How to Tell Headaches Apart From Migraines

Have you ever wondered whether you suffer from headaches or is it a migraine? Read ahead to know.

Shivangi Sarkar
Written by: Shivangi SarkarUpdated at: Oct 30, 2022 12:00 IST
How to Tell Headaches Apart From Migraines

Do you encounter a sharp pain in your head often? Have you ever wondered whether you suffer from headaches or if it is a migraine?

Migraines affect around 15% or one billion people in the world. It is regarded as being more serious than regular headaches. A migraine’s severity has often caused sufferers to lose their jobs, and even marital breakdowns because of its painful effects. 

The reason why patients often suffer for prolonged periods of time is due to their inability to tell a headache apart from a migraine. Read on to know how you can tell apart a headache from a migraine.  

Different headaches and their symptoms

Headache can be referred to as pain arising from anywhere in the region of the head to the upper neck. The tissues and structures that surround the skull or the brain are where such pain originates from. 

Headaches can affect anyone irrespective of gender or age. They may result from stress or emotional distress. It can also be a sign of a medical disorder such as anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. 

Headaches can frequently occur in one’s everyday life, some factors that trigger headaches are:

  • Skipped meals
  • Poor posture
  • Stress
  • Fatigue or changes in sleep

If you suffer from a headache you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Pain that affects both sides of the head equally.
  • Pain that feels like a constant pressure or tightening of the head.
  • Increased sensitivity to light, sound or smell.

Headaches are not as severe as migraines but they can last up to seven days. 

Also read: 5 Changes That Happen In Your Menstrual Cycle As You Age

How to Tell Headaches Apart From Migraines

Migraines and their symptoms

A migraine is a vascular headache, it occurs because of abnormalities in certain neurotransmitters or neurotransmitter levels in the blood which produces the dilation of blood vessels, causing throbbing headaches.

Migraines usually have unilateral symptoms. The following are some symptoms you may experience if you are suffering from a migraine.

  • Pain on one side of the head
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Visual disturbances, like seeing spots or lines in the vision
  • Speech disturbances

There are certain precipitating factors that can cause a migraine. Like lack of sleep, getting up early in the morning or skipping meals. There are certain things a migraine patient should do to help their symptoms.

  • Adopt a set routine
  • A timely sleep schedule
  • Avoid skipping meals

How to tell a headache apart from a migraine?

Headaches affect around 20.8% or 1.4 billion people. You can tell a headache apart from a migraine by evaluating the symptoms. For example, if you are experiencing pain just on one side of the head it may be a migraine. Speech and visual disturbances occur only during migraines and not a headache.

A description of the condition, timing, type of pain and pattern of attacks can help a doctor in diagnosing the headache correctly. However, if the nature of the headache is complex, further tests may be carried out to investigate the underlying causes.

Too frequently, headache patients receive the wrong diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Different treatments are needed for different sorts of headache conditions in order to stop them permanently.

We strongly advise having your headaches evaluated by a skilled clinician for proper diagnosis.