Identifying a Migraine 101

A guide to understanding your migraines.
Distinguishing Between a Migraine and a Headache

Before we start talking about migraine pain it is important to understand the common misconception between headaches and migraines. These two terms are used interchangeably because they both may have one distinctive similarity: your head may hurt, but not all migraines come with pain in the head.

Headaches can happen for many reasons.

Tension headaches are the most common types of headaches that take place at the temple or back of the head. Over-the-counter pain-releasing medicines usually help treat the pain. Cluster headaches are recurring headaches that occur in cycles, and they affect more men than women. Sinus headaches are headaches that take place when sinuses are inflamed, usually because there’s an infection.

Migraines, on the other hand, are caused by electrolyte imbalance as a result of an overstimulated brain. No two migraines are the same, everyone suffers different symptoms, so it is vital to understand your body and the signs that trigger a migraine.


may only last for a very short time and have no other symptom associated with them. They are not as severe as migraines and don’t affect day-to-day activities.


last for several days and have many symptoms associated with them—these are called prodromes and postdromes. Migraines are debilitating and affect a migraineur's performance at work and in daily life.

Migraines are not at all like headaches.
Learn more about migraine pain here.

Knowing the difference between a migraine and a headache is optimal to receiving adequate treatment.

Have Questions?

Migraine Facts:

  • Migraines often begin much earlier than estimated. In females, migraines often start as early as between the ages of 2 and 16 and in boys at the start of puberty at age 11 through 13. While literature suggests that migraines reduce after menopause, we find that for most women migraines increase in menopause
  • Migraineurs are more likely to end up with metabolic disorders, such as type II diabetes
  • About 38 million people in the US suffer from migraines
  • Migraines tend to run in the family
  • 90% of people who suffer from migraines are unable to function or work properly during their migraine