Chronic Migraine is one of many different types of headaches. There are also many different treatment options depending on the type of headache you suffer from. These treatment options may help provide relief when the appropriate treatment is selected. Selecting the appropriate treatment may be dependent on several different factors including the type of headache you experience and the severity of your headaches.

Recognizing that you suffer from migraines and getting an accurate diagnosis are important because any delay may delay the appropriate treatment.1

Learn more about the different types of headaches and talk to your doctor. Make sure to discuss all of your symptoms, when they occur, and how often they occur. Then the two of you can more accurately determine the type of headache you are experiencing and the best course of treatment.

To learn more about a specific headache type click on the links below to get definitions of each type of headache:

Migraine vs. Chronic Migraine

Migraine is a specific type of headache with pain that can last anywhere from 4 hours up to 3 days.2

  • Pain is usually moderately to severely intense, throbbing or pulsating, and often occurring on 1 side of the head.
  • Can be accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Can become aggravated (get worse) by routine physical activity (e.g., walking or climbing stairs)
  • Changes in vision or hearing, called aura, may be present and come just before or just as the migraine begins.

Migraine can be further divided based on how often the headaches occur.

  • One type of migraine, known as an episodic migraine, occurs when an individual has fewer than 15 headache days per month, some of these headaches being migraine.
  • An individual may be considered to be suffering from chronic migraine when he or she has headaches occurring 15 or more days per month of which 8 days or more have features of migraine, as described above, for at least 3 months.2
Tension-type headache

This is the most common type of primary headache, affecting anywhere between 30% and 78% of the general population.2 It may be possible for those with migraine to be misdiagnosed as having tension-type headaches, and vice versa.2

Cluster headache

A Cluster headache is defined as an attack of severe pain on 1 side of the head, lasting 15 minutes to 3 hours, and occurring from once every other day to 8 times a day. Symptoms include, but are not restricted to forehead and facial sweating, restlessness or agitation and nasal congestion.2

Other primary headache

Headaches in this category include stabbing headache, coughing-related headache, headache brought on by physical exertion, thunderclap headache, and other headaches that cannot be described as migraine, tension, or cluster.2

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References: Show

  1. Nissan GR, Diamond ML. Advances in migraine treatment. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2005;105(4)(suppl 2):9S-15S.
  2. Headache Classification Subcommittee of the International Headache Society. The International Classification of Headache Disorders: 3rd edition (beta version). Cephalalgia. 2013;33(9):629-808.