Is It a Headache or a Migraine?

It can be difficult to tell whether you’re suffering from a regular headache or a migraine when your head feels as if it’s about to explode. But differentiating them can help you get the treatment you need and know if you should visit the ER in New Braunfels.

Here’s how to tell the difference:


A headache is a pain in the head, face or neck. It can range from mild to severe, and it can occur on the temples, on one side or both, and on isolated areas. In some instances, it can even radiate across the head. A headache can last anywhere from under an hour to a week and can be of various types.

  • Cluster headaches occur on one side of the head and come in cycles of attacks.
  • Sinus headaches most often co-occur with fever, stuffy nose, cough and facial pressure, all of which are sinus infection symptoms.
  • Chiari headaches are caused by the Chiari malformation, a structural defect in the base of the skull and cerebellum, causing pain in the region.
  • Thunderclap headaches are severe, one-minute headaches that can be symptoms of a subarachnoid hemorrhage and can be caused by aneurysms or strokes.



Migraines usually include more intense pain than headaches. More often than not, they also include additional symptoms, such as nausea, pain in the temples or behind the eyes or ears, light or sound sensitivity, seeing spots, temporary vision loss, or even vomiting.

Physicians divide migraines into two categories: migraines with aura and migraines without aura. Auras are the sensations patients experience in the ten to 30 minutes that led to a migraine and can include experiencing difficulties thinking, seeing flashing lights, tingling in the face or hands, or an unusual sense of smell, taste, and touch.

Headaches can vary in intensity and can manifest as a mild feeling of pain or throbbing pulsations in your head. Distinguishing headaches from migraines can be tricky but is important, as doing so can help treat them faster and decrease your chances of feeling the same pain soon after.

If you have difficulties figuring out what you’re suffering from, consult with your physician or contact us at Physicians Premier for immediate care.