Sometimes it can be hard to know if you experience headaches vs migraines. Headache is very common and usually goes away by it self. To know the difference between headaches and migraines can be significant since the treatment can be very different. But also to prevent it from happening too often in the near future.
Headache takes its form as a pain in the head, and can last from half an hour to several days. Typically, you feel like a pressure (I usually describe it as it feels like your brain is swelling). A headache is commonly on both sides on the head.
It is also common to feel a grinding or pulsating pain. When the headache is severe, you can feel like a tightened band around the head, and parts of your scalp can feel sore. The three most common places to feel the headache is in the temples, the forehead or the upper part of the neck.
Tension headache arises because of muscle tension around the neck and head. The most common reason for the muscle tension that gives headache is stress, anxiety, eyesight related problems, dehydration, or issues with teeth and jaws. For example, grinding your teeth at night.
A migraine is severe and an intense headache and usually more like an acute seizure-like condition. Often it lasts from half a day to a whole day. The pain increases when you move physically or move your head. The pain can feel pulsating or throbbing.
The real cause is not really known, but common triggers are stress, hormone changes, and different types of food and alcohol. The risk for migraine increases when you have relatives that also have migraine.
Migraine with aura
It’s rather common that people speak of an aura that occurs before the migraine develops, like a sensation. It can be some vision loss or seeing spots or flashing lights. The speech can also get affected. Feelings like tingling or numbness in the skin, specially in the head, around your mouth or in your arms and hands, can take place.
Migraine can take place on both sides of the head but is most common that its located on just over one side, especially over or under one eye. As with headache, the migraine increases with physical movement, or you are moving of your head.
With migraine you get hyper sensible for light, smells, and sounds, and sometimes, the only thing you can do is to lie down in a dark room. Often you get very nauseated, and vomiting is not unusual. Fatigue and problems with concentrating or even doing a simple daily task can be very difficult.