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. Read more: Migraine vs. Headache: Differences and Similarities Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Migraine or Headache? Migraine Symptoms, Triggers, Treatment
What does a migraine feel like? Discover the difference between headaches and migraines. Learn to spot migraine symptoms early,...
12 Surprising Headache Triggers Tips
Painful headaches can ruin your productivity and quality of life. But what triggers headaches and migraines? Learn some...
Stress Quiz: Test Your Emotional IQ
Stress creeps into everyone's life at one time or another, while some people will suffer from poorly managed chronic stress. If...
Sleep Quiz: Sleep Hygiene & Sleep Facts
Take our Sleeping Quiz to learn which sleep disorders, causes, and symptoms rule the night. Trouble falling or staying asleep?...
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...
Sleep Better, Conquer Insomnia
What is insomnia? Are you an insomniac? Learn 10 tips on how to get a good night's sleep and avoid sleep disorders such as...
Sleep Disorders: Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, and More
Learn about the different types of sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Explore the symptoms, causes, tests and...
The Benefits of Omega 3 Foods on Heart Health
What are the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids? Learn how Omega 3 rich foods like fish oil, salmon, walnuts, & more can boost brain...
20 Tips to Beat Insomnia and Sleep Better
Good sleep hygiene leads to better sleep. Avoid insomnia and sleep better by minimizing stress, exercising, and taking proper...
Diet for Stress Management: Carbs, Nuts, and Other Stress-Relief Foods
While there are many ways to cope with stress, one strategy is to eat stress-fighting foods. Find out which foods to eat as part...
Stress Pictures Slideshow: 10 Ways to Stop Stress
Feeling stressed? Watch this pictures slideshow for 10 ways to stop stress now. Focusing on breathing, journaling, and even...
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...
Long Life in Pictures: Tips on Sleep, Diet, and More
Did you know making friends can help you live longer? Our experts explore ways to increase your longevity such as making friends,...
Jobs That May Ruin Your Sleep
Some jobs can lead to sleep problems like insomnia, especially for graveyard and other shift work. Learn how work can disrupt...
Top Reasons Children Can't Sleep in Pictures
From snoring and nightmares to sleep apnea and even you, see the bad habits that are keeping your child up all night....
Related Disease Conditions
Headaches can be divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Migraine headaches, tension headaches,...
Tension Headache (Symptoms, Relief, Causes, Treatment)
A tension headache s one of the most common types of headaches, and the exact cause is not known. Factors that may contribute to...
Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on...
Occipital Neuralgia (Headache)
Occipital neuralgia is a type of headache that involves inflammation or irritation of occipital nerves. Signs and symptoms...
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms vary from person to person, and can last for days to months without periods of remission....
Sinus Headache Pain, Symptoms, Treatments, Remedies, and Cures
Sinus headache is caused by a sinus infection or inflammation of the sinus cavities. Symptoms of a sinus headache include pain,...
Nausea and Vomiting (Causes, Natural Remedies, Diet, Medication)
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms...
Pain management and treatment can be simple or complex, according to its cause. There are two basic types of pain, nociceptive...
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However,...
Stress and Heart Disease
The connection between stress and heart disease is not clear. Stress itself may be a risk factor, or high levels of stress may...
Bell's Palsy (Facial Nerve Problems) Paralysis Causes and Treatments
Bell's palsy is one type of facial nerve paralysis. The 7th cranial nerve controls the muscles of the face, and although...
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...
Sleep Disorders (How to Get a Good Night's Sleep)
A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep...
Cluster headaches are a type of headache that recurs over a period. Episodes can last one to three times a day during this time,...
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Benefits, Uses, Foods)
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that help decrease one's cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as reduce the risk of...
Headache Natural Home Remedies
Headaches are a common complaint for many people. There are many types of headaches such as migraine, tension, cluster, and the...
Stress Management Techniques
Stress may be considered as any physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental unrest and that may be a...
Cold Agglutinin Disease
Cold agglutinin hemolytic anemia or cold agglutinin hemolytic disease, is rare disorder of the autoimmune system. There are two...
Migraine and Stroke (Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment)
Migraine headache is a type of headache in which the exact cause is not known; however, they may be inherited, and certain...
Insomnia Treatment (Sleep Aids and Stimulants)
Insomnia is difficulty in falling or staying asleep, the absence of restful sleep, or poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is a...
Job Stress and Your Health
Early warning signs of job stress include headache, sleep disturbance, difficulty in concentrating, short temper, upset stomach,...
Headaches in Children
Kids get headaches and migraines too. Many adults with headaches started having them as kids, in fact, 20% of adult headache...
A spinal tap or an epidural block can cause a spinal headache. In these procedures, a needle is placed within the fluid-filled...
Local ResourcesFind a local Doctor in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- Antidepressants (Depression Medications)
- Pain Medications (Narcotics)
- Lyrica vs. Gabapentin: Differences between Pain Relief and Uses
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever, and others)
- naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- Aleve (naproxen) vs. Celebrex (celecoxib)
- diclofenac, Voltaren, Cataflam, Voltaren-XR, Cambia
- Dilaudid vs. Oxycodone
- prochlorperazine - injection, Compazine
- erenumab (Aimovig)
- metoclopramide, Reglan, Metozolv ODT, (Reglan ODT, Octamide, and Maxolon
- prochlorperazine (Compazine, Compro)
- chlorpromazine - oral, Thorazine
- prochlorperazine - oral, Compazine
- chlorpromazine-injection, Thorazine
- Emgality (galcanezumab-gnlm)
- OTC Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
- flaxseed (linum usitatissimum) - oral
- onabotulinumtoxinA, Botox, Botox Cosmetic
Prevention & Wellness
- Facing Up to a Lesser Known Form of Migraine Pain
- Money Worries Around Food May Spur Migraines
- AHA News: What Migraine Sufferers Need to Know About Stroke Risk
- FDA OKs Wearable Device for Migraine Pain
- Migraine Pain Linked to Raised Suicide Risk
- Health Tip: Understanding Migraines
- Health Tip: Understanding Migraines
- FDA Approves Third of New Migraine Drugs
- FDA Approves 2nd Migraine Prevention Drug
- To Fend Off Migraines, Try Keeping a Headache Diary
- Could Estrogen Play a Role in Men's Migraines?
- Another Drug to Prevent Migraines Shows Promise
- Aimovig Approved to Prevent Migraines
- FDA Approves First Drug Aimed at Preventing Migraines
- The Cold Truth About Migraine Headaches
- 'Magnetic Pulse' Device May Be New Way to Prevent Migraines
- Sometimes, Headaches Can Be an Emergency. Here's When.
- Another Legacy of Terror Attacks: Migraines
- New Migraine Drugs Show Promise
- Why a Headache Feels So Draining
- Skip Opioid Treatment for Migraine in the ER
- Hormone Therapy May Be OK for Women With Migraines
Migraines and Headaches Resources
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter