Understanding the difference between headaches and migraines

For most first-time migraine sufferers, it can be impossible to tell the difference between migraines and a severe headache. Understanding the difference between each ailment is essential, as it will help you better receive treatment and manage the onset in the future. At Melville Wellness, we treat many Perth residents who suffer from persistent migraines and headaches, and we share with you precisely what defines each persistent condition.

Head pressure

What migraines and headaches both share in their symptoms is the sensation of pressure on the head. However, the type of pain is different between the two conditions; headaches tend to feel like a squeezing pressure on the head, combined with a dull ache that spans across the entire cranium. This is distinct from migraines, in which the pain levels increase, become unbearable, and unrelenting, and often feels more concentrated to just the head, as opposed to the muscles around the neck and shoulders.

Relief from simple treatments

Headaches are often the result of lifestyle choices or certain activities. We can easily experience headaches in time of dehydration, after excessive alcohol consumption, or during times of increased exercise. What these headaches signify is a need for rehydration. If the tension is relieved by water and electrolytes, more than likely the person is suffering from a headache. Some headaches can also be reduced through simple stretching, massage or change of activity, which is not usually the case for migraine sufferers. There are other headaches which are caused by controlled dietary and medication changes, in which headaches are a common withdrawal symptom.


Feeling sick, the sensation of needing to vomit and extreme nausea are prevalent symptoms with migraines and headaches. However, this ill-feeling is generally more associated with migraines, as some types of headaches don’t produce this feeling. Those who suffer from persistent migraines will attest to the fast onset of extreme nausea, which will more often lead to vomiting quickly. The difference in this feeling is intense; when the nausea of a migraine sets in, it’s distinctly more painful and debilitating than any headache pain.

Light and vision sensitivity

What migraine sufferers experience worse and distinctly different from headaches sufferers is changes to vision and light sensitivity. Most migraines tend to produce an extreme aversion to light, often causing the sufferer to see spots or flashing light in front of their eyes. Some can even experience temporary vision loss, which exacerbates nausea and vomiting symptoms.

Are you unsure if symptoms are migraines or headaches, and you want to receive treatment? Contact us at Melville Wellness and find out more about these conditions from one of our chiropractors today!

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Phone: (08) 9314 2777
Email: admin@melvillewellness.com.au
Address: 75 Archibald Street, Willagee WA 6156

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