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A headache is one of the maladies that has affected almost every human. Generally, when any pain is felt in the head it is generally called a headache. This pain usually arises as a result of a combination of factors, although the pain experienced during a headache is not very severe and does not interrupt one's daily activity, yet it is essential for one to understand these factors before looking for a cure. Understanding the root of a headache or a migraine can actually help one in preventing or curing them till a certain extent.


Migraines – A severe type of Headache

With reference to the Oxford medical dictionary: “A migraine is defined as a recurrent throbbing headache often with nausea and visual disturbance.”

A migraine is a type headache usually happens in one side of the head with or without the occurrence of symptoms before a headache, these symptoms are called (aura), these are “disturbance of vision, this may be a temporary loss of vision, vomiting, nausea and increase sensitivity to light.

A migraine typically includes other problems such as extreme sensitivity to light or sound (or both), blurry vision, nausea and general bodily discomfort. Though the exact cause of a Migraine is still not clear, but the general consensus is that they are triggered by chemical imbalances in the brain. However, there are series of other factors too which lead to migraine problems such as:-

  • Dietary, Hormonal or medicinal factors:- Irregular eating patterns, some citrus foods, chocolate and even some cheese have been noted to trigger migraine symptoms in some allergic people. Certain people experience a migraine when they are going through hormonal changes or when certain medicines react to their natural body processes.
  • Lifestyle or Environmental factors: – Watching television for a long duration, listening to loud music consistently especially with an earpiece, change of weather or place, etc can lead to severe migraine problems.


5 Major Differences between Headache and Migraine


  • Location of the Pain

A headache commonly feels like a tight band being wrapped around the head while migraines are more commonly felt on just one side of the head. However, migraine can also affect both sides of the head, so the location is not enough to tell the difference. Also, cluster headache is also a debilitating type of headache that is capable of affecting just one side of the head. Therefore, the location of the pain is just the first step differentiating headache from a migraine.

  • Type of Pain

Most people believe that a migraine is a severe headache. Thus, they differentiate between the two simply by the severity of pain. However, there are other factors to consider. Headaches are often mild in nature. Although they may be annoying, but they will not stop you from doing your daily activities. Migraines are commonly moderate to severe in pain, and they are capable of stopping the sufferers from working during an episode.

  • Length and Duration

Both headaches and migraines can be of varying lengths, but migraines are rarely less than an hour in length and can last up to several days if not properly treated. Headaches, on the other hand, can be very brief (less than an hour) and can also last for days.

  • The Phase of Pain

One thing that really differentiates migraines from headaches is that migraines occur in phases and rarely start suddenly but headaches may come out of nowhere and immediately result in intense pain. Migraines are always preceded by other symptoms, and some migraine sufferers will experience an aura (usually a series of visual symptoms) 10-30 minutes before the head pain begins.

  • Symptoms

Finally, accompanied symptoms can also be used to differentiate migraines from headaches. Headaches rarely have symptoms besides tension in the shoulders, neck, and upper back. Migraines commonly occur with a series of symptoms including the potential for things like nausea and vomiting, sensory sensitivity, visual symptoms, vertigo, neck pain, and more.