Tension Headache vs. Migraine Headache

Topic: Neurology
Words: 370 Pages: 1

Headache is one of the most unpleasant health problems that a person may experience. It will affect how an individual behaves, feels, and perceives reality and may spoil their mood. There are many types of headaches, and two of the most common are tension one and migraine. Tension headache affects both sides of the human head; it is dull and evokes feelings of pressure inside and tightness (Bottaro, 2021). By contrast, migraine occurs or is more intense on one side and is characterized by pulsing inside and throbbing pain.

These two types of headaches have several characteristics in common. For instance, both kinds of aches are considered primary ones (Bottaro, 2021). Furthermore, migraine and tension headaches evoke pain and soreness in the temples. Although the reasons for occurring such health problems are not yet discovered fully, there are some known common triggers: lack of sleep and rest, severe stress, undereating or skipping meals, or alcohol use.

Moreover, tension headache and migraine differ from each other by symptoms drastically. For instance, a migraine is a severe pain that mainly affects one hemisphere and evokes pressure behind the eyes, sensitivity to light and sharp smells, nausea, dizziness, and, in some cases, vomiting (Bottaro, 2021). Additionally, migraine may occur after prodrome, which are predisposing symptoms for this type of headache. Among them are depression, apathy, irritability, or pain in neck muscles. Furthermore, some people report having auras, symptoms that occur before migraine or during it: problems with speaking, visual disturbances, numbness in one side of the face, or general muscle weakness (Bottaro, 2021). People who experience tension headaches report neither prodromes nor auras.

By contrast, tension headache is more moderate pain that affects both hemispheres. It evokes the feeling of pressure and squeezing the head, pain, and tightness in the neck and, sometimes, shoulders (Bottaro, 2021). While migraine has a genetic component, tension pain does not. Furthermore, migraine may be caused by weather changes, while tension headaches are more likely caused by an unhealthy lifestyle or stress. In summary, migraine and tension headaches are primary headaches, which may have many reasons and varied symptoms. However, the first one is considered more severe, intense, and serious; the second one is lighter and less painful.


Bottaro, A. (2021). Tension headache vs. migraine: what are the differences? Web.

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