What’s the Difference?

Headaches are the most common form of pain, according to the National Institutes of Health.  They’re a major reason why people miss work or school or visit a doctor.

Tension headaches (the most common type of headache) are caused by tight muscles in the shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw.  They may be related to stress, depression or anxiety and may occur more often in people who work too much, sleep too little, miss meals or drink alcoholic beverages.

Migraine headaches, which affect about 12% of Americans, involve moderate to severe throbbing pain, often on one side of the head.  During a migraine, people are sensitive to light and sound and may feel nauseated.  Some people have visual disturbances before a migraine.  Anxiety, stress, lack of food or sleep, exposure to light, or hormonal changes (in women) can trigger migraines.  Genes that control the activity of some brain cells may play a role in causing migraines.

If you are troubled by headaches of any kind, talk with your doctor to get a diagnosis and to discuss treatment.

Source:  National Institutes of Health