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Migraine Vs. Headache: What’s the Difference?

Everyone knows the pain and discomfort of having a headache. But whether your headache is located above your eyes or in the back of your skull, there could be different conditions causing you to endure such pain. Patients who visit our office of professional pain management in OC often want to know about the key ways to distinguish a migraine vs. a headache: what’s the difference between them, exactly? Learn more about headaches and migraines in our short guide below.

Migraine Vs. Headache: What’s the Difference?

A migraine is classified as a headache disorder and typically falls under the umbrella of headaches, but with more severe symptoms. Migraines are some of the most intense forms of headaches that people can experience, resulting in extreme sensitivity to light, throbbing head pain, nausea, and more. While they typically show up on one side of the head, they can also be felt on all sides.

Causes of Migraines

The causes of migraines can differ greatly depending on a number of factors. Common causes include stress and hormonal changes, although a number of physical symptoms can contribute to the development of migraines as well. Changes in sleep patterns and even an upsurge in sensory stimuli can cause severe migraines to occur.

Migraine Symptoms

Since there are a few different types of migraines, the symptoms may differ. The most common symptoms of migraine headaches include:

  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Fatigue and yawning
  • Weakness or numbness in the limbs
  • Trouble speaking
  • Loss of vision or hearing
  • Extreme sensitivity to light and sound
  • Pulsing, throbbing pain in the head

Migraine attacks can occur suddenly and without warning. If you are prone to migraines or even experiencing one for the first time, it’s important to seek immediate treatment.

Migraine Treatment

Treatment for migraines can include a prescription for pain relievers that are often stronger than over-the-counter options. Preventive medications are also available to stop migraine attacks from happening or to at least reduce the severity of symptoms when they do occur. Other treatments include Botox injections and other muscle-freezing treatments.

About Headaches

Headaches can mean a lot of different things and can come from just about anywhere, which is why it can sometimes be hard to locate their source. Still, headaches are distinguished by pain, tension, and tightness around the skull. Headaches can also extend to the neck and face, causing prolonged symptoms.

Causes of Headaches

Headaches have a number of causes depending on the type of headache that you are experiencing. Tension headaches can come from anxiety, depression, fatigue, or severe TMJ. A cluster headache, on the other hand, can be caused by a hereditary condition or another underlying medical issue. It is important to work with your doctor to determine the cause of your headache in order to determine the best treatment.

Headache Symptoms

Some of the biggest symptoms of different types of major headaches include:

  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Pain in the temples, eyes, neck, or shoulders
  • Sensitivity to light and bright colors
  • Sweating
  • Nasal congestion
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Throat pain
  • Trouble sleeping

Headaches can come in the form of attacks or episodes similar to migraines but are usually not as intense. Headaches are usually a symptom of something larger that merits individual treatment.

Headache Treatment

Depending on the cause of your headache, different types of treatment may be prescribed. Your doctor might recommend a range of treatments, from physical therapy appointments to pain-numbing medication that can help you cope with some of the worst symptoms.


If you are looking for high-quality, fast-acting migraine relief treatment in OC, get in touch with our pain specialists today. Headaches are not something you need to deal with on a consistent basis, and help is here for you when you need it. Contact us today to learn more ASAP!