What Is The Difference Between Pain With A Migraine And Other Headache Pain?

Dr. Robert Kaniecki answers the question: 'Migraine, Headache Pain Differences?'

ByABC News
November 14, 2008, 1:57 PM

— -- Question: What Is The Difference Between Pain Associated With A Migraine And Other Kinds Of Headache Pain?

Answer: The most important difference with pain associated with migraine is the attribute that it gets worse with activity. So, bending over, going up a flight of stairs-those issues don't seem to impact cluster headache pain or tension headache pain, and in fact, activity often makes tension headaches better. But if you see that the pain gets worse with exertion, worse with activities of regular daily living, it's most often associated with migraine.

Now often we've heard about migraines should be one-sided, should be throbbing. But over the past five to ten years, we've learned that migraine can be steady, can involve both sides of the head, and involve more of a pressure, a tightness in some patients.

So the actual quality to the pain, the actual location to the pain, is not as important, actually, as the severity, number one, it's most often moderate to severe in intensity. And number two, the classic aspect that I just mentioned, the worsening with activity.

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