This Article is From Aug 10, 2020

Headache Or Migraine: Expert Tells How To Spot The Difference

Migraine is a severe type of headache usually at one side of the head. There are several differences between migraine pain and typical headache. Read here to understand the difference between the two.

Headache Or Migraine: Expert Tells How To Spot The Difference

Migraine can cause severe pain affecting one side of the head


  • Eat a healthy diet and ensure proper sleep to prevent migraine
  • Several environmental factors can contribute to migraine
  • Stress, poor sleep, bad posture and other factors can lead to migraine

A headache can be quite troublesome which can affect your day to day functioning. There are several types of headaches. One of the types of headache is migraine. But many don't know the difference between typical headache and migraine. The intensity of the pain, area affected, symptoms and duration may vary according to the type. Understanding the difference between the two can help you get the right treatment on time. Dr. Raashi Khatri Panjabi, consultant orofacial and neck pain management at P.D Hinduja Hospital explains how to spot the difference between typically health and migraine pain.

Difference between headache and migraine

1. A migraine is a severe form of headache which usually affects one side of the head. While a headache can range from mild to severe that can affect both sides of the head.

2. In migraine, one may experience nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound. One may experience these symptoms in headache as well but the intensity of the pain varies.

3. Dr. Khatri explains, "Not every headache is a migraine. Migraines are neurovascular conditions marked by periodic intense painful throbbing on one or both sides of the head, often accompanied by visual changes (blurred vision, tunnel vision, etc.), nausea and vomiting."

Also read: Know Everything About Migraine


Migraine pain is accompanied with nausea and vomiting
Photo Credit: iStock

Treatment: Migraine Vs Headache

Usually, people take painkillers for headaches, all that you are doing is subduing or numbing the symptom of pain but not addressing the root cause. The key to treating any headache condition is correct diagnosis.

Migraines are however curable (opposed to being a life sentence as previously believed) by the use of preventive and abortive migraine therapy along with lifestyle changes.


Early diagnosis can help seek right treatment according to the type
Photo Credit: iStock

It all begins with the correct diagnosis. Many patients suffer from other forms of headaches (tension-type headaches, frontal sinusitis, cervical myofascial headaches, jaw muscle myalgia, etc.) which have almost identical symptoms as a migraine but totally different treatment.

The majority of patients who think they suffer from migraines for many years with very limited long term relief are often found to be suffering from the above conditions. So, here right diagnosis plays a significant role. Therefore, one should seek medical help if experiencing headaches quite often with other symptoms, add Dr. Khatri.

Also read: It's Only A Headache? Sometimes, It's More Than That

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.