Difference Between Headache and Concussion

Both diseases have been linked to the head. Nevertheless, a concussion is a catastrophic brain damage that hinders normal brain function, while a headache is a chronic discomfort in the head that may be caused by various sources. The symptoms of concussion might include a severe headache.

Constant head pain after a concussion is strongly correlated with the severity of the initial head injury. Dizziness, nausea, vomiting, trouble focusing, extreme tiredness, mood swings (depression, anxiety), and sensitivity to light and sound are all frequent reactions to head trauma and headaches.

What is Headache?

The term "headache" is used to describe discomfort in the head, which can be the result of a variety of medical conditions or perhaps be the symptom of some underlying illness. Tension (muscle contraction) headaches, rhinosinusitis, migraine (vascular) headaches, and cluster headaches are the four most common forms of headaches (suicide headaches).

Dilated blood vessels (increased blood flow due to reduced vascular resistance and increased cardiac output) can produce headaches, as can tense or contracted muscles in the head, face, and neck (due to the activation of tension-generating sites within muscle fibres).

Headaches can be of the following types

  • Migraine headaches

  • Stress headaches

  • Tension headaches

  • Sinus headaches

  • Anxiety

  • Headaches caused by digestive problems

  • Headaches caused due to brain injury or brain disease (for example any brain surgery and concussions)

What is Concussion?

When the brain sustains a concussion, it momentarily shuts down. This phenomenon is sometimes compared to "having your bell rung" and having one's eyes opened to the heavens. Although these everyday expressions may give the impression that a concussion is not life- threatening, it is.

Concussions can be of the following types −

  • Mild (grade 1) – symptoms last for less than 15 minutes.

  • Moderate (grade 2) – signs and symptoms last for longer than 15 minutes.

  • Severe (grade 3) – person loses consciousness

Another categorization identified by the symptoms they exhibit include;

  • Vestibular (balance issues)

  • Ocular (vision issues)

  • Mood and anxiety

  • Migraine headaches

  • Cervical (issues with the neck)

Differences: Headache and Concussion

The following table highlights the major differences between Headache and Concussion −





A "headache" refers to any persistent discomfort in the head or upper neck. There is a wide variety of triggers for headaches.

Inadequate sleep, incorrect glasses, mental anguish, stress, and loud noise are common contributors.

Another name for this is mild traumatic brain injury (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury). A minor hit to the head can induce this sort of brain damage. It causes short-lived yet distressing cognitive problems. One symptom of a concussion that can't be treated with medicines is a headache


  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Blind spots, Bright flashing dots or lights, wavy or jagged lines (aura)

  • Photophobia (eye pain because of looking into bright lights)

  • Dizziness

  • Sensitivity to noise, light

  • Paleness

  • Vertigo

  • Loss of appetite

  • Tenderness of the scalp

  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep

  • Tightness sensation in the head, and

  • Stroke

  • Nausea feeling

  • Puking

  • Headache

  • Ringing sound in the ears

  • Drowsiness or tiredness

  • Blurred vision

  • Amnesia

  • Dizziness

  • Mind feels confused and a feeling of walking in a fog

  • Disturbed concentration

Some other person or a witness may see the below given symptoms in the person suffering from concussion;

  • Temporary loss of consciousness (happens rarely)

  • Slurred (poor pronunciation of words) speech

  • Person takes longer time to respond to any questions

  • Forgetfulness

  • Dazed appearance


  • Cluster Headache (Headaches that occur in patterns or clusters)

  • A cold-stimulus headache or Brain Freeze (Cold Drink or ice-cream headache)

  • Compression of Head (Hat, Helmet, etc.)

  • Hyperventilation (a condition in which you start to breathe very fast)

  • Illicit Drug Withdrawal (illicit substances that either stimulate (like cocaine) or inhibit (like heroin) the central nervous system or cause hallucinogenic effects (like marijuana)

  • Intracranial Haemorrhage (a type of bleeding that occurs inside the skull -cranium).

  • Medications (Both Prescription and Non- prescription (over-the- counter)

  • Sexual Activity

  • Trauma Injury to neck or head

  • Viral Infection (Interior or exterior of the Head)

  • Automobile accidents

  • Falls

  • Slurred speech

  • Horseback riding accident

  • Excessive vomiting

  • Sports injuries

  • Cycling accidents

  • Assaults

  • Extreme tiredness

  • Playground accidents

  • Seizures or convulsions

  • Explosions

  • Being hit by an object or another person


Self-care is typically required, and common over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, paracetamol, and ibuprofen can be effective.

A concussion is not treatable in any conventional sense. The brain recovers most effectively during a period of complete rest and little activity.


In conclusion, headaches, and concussions are different types of head injuries that cause pain and discomfort. Headaches are usually caused by stress or tension, while concussions are caused by a traumatic injury to the head.

The symptoms of a concussion are typically more severe and long-lasting than those of a headache. They are often signs of serious internal injury and need immediate medical attention.

Updated on: 10-Apr-2023


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