What’s The Difference Between Migraines and Headaches? We Discuss

Knowing how to best look after our health is of the utmost importance to us all. Determining what is causing us pain and discomfort is the first all-important step, which enables us to know what we are treating and what we need in order to do so.

That being said, it can often be confusing to know how best to treat something when there is a close overlap between conditions and how they make you feel or present themselves. None more so than when handling migraines and headaches.

Anyone who has had a migraine will tell you there is a vast difference between them and a headache. Knowing how best to handle conditions like these can be challenging at the best of times, particularly if you do not know what you are looking for or where to begin.

That being the case, you have found yourself in the right place at the right time. Detailed in this piece, you will find a bit of information about the differences between migraines and headaches and how you go about treating each. Whether you have experienced a migraine already, or want to best prepare yourself in case you do, read on for more.


Migraines can affect people of all ages and are an incredibly common ailment to experience; in the UK, it is estimated migraines affect approximately one in five women and one in fifteen men. If you have not experienced one yourself, you most likely know someone who has.

As is to be expected, the symptoms that are felt when experiencing a migraine overlap closely with those associated with headaches. That being said, there are distinct differences, which help you to distinguish them apart.

Symptoms commonly associated with migraines include the following:

– Feeling or being sick,

– Sensitivity to light and sound,

There are other more serious symptoms – including the likes of slurred speech and a sudden agonising headache – of which medical treatment should be sought as soon as possible; they could be indicators of something more serious.

It can be challenging to determine the sole cause of migraines, for it differs from one person to the next. For the most part, it is thought they result from changes to the chemicals, nerves, and blood vessels in the brain. As a result, many of the treatments look to treat that in specific.

However, other common causes of migraines include stress, tiredness, certain food and drink, and menstruation. A salicylic acid intolerance, for example, can also cause migraines and is caused by consuming food and drink with higher levels of salicylic acid.

Medication and treatments associated with migraines include the likes of Sumatriptan tablets. Available over the counter from reputable pharmacies like Chemist Click, these tablets work by narrowing the blood vessels in the brain, which prevents pain signals from being sent.

Triptan-based medications are specifically designed to help relieve migraines, so they are therefore not best suited to managing symptoms associated with headaches.


Even if you have never experienced a migraine, we feel confident you have had a headache at some point or another. Headaches can strike at any moment and have a wide variety of causes. This includes the following:

– Too much alcohol,

– Having a cold or the flu,

– Eye strain,

– Not eating or drinking enough,

– Menstruation,

While some of these causes can also contribute to migraines, they are more commonly associated with headaches. Indeed, these symptoms are much easier to manage and combat, unlike those associated with the chemicals, nerves, and blood vessels in your brain.

Treatments for headaches work similarly to those used for migraines, with the most commonly sought-after method being that of painkillers. Ibuprofen and Paracetamol are the recommended medications to use and are thought to be incredibly effective in combatting mild to moderate headaches.

At the same time, it is worth considering what else you could do to treat your headaches; if you have not drunk enough water that day, and developed a headache as a result, try rehydrating first as a means of tackling the headache. The same goes if you have experienced continued eye strain that has led to the headache forming. Taking a break from screens and giving your eyes a rest will likely alleviate the pain and discomfort you are feeling.

Overall, it is easy for some to spot that there are stark differences between migraines and headaches. But it is also worth noting there is a significant overlap between the two ailments, and therefore, it is easy to understand why people often get the two confused.

However, we hope you have found this piece interesting and informative and are leaving us with a better understanding of these conditions than when you arrived. Whether you have previously experienced a migraine or not, go forth with the knowledge of what best to do to treat them.

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