Tension headaches are usually caused by stress, worry, or tiredness. They cause the muscles of the scalp, neck, and jaw to tighten, causing pain. Tension headache is dull and occurs on both sides of the head. You may feel tension or pressure in your head.
Migraines, on the other hand, occur only on one side or worsen on one side. They are characterized by severe throbbing or pulsating pain. Treatments are available for tension headaches. Managing a tension headache is often a balance between practicing healthy habits, finding effective non-drug treatments, and using medicines appropriately.
Tension headaches can be hard to distinguish from migraines. In addition, if you have frequent episodic tension headaches, you may also have migraines. The main difference in these common types of headache is the severity and location of the pain. A tension headache is likely to be mild and easily treated with an NSAID; a migraine or cluster headache is more severe and bothersome.
Treatment also varies for each person; prescription remedies may be required to resolve cluster headaches and migraines, but not necessarily tension headaches. Headaches are just a symptom of migraines and can vary in severity. Migraine can cause severe, stabbing headaches that last from a few hours to several days. These headaches come in groups, which means that several headaches occur at the same time every day for several weeks.
Some other signs of migraine that don't usually occur in other types of headaches include nausea and vomiting, feeling dizzy, blurred vision, and intense sensitivity to light, noise, or smells. If you experience headaches of any kind regularly, seeking medical help can help you find relief. Medication overuse headaches occur when a person takes too many medications to treat a primary headache. Learning more about the different types of headaches can help you take the right steps to resolve the pain you feel and know when to seek medical help.
Although migraines and tension headaches are both types of headaches, they are more different than they are similar. Although many people describe all moderate to severe headaches as “migraine,” there are specific criteria that are used to identify migraine, tension, and other less common varieties of headache. If you experience a headache that is very different in quality or severity (the worst headache of your life) than your usual headaches, or that is associated with unusual symptoms or is associated with an elevated temperature, you need immediate medical evaluation to exclude serious underlying causes. If tension headaches are life-altering or if you need to take medicine for headaches more than twice a week, see your doctor.
Tension headaches are a common primary headache disorder that affects about 42 percent of adults in Although it may be tempting to treat headaches at home, repeated or recurrent use of medication can lead to a condition known as overuse of medicines, a condition in which headaches occur almost daily. As the name suggests, the only similarity between each type of headache is that they cause pain in the head. Although many people believe that any moderate to severe headache is a migraine, there are specific criteria regarding the type of pain and the associated symptoms, which lead to the diagnosis of migraine. In other words, secondary headaches are caused by a disease, whereas primary headaches are the disease.
When you understand what type of headache you have, you will be better equipped to detect triggers and prevent pain from occurring in the first place. All of the headaches listed above (tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches) are primary headaches, meaning they have no known cause. .