Migraine is described as a recurrent headache lasting 4-72 hours. Migraine headaches afflict about 28 million people in the United States alone. As many as 6% of all men and up to 18% of all women (about 12% of the population as a whole) experience a migraine headache at some time. Roughly three out of four migraine sufferers are female. It is important to recognize that 5-10% of children also get migraine headaches. Migraine headaches are less common than tension-type headaches; however, differentiating between the two is important.
- routine physical activity
- other trigger factors
- unilateral pulsating pain
- moderate to severe intensity pain
- nausea and/or photophobia
- About one in five migraine sufferers experience an aura associated with a migraine headache. Auras are neurologic symptoms that may occur before, during and after a migraine. There are many different types of either visual or other sensory auras, and they may differ between attacks.
Differentiating between Tension-Type Headaches and Migraine Headaches
Columns A and B show the symptoms commonly seen in these two headache types. Compare your symptoms with those listed and determine what type of headache you may have by noting whether your symptoms are most like those in column A or B. Some people have both of these types of headache. If your headaches are very severe or if you think they are of some other type, do not delay in seeking professional medical attention.
Many headache sufferers experience both types of headaches. Learning to distinguish between the two headache types may help direct appropriate treatment.
|Intensity, Duration and Quality of Pain|
|Mild or moderate pain intensity||√||√|
|Duration of headache|
|30 min – 7 days||√|
|Intense pounding, throbbing and/or debilitating||√|
|Distracting but not debilitating||√|
|Location of Pain|
|One side of head||√|
|Both sides of head||√||√|
|Sensitivity to light and/or sounds||√|
|Aura before onset of headache such as visual symptoms||√|
- (none provided)