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What’s the Difference Between Headaches & Migraines?

Headaches affect around 50% of the global population. Typical symptoms include pain in the face, neck, and head that vary in severity. Migraines typically cause the same type of symptoms that are more intense and debilitating. AFC Urgent Care North Andover provides treatment for headaches and migraines for all patients. Visit our center today to receive the treatment you need.

Types of Headaches

Primary Headaches

Primary headaches are referred to as independent conditions that cause pain to the head, face, or neck. Migraines and tension headaches are two common types of primary headaches.

Tension headaches cause severe pain all around the head. They’re caused by clenching of the jaw, hunger, lack of sleep, straining the neck, poor posture, and stress.

Cluster headaches cause pain on one side of the head, generally behind an eye. These types of headaches typically occur in men more often than women. They may happen every day for a few weeks and then not at all. In addition to the pain, they can cause red, watery eyes, sweating, and congestion.

Hemicrania headaches typically affect the same side of the head and range in severity. They can also cause nausea, vomiting, watery eyes, and sensitivity to light.

Secondary Headaches

Chronic conditions cause secondary headaches. They are often a symptom of another disease. Some conditions that can cause headaches to include:

  • Brain tumors
  • Sleep disorders
  • Strokes
  • Withdrawal from medications
  • Head trauma
  • Inflammation

Phases of Migraines

Migraines are a type of primary headache, but their only symptom is head pain. Pain can be on either one or both sides of the head, and pain can remain from a few hours to a few days.

Premonitory Phase

The premonitory phase can happen within a few hours to a few days before the actual headache begins. Symptoms are typically nonpainful, and they include mood changes, food cravings, neck stiffness, and frequent yawning.

Aura Phase

The aura phase can cause visual auras, sensory auras, or motor auras. They can occur before or during a migraine. Visual aura symptoms include seeing flashing lights, zig-zag lines, blurred vision, or blind spots that can appear in one or both eyes. Sensory auras cause tingling, beginning in the arm and moving to the head. Motor aura can impact communication and the ability to think clearly. Symptoms can include difficulty understanding speech, trouble thinking clearly, and slurred or jumbled speech.

Migraines can occur with or without the aura phase.

Headache Phase

Migraine headaches can range in severity. In some cases, severe migraines may require medical care. Being active, light, and noise may make the headache worse.

Postdrome Phase

Once the headache is over, the postdrome phase begins. This may cause exhaustion, confusion, or general uneasiness. Symptoms may last from a few hours to a few days.