What Is The Difference Between A Headache And A Migraine?

20 Answers

nettie Profile
nettie answered
Migraines are the epitomy of a pain in the head that would allow much relief anything you do, I'm not a Doctor nor a medical person but my assumption is that it is more of some type disfunction with the brain than just a regular headache,even such things as a pillow can hurt to lay on,there are other things that go along with migraines,like vomiting, etc. My suggestion would be to seek out a neurologist,have a cat scan, because the pain is unbearable,a normal head ache you can usually take something and get quite and it will subside, that is my reasoning for thinking migraines are more than a headache something is causing this pain,hope this helps and if you or anyone you know suffers migraine seek out help and don't stop until a cause or reason for this is found....good luck I would go as far as seeing a brain surgeon and see what he or she thinks...good luck  
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
There are 3 types of headache: Tension, migraine & cluster.
tension headache - pain on both sides; often occurring at back of neck & extending to top of head
migraine headache - severe, throbbing pain, often on temporal area lasting several hours to days; may have an aura before the pain, nausea & vomiting, sweating & irritability
cluster headache -  intense, throbbing pain usually affecting one sided of face & head; abrupt onset lasting to an hour; eyes & nose water on side of pain & the skin reddens
Annie Black Profile
Annie Black answered
I suffer from migraines...they are unbearable...everything hurts..from the top of your head, to the tip of your toes...any noise even a whisper can put you over the edge...a light? OMG that is blinding, searing pain!!! Give me a regular headache any day! I'd gladly take that over having to be cooped inside a dark silent room....crying because your head feels like it's going to explode...and let's not forget the vomiting that accompany's it ( which intensifies the migraine)...Take a prescription medication that has so many side effects you wonder if you'll actually have a heart attack....but once that medication kicks in...you really don't care about anything other than the bliss that's taking over as you pass out.
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Onetwo Bucklemyshoe
Thanks for the descriptive answer, that really helps. Yikes, that sounds terrible! I'm sorrow you have to suffer from that :(
Steven Vakula Profile
Steven Vakula answered
A Headache is similar to bumping your shin, it hurts then disappears.

A Migraine is like a Compound-fracture to the calf bone. The bone is broken and sticking out of the skin. It is serious pain. It Hurts like Hell for a long time and no matter what it hurts like Hell for a long time!
jackie Profile
jackie answered
With my experience with migranes I have experienced neusa, throwing up, sensitivity to light, I have to be ina cold room and have it completely dark
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Onetwo Bucklemyshoe
Oh okay...got it, thanks. Ouch, that sounds miserable! :(
Jacquelyn Mathis
Jacquelyn Mathis commented
I am so sorry that you have to feel that. I hope that someday they can better treat them so people don't have to suffer though. Why don't they just give pain meds for them?
Annie Black
Annie Black commented
I Had a migraine that was so painful, I actually had to go to the emergency room! They treated me with...Benadryl & Compasine( spelling might be off) ..it worked better than any prescribed medication I ever had.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
A headache is an ache in your head. It is uncomfortable but you can still function. You may need to take some pain medication and lay down and they usually wear off within a few hours. A migraine, such as the ones that I get (had my 1st migraine @ age 11) are severely painful. I always know when one is coming on. All of the sudden I get this distorted vision like I can't see everything all the way. There is black spots mixed in with everything I see. For example I once got one when I was typing a report and all of the sudden I couldn't see all the words on the screen. I would type and I couldn't see all the letters. I immediately knew a migraine was coming on and sure enough it did, The blurred vision usually lasts about 15min-1/2 hour and then nausea comes on and then pain above my left eye. The pain becomes severe in a very short period of time usually another 15min and then the pain is so severe it makes my body begin to vomit uncontrollably. It always feels the same .. Like my head is literally going to burst open. Interestingly I do get normal headaches from time to time as well and the only thing that helps is two Extra Strength Excedrin. Tylenol, Aleve, Advil none of that helps me at all so I try to keep Excedrin on me at all times. Small bottle in the car, one in my purse, etc.Every once in a while when I feel a migraine coming on, if I take two Excedrin immediatley, the migraine will go away. The wierd thing is when I get lucky and am able to subdue the migraine it seems like for the next week or two my body will try to have a migraine over and over and I will have to take a lot of Excedrin. Sometimes I do that and the migraine still comes on full force and I throw up the Excedrin and nothing helps. I have tried prescription migraine meds and they do the same thing as the Excedrin. Except last year I got a migraine in the afternoon that was soooooo severe I really thought I was going to die. It came on early in the afternoon. I went home from work get sick (vomitting as usual) and alternated vomitting w/laying in bed with the pillow over my head. However, my head would Not stop throbbing so intensely for HOURS. At 1:30 in the morning I had to call my mother (I'm 32) and ask her if she could come pick me up and take me to the emergency room because I was in such intense pain and the pain had not lightened up at all since that afternoon! Once there they gave me a shot of Imitrex  and it lessoned the pain within about 10 min. I always wonder are migraines a sign of some sort of brain tumor or something wrong with your brain because it just feels like what I would imagine a brain tumor to feel like. I know that they are from bllod vessels being restricted and it scares me when the pain is that intense because it feels like something is for sure about to explode, maybe its the blood vessels, or loss of blood or oxygen to the brain. The other thing is that after a migraine my head is tender and sre, when I bend over it hurts my head for a few days and I am sensitive to bright light and noise for a few days as well. They are definately triggered from stress (I know this) and also hormone related because I seem to be more susceptible to them around my period. Also when I was pregnant I got migraines on & off  for 2 weeks straight during my first trimester and the doctors said it was because of the change of hormones in my body. I believe migraines are hereditary because a numb er of my aunts get them and my brother gets them just like I do. Migraines can be so painful they can make a grown man cry.
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Onetwo Bucklemyshoe
Oh wowzers. That is one heck of an answer. Thanks! And ouch, that sounds painful. I'm sorry you have to suffer from those.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have found that Aspartame causes my migraines. Aspartame is the artificial sweetener in almost all diet soft drinks and many other sugar free foods. I have 2-3 migraines per year now. Before I discovered that the aspartame was to blame, I was having them at least once a week. It took me about two years to make the connection between the Aspartame and the headaches. My friend's seven year old son had severe headaches until she remove the aspartame from his diet. The pain was so severe that I actually thought I would die. I also experienced the sensitivity to light, sound and was extremely irritable. Also I would become very sluggish and sleepy. I am extremely pain tolerant, as I have had many physical problems in the past. However, the pain I experienced with these migraines was more extreme than post surgical procedures. The only relief I could get was to go to bed. I could sleep, although it was more of a "passing out."
Kathryn (Kathy) Hansen Profile
Did any of you know that "headache" is the number one reason for missing work?

I see some very good descriptors of the difference between a headache and a migraine here. There is one thing that I do not see, so I will add it. Migraines are put into two categories; 1 - Common, and 2 - Classic. Common migraines have been described pretty well. They are usually located on one side of the head or the other. They throb at the temple and often behind the eye. Classic migraines involve seeing colored lights, bee-like anomalies, sometimes sounds, none of which are really there, plus the added pain, and inability to function.

Migraines are usually found to be passed along in families. Though in my case, it skipped my mother's generation, yet got most of us cousins.

And just a tip... Doctors HATE the use of Exedrin for headaches. It may help at first, but usually creates a situation where your body gets too used to the high doses of caffeine in the product. Caffeine does help a headache, but when your body becomes used to the high dose, then the headache or migraine just gets worse and worse. Most family Dr.s or Internists will help you with prescribing the newer headache medications, and if yours are too intense, they will refer you to a Neurologist or a Pain Specialist.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
No real answer...a headache can usually be relieved with such meds as Excedrim and is just
an aggravation. A migraine on the other hand, kicks your butt and you will know that it is a migraine. I have had them(migraines) since I was very young...5to7 yrs.old. My mother would tell me it was just a headache, said she had never had a headache. Then one day, she calls me, when I'm in my forties , and says she is either having a headache, or a stroke. I asked the symptoms and they were all about migraines. Told mother to take some Excedrin,l lay down in a very dark room with a cold pack on her head and not move if
possible. Later she called and said she got over it, but felt bad that I had suffered so much
and she had no idea. Go figure! There are definite differences, but you will get to know
the diffs. I wake up in middle of the night with them and sometimes, just get the "auras" and nothing else. Go figure! If you have a headache that doesn't go away and you can "function" with it...it is probably not a migraine, but see or call your doctor, could be something else. Any other highly painful symptoms...go see your doctor. Sorry, do not know a cure for migraine.
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Anonymous
Anonymous commented
Was also going to comment on a newer medication that is FDA approve and on the market. It is for Fibromyalgia. Lyrica is the name and it reallly really worked for me. Ask your doctor about it and see if you can take it. It is wonderful.
Anonymous
Anonymous commented
Was also going to comment on a newer medication that is FDA approve and on the market. It is for Fibromyalgia. Lyrica is the name and it reallly really worked for me. Ask your doctor about it and see if you can take it. It is wonderful.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
To ask means you've never had a migraine! Theres is a HUGE difference between a headache and a migraine. WHile both are uncomfortable and painful, a migraine can be almost debilitating. You can have auras (spelling) - light images you see before an attack. I see quick flashing sparkles, as I describe it, it is almost like seeing the sunlight shine through dust particles in the air. Its is quick, and sometimes happens so fast, I can't fully say if it happened. You can also get nauseous (spelling) have sensitivity to light or smells. So, there is a HUGE difference between a headache and a migraine. I took VERAPIMIL as a preventative, if I had a migraine I had taken Maxalt, after a while that didnt help, I started taking Imitrix, after a while those stopped helping, then I started on Axert, those helped for quite a while. Almost 4 years ago, I had my son, while pregnant I had 1 migraine and since his birth I have had them, but CONSIDERABLY less than before. So, I hope you don't get a migraine to fully understand what they are. Believe me they are painful and can last for days and days!!
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
My daughter and I both suffer from extreme migraine. We both suffer from the same  symptoms; severe pain, vomiting, sensitivity to sound and light as well as movement. Like most people we too need to go to a quite dark room and lay down. One thing we do that seems to help a great deal as well as helps to relax us is we place a HOT pack or cloth over our eyes and forehead. It doesn't make the pain go away, but it does help a lot!!
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
My front side of the left temporal of my head hurts when I cough? I had to take 2 Instant Advil Gel capsules to get rid of this headache. Could this be a swine flu symptom? About three weeks ago, I got real sick. Three weeks ago on a Sunday evening from early Monday morning, I threw up constantly, had diarrhea. After that, I have had congestion and a slight cough that just won't go away. My nose is very stuffy. I also have a very bad earache on my left ear with a front side left temporal headache. Should I go to my doctor if I don't feel well by this Wednesday?
martha Profile
martha answered
There are several different kinds of headache- migraine, tension, sinus, simple headache, cluster headache.  I have migraine- the symptoms include severe pain on one side of the head (migraine means half a head), vivion problems, sensitivity to light, sound and smell- perfumes, cigarettes etc are killer!  You can have a sore neck, be very nauseated and throw up.  The best treatments is a prescription pain pill, and then lying down in a cool, dark, quiet room.  I take Fiorinal for mine, but try to nip  it in the bud with Exedrin first.  Drink a little 7-up or ginger ale.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Migraines have symptom's like bright lights, numbness in face, speech that doesn't make sense, these happen a day or hours before pain. When pain comes it's severe, unbearable, sensitive to light and noise after a few hours vomiting and then peaceful sleep for four to eight hours.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Migraine headaches are more painful and on one side of head. Throwing up all day long was my problem and the severity of the headache and would last all day and all night and regular headache would not even touch the pain.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
A migraine feels like your head is in a vise grip and any second its going to burst. Any sound is magnified by 100 and light is like looking directly into a flashlight.  Sleep and darkness is your friend.

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