Headaches vs. migraines, what’s the difference anyway?

Mia Finkelston
Posted on April 19, 2017
Headaches vs. migraines, what’s the difference anyway?

When your head gets a severe pain, it may be tough to figure out if it’s a headache or a migraine. During the changing seasons, you may experience this. Dr. Mia Finkelston, who treats patients using LiveHealth Online, shared some differences between the two. She says, a regular headache is different from a migraine for many possible reasons.

5 Reasons it May be a Headache

  1. Many headaches are described as generalized, the entire head, sometimes squeezing at the temples.
  2. Most of the time people can still function, whereas a migraine can be debilitating.
  3. There usually aren’t warning signs when it comes to headaches, which is often the case with migraines.
  4. There are many types of headaches, but one of the most common types is a tension headache. The symptoms include a persistent ache or pressure around the head, especially at the temples or back of your head and neck. There are many other types of headaches though, so if you have concerns, you can see a doctor 24/7 using LiveHealth Online.
  5. Different lifestyle factors can trigger headaches. This includes stress, alcohol, lack of sleep, poor posture or changes in your diet.

If your headache is more intense, it’s possible it may actually be a migraine.

5 Reasons it May be a Migraine

  1. Migraines can give a warning that they are going to occur. These warnings include black spots or stars in one’s vision or nausea and vomiting. These are two common examples of what may happen before a migraine strikes.
  2. When you have a migraine, it tends to happen on one side of your head, often above one eye, and it is a sharp, stabbing pain, similar to that of an akin to an ice pick. Any light or noise can be difficult to handle.
  3. Most migraine sufferers prefer a dark, quiet room and to lie still as movement can cause pounding in the head.
  4. You may experience fatigue because the intensity of the pain makes it difficult to sleep.
  5. Light, diet, menstrual cycle, cold, weather, and allergies are some of the common triggers for migraines.

These are only some of the ways to determine whether you’re experiencing a headache or a migraine. If you have questions or want to consult with a board-certified doctor, use LiveHealth Online.

Comments and opinions from Dr. Mia Finkelston are hers alone. This is content from an interview and is not considered medical treatment. 

Photo of Mia Finkelston
Mia Finkelston
Family Physician
20 years of experience
MCP Hahnemann University School of Medicine

Visit with Mia Finkelston and other board-certified doctors using LiveHealth Online

What is LiveHealth Online?

Using LiveHealth Online you can select the doctor who can assess your condition and provide a prescription if needed. Learn more

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