Headache vs. Migraine

African american woman at home with hand on head for pain in head because stress. Suffering migraine.

Do you ever feel pain or pressure in your head? While this type of ache is often temporary, it can sometimes persist and in­terfere with your daily activities. Here’s how to tell the difference bet­ween a headache and a migraine.

Headache
Also known as a tension head­ache, this type of discomfort is typically linked with stress, fatigue, anxiety or the use of certain medications. If you have a headache, you’ll feel pressure on both sides of your head and possibly around your temples, neck and eyes. The pain will come on gradually and can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
To ease the pain of a headache, it’s usually sufficient to get some rest and take an analgesic recommended by your pharmacist.

Migraine
About a 10th of the population is affected by migraines, which usually last between four hours and a few days. Depending on the person, migraines can oc­cur a few times a year or several ti­mes a week. They’re characterized by moderate to severe pain, usually felt as a throbbing or pounding sensation around the skull.

If you get a migraine, it may set in on one side before spreading to your whole head. In some ca­ses, it’ll be preceded by symptoms such as visual disturban­ces, a feeling of weakness and trouble speaking. Additionally, migrai­nes can cause nausea and vomiting as well as hypersensitivity to light, sounds and smells.
Taking the appropriate medication at the first sign of a migraine can greatly limit the severity of the attack.
If you have frequent and persistent headaches or migraines, be sure to consult your doctor.