteristic symptoms.

  • During a migraine, you have pulsating pain on one side of the head.
  • The pain is moderate to severe.
  • You may be sensitive to sound and light and need to lie down.
  • You may feel nauseous and vomit.

Not all symptoms are always present, but if it is a migraine attack, you will always experience some of the symptoms above. If you have migraine with aura, aura symptoms before the headache are a good indication that it is migraine. Sometimes aura occurs without headache.