There is often confusion about the difference between a headache and a migraine, and this is compounded by the fact that the latter are often referred to as “migraine headaches.” Despite the fact that both cause pain in the head, there are important key factors that set them apart from each other:


A regular headache is usually caused by excess tension in the muscles under your scalp and forehead. For this reason, this type is more technically known as a “tension headache.” It is the most common form of headache pain.

In many cases, these headaches are caused by stress. However, they can also be brought on by pain in nearby areas, like the neck, jaw, and shoulders. Lack of sleep, too much alcohol, and other lifestyle factors can trigger them as well.

The pain of a tension headache often takes the form of a band around the head or of pain behind the forehead or eyes. It is rarely so debilitating that some over-the-counter pain pills won’t control it.


Migraine headaches are often far more painful than their tension-based counterparts. The causes aren’t fully understood since triggers, such as hormonal changes, eating aged or highly-processed foods, wine consumption, and others only cause migraines in some people. They can also happen with no known triggers.

One of the distinctive factors of migraines is the presence of warning symptoms. The most recognizable of these is the migraine aura.

Pain from migraines is strong and often includes throbbing that tension headaches do not. It can be debilitating enough to interfere with life activities.

How Chiropractors Can Help

A chiropractor will most likely suspect that you have problems with your cervical spine, jaw, or other nearby body parts. Adjustment of the cervical spine and nearby bones is typically done to release pressure on the related nerves. In many cases, this will bring about a substantial reduction or elimination of your headaches.

To be evaluated for headache treatment at Keegan Chiropractic in Ashburn, VA, just give us a call. Our number is (703) 858-3500.

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