Migraine headache is a type of headache in which the exact cause is not known; however, they may be inherited, and certain foods and environmental factors can trigger and may contribute them. A stroke (brain attack) happens when a blood vessel in the brain leaks, bursts, or becomes blocked, which can be caused by many other health problems. Both migraines and strokes can can cause severe head pain (migraine pain usually is only on one side of the head). Migraine aura symptoms may mimic or feel like a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack, TIA) because they have similar symptoms and signs like severe headache, numbness in the legs, feet, arms, hands, or face, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Other migraine aura symptoms include vision problems like flashing lights or blind spots in one eye. The main difference between migraine headache and stroke symptoms and signs is that a migraine headaches usually come on gradually while a stroke symptoms come on suddenly and unexpectedly. Read more: Migraine and Stroke Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Migraine Headaches: Test Your Medical IQ
Is it a headache or a migraine? Learn what a migraine is, causes, symptoms, treatments, and at-home remedies.
Stroke Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Take the Stroke Quiz to learn about stroke risks, causes, treatment, and most importantly, prevention.
Headaches Quiz: Learn About Headache Pain
If you're plagued with headaches, our Headaches Quiz may help you identify causes, triggers, symptoms, and treatments for...
16 Surprising Headache Triggers and Tips for Pain Relief
Do you have frequent headaches? Learn the most common headache triggers for tension headaches, sinus headaches, cluster headaches...
Stroke Causes, Symptoms, and Recovery
What is a stroke? Learn about stroke symptoms like sudden numbness or weakness, confusion, vision problems, or problems with...
Migraine or Tension Headache? Symptoms, Triggers, Treatments
What does a migraine headache feel like compared to a tension headache? Learn to spot migraine symptoms early, how to identify...
Migraine Headaches: 14 Non-Drug Treatments for Migraines
Learn about 14 non-drug treatments for migraines. Acupuncture, biofeedback and massage therapy are among this list of non-drug...
Pictures of Famous People Coping With Migraines
See how celebrities cope with the pain caused by migraines. Learn their methods used to prevent and relieve migraine pain.
Migraine and Headaches: Top Migraine Hacks
A migraine can be more than just a whopping headache. Try these self-care tips for relief before and after it hits.
Related Disease Conditions
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib, AF)
Atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) is an abnormality in the heart rhythm, which involves irregular and often rapid beating of the heart. Symptoms may include heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Atrial fibrillation treatment may include medication or procedures like cardioversion or ablation to normalize the heart rate.
Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on one side of the head, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. The exact cause of migraine headaches is not known. Triggers for migraine headaches include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, strong stimuli (loud noises), and oversleeping. Treatment guidelines for migraines include medicine, pain management, diet changes, avoiding foods that trigger migraines, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly. Prevention of migraine triggers include getting regular exercise, drinking water daily, reducing stress, and avoiding trigger foods.
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include: weakness, numbness, double vision or vision loss, confusion, vertigo, difficulty speaking or understanding speech. A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Stroke is the third leading killer in the United States. Some of the warning signs of stroke include sudden confusion, trouble seeing with one or both eyes, dizziness, loss of balance, and more. Stroke prevention and reatable risk factors for stroke include lowering high blood pressure, quit smoking, heart disease, diabetes control and prevention.
Headaches can be divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches are considered primary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease. Headache symptoms vary with the headache type. Over-the-counter pain relievers provide short-term relief for most headaches.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA, Mini-Stroke)
When a portion of the brain loses blood supply, through a blood clot or embolus, a transient ischemic attack (TIA, mini-stroke) may occur. If the symptoms do not resolve, a stroke most likely has occurred. Symptoms of TIA include: confusion, weakness, lethargy, and loss of function to one side of the body. Risk factors for TIA include vascular disease, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Treatment depends upon the severity of the TIA, and whether it resolves.
Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of Stroke (FAST)
Stroke is a serious medical condition. If you think you or someone you know is having a stroke call 911 immediately. There are two main types of strokes, hemorrhagic and ischemic (the most common type). A hemorrhagic stroke occurs due to a blood vessel rupture in the brain. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot becomes lodged in a blood vessel in the brain, which causes a loss of blood supply to the brain, possibly causing brain tissue death. FAST is an acronym that helps people identify stroke signs and symptoms so they can act fast and call 911. Face drooping, Arm weakness, and Speech difficulty are indicators that a person may be having a stroke and it is Time to seek emergency medical treatment. Additional signs and symptoms of stroke may include weakness, difficulty walking, blurred vision, dizziness, headache, confusion, difficulty speaking, and loss of sensation. Stroke is a major cause of death and disability in the U.S. Early identification and treatment of stroke helps reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality.
Headache Home Remedies
Headaches are a common complaint for many people. There are many types of headaches such as migraine, tension, cluster, and the general run of the mill headache. These 17 natural home remedies -- for example, exercise, meditation, hydration, yoga, caffeine, essential oils such as lavender and butterbur, herbs, and supplements like magnesium -- can soothe and relieve some headaches.
Stroke vs Aneurysm (Differences and Similarities)
A stroke or "brain attack" is caused because blood flow to an area of the brain has been cut off by a blood clot or by a weakened or damaged blood vessel (for example, head trauma). The damaged area of the brain dies, which results in loss of function like speech capabilities, muscle movement, or muscles of an extremity like an arm or leg is reduced or lost completely. An aneurysm is a weakness in an artery wall. This weakness in the wall causes the artery to widen or balloon out, and then they rupture or break open. A person with an brain aneurysm generally won't have any symptoms until it becomes a problem. The symptoms and signs are similar to a stroke.Symptoms and signs of a stroke include: Vision problems Severe headache with no known cause Loss of memory Trouble getting words out Trouble typing, texting, or other coordination problems Both the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association recommend using the FAST system to recognize and treat strokes. If you think someone may be having a stroke, remember FAST! F - Facial drooping A - Arm weakness S - Speech difficulty T - time - DO NOT DELAY. Call 911.If you think someone is having a stroke or aneurysm call 911 immediately. Both conditions require medical treatment. The prognosis for both diseases depend on the extent of the damage to the brain and any other affected areas of the body.
Migraine vs. Headache: Differences and Similarities
Headaches are the most common reason why a person goes to the doctor or other healthcare professional for treatment. There are different types of headaches, for example, migraine, tension, and cluster headaches. The most common type of headache is tension headache. Migraine is much less common. There are few similarities between migraine and other headaches, for example, the severity of the pain can be the same, mild, moderate, or severe; and they can occur on one side or both sides of the head. However, there are many differences between migraine and other types of headaches. Migraine headaches also have different names, for example, migraine with aura and menstrual migraine. Symptoms of migraine that usually aren't experienced by a person with another type of headache include nausea, vomiting, worsens with mild exercise, debilitating pain, eye pain, throbbing head pain. Migraine trigger include light, mild exercise, strong smells, certain foods like red wine, aged cheese, smoked meats, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, alcohol, and dairy products, menstrual period, stress, oversleeping, and changes in barometric pressure. Untreated migraine attacks usually last from 4 to 72 hours, but may last for weeks. Most headaches resolve within 24-48 hours. Doctors don't know exactly what causes migraine headaches; however, other headaches like tension headaches have more specific triggers and causes. Additional tests usually are required to diagnose migraine from other types of headaches, diseases, or other medical problems. Most headaches can be treated and cured with home remedies like essential oils, massage, and over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn) or ibuprofen (Advil, Midol, Motrin). Most headaches resolve with OTC and home remedy treatment, while your doctor may need to prescribe medication to treat your migraines. If you have the "worst headache of your life," seek medical care immediately.
Heart Attack vs. Stroke Symptoms, Differences, and Similarities
Heart attack usually is caused by a clot that stops blood flow supplying oxygen to an area of heart muscle, which results in heart muscle death. Stroke or "brain attack" is caused by a loss of blood supply to the brain (usually a blood clot) or by hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding within the brain), which results in brain tissue death. Both heart attack and stroke usually come on suddenly, produce similar symptoms, can be disabling, and can be fatal. The classic symptoms and warning signs of heart attack are different. Classic heart attack warning signs are chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, pain that radiates to the shoulders, back, arms, belly, jaw, or teeth, sweating, fainting, and nausea and vomiting. Moreover, woman having a heart attack may have additional symptoms like abdominal pain or discomfort, dizziness, clammy skin, and moderate to severe fatigue. The classic symptoms and warning signs that a person is having a stroke are confusion or loss of consciousness, sudden severe headache, speech problems, problems seeing out of one or both eyes, and numbness or weakness of only one side of the body. Moreover, a woman having a stroke may have additional warning symptom and signs like shortness of breath, disorientation, agitation, behavioral changes, weakness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, and hiccups. Recognition of stroke symptoms is vital for emergency treatment. The acronym "FAST" stands for recognition of Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and a Time for action. If you experience the symptoms heart attack or stroke (FAST) or see them develop in another person, then contact 911 immediately.
Stroke vs. Mini-Stroke (TIA) Differences
A stroke or "brain attack" occurs when a blood clot or artery ruptures within the brain. The rupture or clot causes brain cell damage or death. A mini-stroke (TIA, transient ischemic attack) is caused by brain cells that dysfunctional over a short period. Stroke and mini-stroke warning signs of stroke and mini stroke are the same, and include, speech problems, weakness, numbness, and facial droop. Side effects of stroke may be permanent and you may never regain full function of the parts of the body affected. Mini-stroke side effects usually resolve within minutes to a couple of days. A transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke) is a precursor for stroke because 40% of individuals who have a mini-stroke will have a stroke within a year. Treatment of stroke depends upon the type and parts of the body affected.
Migraines and Seizures (Symptoms, Auras, Medication)
Migraines are a type of headache and seizures are the main symptom of epilepsy. Migraine headaches and seizures are two different neurological problems that have similar signs, symptoms, and auras, for example, sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sound, irritability, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms unique to migraine and migraine auras are water retention, problems sleeping, appetite changes, and talkativeness. Symptoms unique to seizure and seizures auras are depression, a feeling of heaviness, a feeling that a seizure is approaching, and depression. Many of the symptoms of migraine and seizures are the same, however, seizures do not cause migraines; however, people who have seizures are twice as likely to have migraines and vice-versa. People who have migraines are twice as likely to have seizures, and people with seizures are twice as likely to have migraines; however, one condition does not cause the other.
Types of Strokes
A stroke, also called cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs when the blood supply is cut off or reduced to a part of the brain. There are five main types of strokes, and the causes and clinical presentation of each of them vary
Warning Signs of a Stroke
Signs of a stroke may sometimes go unnoticed initially and gradually progress. Sometimes, the signs of a stroke may appear suddenly.
Local ResourcesFind a local Neurologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Headaches FAQs
- Stroke FAQs
- Migraine Headaches FAQs
- What Is a Massive Stroke?
- Heatstroke - Hot Time!...Summer In The City
- How Do You Get Rid of a Migraine?
- Can Botox Cure Migraines?
- Stroke Symptoms - Typical
- Stroke Treatment
- Migraine Symptoms
- Migraine Headache Treatment
- Stroke Symptoms
- Migraines: Eat to Minimize Your Migraines
Medications & Supplements
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, Bayer, Ecotrin, and others)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)
- tramadol (Ultram)
- Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- clopidogrel bisulfate (Plavix)
- OTC Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
- alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)
- Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)
- Dilaudid vs. Oxycodone
- Ibuprofen vs. Meloxicam (Mobic) for Pain
- Ibuprofen (Advil) vs. Naproxen (Aleve): Comparison of Differences
- Acetaminophen vs. Ibuprofen for Pain (Differences in Side Effects and Dosage)
- Coumadin vs. Plavix (Differences and Similarities)
- Ibuprofen and Plavix (Side Effects and Interactions)
- Aspirin vs. Plavix (clopidogrel)
- erenumab (Aimovig)
- Emgality (galcanezumab-gnlm)
- Aspirin vs. Aleve (Naproxen)
- Aspirin vs. warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
- Aspirin vs. Xarelto (rivaroxaban)
- Plavix (clopidogrel) vs. Coumadin (warfarin)
- Plavix (clopidogrel) vs. Effient (prasurgrel)
- Ajovy (fremanezumab-vfrm injection)
- Emgality Side Effects, Warnings, and Drug Interactions
- Side Effects of Onzetra Xsail (sumatriptan)
- What Are the Uses of Neuroprotective Agents in Stroke?
Prevention & Wellness
- AHA News: What Migraine Sufferers Need to Know About Stroke Risk
- Health Tip: Understanding Migraines
- Secret Tunnels Between Skull, Brain Speed Immune Cells After Stroke in Mice
- Is Dairy Due for a 'Heart Health Makeover'?
- Neurological Fallout From Ebola Infection Worse Than Thought
- 'Magnetic Pulse' Device May Be New Way to Prevent Migraines
Migraines and Headaches Resources
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter